Of writers and artists

Botticelli Primavera

A painting I’ve always liked because of its wealth of details: Sandro Botticelli’s “Primavera”. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve been meeting a lot of artists lately. Some have been graphic designers, while others are photographers or painters who work in different mediums such as oil or acrylics.

Writers and artists, to my mind, naturally go together, like peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, tea and cookies.

During my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some talented graphic designers. Some of them were mellow in temperament; others were cheeky or feisty but would pipe down when offered chocolate. 😉

It amazes me what artists create, whatever medium they choose. It’s so much fun to work with them. As a copywriter, I’ll create a project such as a poster, a flyer or a brochure, then hand it over to the artist to have them embellish it with whatever design they want to create for it.

When it’s sent back to me to proofread, my reaction is generally “WOW!” Through the magic of software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the graphic designer’s created something amazing. I love Photoshop — it’s great for removing unwanted flashbulb reflections when a subject is photographed against a glass window, cropping out irrelevant details or standing reality on its head.

One of the most fun projects I ever did was a 60th anniversary catalog. The designer split the front cover into two equal sections. One section featured a black-and-white image of a car traveling away from the reader, with the license plate of the car reading “1948” (the year the client started the business). The other half had a full-color image of a different car traveling toward the reader with the license plate of “2008” (the anniversary year). Inside the catalog were pages featuring the client’s products and services, consumer education stories and small bits of trivia with images from different decades. It was a LOT of writing and designing, but worth it for the end product.

I also like to study what photographers do, which is why I follow several photography blogs (thank you, photography bloggers). I get ideas about how I should show composition, texture or lighting in my own photographs. Plus, famous book illustrators and painters provide the same inspiration.

Renoir Luncheon of the Boating Party

One of my all-time favorite artworks: Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”. I used to make up stories about who these people are (in reality, they are Renoir and his friends) and what discussions they were having. And how can you not like a dog that cute? Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Artists take the ordinary and through their creativity, transform it into the extraordinary and make us see reality differently. Sometimes, the artwork even becomes iconic of an era or generation. And the world is all the richer for it.



Filed under Writing

21 responses to “Of writers and artists

  1. Many years ago I worked in the public relations department of a large company with writers and artists. Yikes! They were incredibly creative and talented and temperamental. There were a few divas. I learned a lot about interacting with people and for the most part I enjoyed it. I made some friends that I still have today. The good ones were always willing to teach you something you didn’t know.

  2. Wow, that Renoir really brought a wave of emotion over me! We had that painting in our living room all through my childhood, well not the original of course…or at least I don’t think so…although…nah, not the original! And I spent a lot of time staring at it, particularly the lady with the dog. I’m always hugely impressed by what artists produce, in many mediums.

  3. I think artists and writers use the same part of their brain. Probably musicians too.

  4. I edit a magazine and have no illusions as to just how important design is to each issue’s success. A good design attracts readers and invites them in to peruse what’s there. Because I am aware of this, I have a great relationship with my art director. She knows that I am always willing to hack away at my precious text if it allows her to create a more appealing package.

  5. I remember hearing it took Renoir 6 months to complete that painting. It’s wonderful that so many people continue to be creative, despite our lives being overly filled with distractions (like the internet!).

  6. Temperamental. Maybe that will be the word I will use to describe myself when working with others! I just did a post about something that has been bothering me and here you supply a good word for it. Love it.

  7. My granddaughter is an artist..degree and everything. Several of my friends are also artists.. I love them. I like the Botticelli painting too, especially the three graces. ‘The Picnic’ by Renoir (?) reminds me of an argument I had with my sister over the painter’s name. I should have known better, she is an artist. Dianne

  8. The Renoir reminds me a lot of Manet’s “Music In The Tuileries Gardens”, which is partly interesting because there are no musicians in it, and the people are looking every which way, not toward any band or orchestra.


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