Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Ekphrasis

Ekphrasis is a literary description or commentary on a piece of visual art. For example The Girl With The Pearl Earring is an ekphractic novel, inspired by Johannes Vemeer's painting of the same name.

I'm not sure if there's a word for art inspired by writing, but if there is, it might apply to the cover of my novel Paint Me A Picture. My talented husband Gary created it, using technical witchcraft and digital magic.

Thank you to Marion Clarke for telling me about the Ekphractic challenge, which is a free to enter poetry competition.

Each month, a new piece of artwork will be posted, to act as inspiration. There are two prizes, of $50 each – one awarded by the artist and one by Rattle's editor.

Have you ever used one kind of artwork to inspire another?

15 comments:

  1. You are very welcome, Patsy. :)

    In answer to your question, yes, I have on several occasions used art to inspire poetry or short fiction. I have also led a few writing workshops where paintings and/or photographs were used as a starting point. A series of question prompts enables the viewer to become part of the image and create characters or scenarios. It's a really useful tool - especially when participants feel they have nothing to write about. The most successful outcomes (I think) are achieved when the writer sees something in the artwork that sets them off on a tangent. As you know, this happened with my choice of winning poem for the March challenge on Rattle - the writer took an idyllic farmyard scene (painted here in the Mourne countryside in Northern Ireland) and compared it with a shooting in a US college. Chilling stuff!

    The irony is that I have submitted to that ekphrastic poetry challenge practically every month for the last couple of years without success, and it was my art submission that was selected! :)

    marion

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    1. It's interesting how varied people's responses to a prompt can be, isn't it? I suppose that's because we also bring in elements of our own experiences or personalities.

      You've reminded me that I've also been to workshops which used art to inspire writing, Marion. They're usually good fun and learning a little about the art is a nice bonus.

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    2. Yes, same with haiku, Patsy. Like a painting, these little poems present an image and the reader's life experience completes the poem.

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  2. Have I used music I created myself to inspire my writing? I have!

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    1. That's a double dose of inspiration, Alex.

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  3. Hi Patsy - what an excellent word ... and Gary did work and does work wonders with your covers ... a talented man, with a talented wife! Good luck with your entries ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Perhaps we inspire each other, Hilary? That's a nice thought.

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  4. A new word for me, but I'm always ready to learn.

    I once wrote a 500 word story from a picture on a Christmas card that was from an illustration.

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    1. Our writing group sometimes use cards as prompts, Carol. Christmas ones sound like a good way to get in the right frame of mind for writing the stories earlier in the year, so there's time to send them in.

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  5. Looks to me like someone put letters in a hat and pulled out the word. Maybe I should write a bit about the Mona Lisa, it may qualify as ekphrasis or I'm drinking too much elderberry wine.

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    1. Writing something inspired by the Mona Lisa would definitely count, Oscar.

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  6. I love cross-cultural working. As I've posted before, I've done a dance project based on an old church and that led to my writing a story; and at the moment I'm doing another dance project based on spoken word reminiscences (and of course there'll be a story, too). Also, I often turn to pictures when I'm struggling for inspiration. Keying in a word into the search bar of morguefile.com usually reveals something.

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  7. Gary is definitely talented! Great cover. I don't think I've been directly inspired by any art, but it's definitely something to bear in mind.

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Thanks so much for commenting!