Sunday, January 24, 2010


When I get a bit stuck writing, I turn to Twitter or Super Gem Drop for distraction.
When I stay stuck, I turn to art. 
I get out the Pelikan watercolors and a glass of water and I slosh some paint around. Usually on paper, but sometimes, on glass.
During our recent rainy spell, I painted my dining room window and my writing room window with leaves.  It’s best to do this on a rainy day, since it’s hard to paint with the sun in your eyes or even against the light. No design or preparation necessary (except maybe to wash the windows), just paint a twisty stem from sill to pelmet, then add curly branches and swirling heart-shaped leaves as you go. It's easy and very mentally relaxing.
    The exact mixture of paint to water took a while to get right.  Too much paint and the leaves look thick and muddy, too much water and the paint runs all the way down the window.  It needs to be pale and translucent so the sun can shine through it, yet still make clear leafy shadows on the table and carpet. The secret to the perfect consistency: add a drop of Soft-Scrub. This also makes it easier to wash it all off when you get tired of it.
    While you paint, run your writing problems through your head. And while you're at it, run any other problems through your head as well. I find that the distraction of the painting, permits my brain to function more clearly.
    The higher panes were a tad hard on the back and the wrist, but it was wonderfully distracting and rewarding. By the time I'd finished painting, the book’s plot problems were solved, in my head at least and I felt like writing again.
    Best of all, I can enjoy the leaves every day; in the morning they're dark against the sky and at noon they glow white when the sun shines through them and casts lovely leafy shadows on the furniture and across the floor.
    It's like living in a summerhouse in the winter.



Marisa Birns said...

Can't draw, but you've made me want to try this! I love leafy shadows cast against the floor.

Nora Lumiere said...

I’m so delighted you want to try this! No drawing necessary, just splash away while sorting out your writing in your head.
Look forward to seeing photos of your leafy shadows.