Why does a painter write, when color is so vivid? Why waste words when art offers so much?
|Painting cannot always be enough. With pictures, I cannot properly convey all of my emotions. Sometimes the colours will never come out right; sometimes the sketch just does not express itself properly. The flow and stroke of the brush against canvas, the fresh paint smell filling the nostrils and intoxicating the senses, the colours leaping out to proclaim their vitality and independence from the palette- these cannot truly tell the world what I am feeling. There must be something else out there that can explain what I feel when the paint refuses to.
Where pictures fail, words take over. Words are just like painting, but without the colour. Some people paint when their words fail them; I write when my colour fails me. Just the other day, a friend of mine who paints to relieve her stress asked me why I write. She said, “Isn’t painting enough for you?” I told her that through writing, I can let the depths of my soul out without fear of them being misinterpreted. My paintings can be seen however the viewer wishes to see them- rejoicing or mournful, angry or excited. With words, the reader gains or loses exactly what I want them to; my emotions shine through the paper and ink to stain the soul with their power. I find this true for me; my friend disagrees. It might be different for everyone, I don’t know, but my words draw a clearer picture than colours ever could.
The first time I wrote, my frustrations with the limits of my paintbrush had become so unbearable I needed a different release. I stopped trying to paint the forest that lay in front of me, fresh and open, just waiting to be put onto canvas and preserved forever. I couldn’t capture the wild that the forest embodied, the pure, unadulterated spirit that twisted chaotically through its depths. On my paper, trees bunched together with lines sketching every which way; actual feeling seemed to be a feat beyond my talents. I put down my paintbrush and carefully closed all the caps on my paint, returning them to their worn leather holders deep inside my satchel and telling them to wait until I again found the inspiration that long ago came so easily to me.
In this same satchel, I carry- old and careworn, filled with memories of all the places I have been and the scents of everything I’ve spilt over the past ten years- a small notebook, almost a journal, for any important events that I want to remember. My hand bumped it when I lovingly and not a little bitterly stowed the paints away, and I pulled it out on a whim. My pen sat ready for use next to the paint holders; I sat and wrote for over an hour. The magic and wild of the trees flowed through my fingers and pen, which became one and inseparable, to line the pages of my journal until I reached the last page. I dug frantically through my satchel, pulling out bits of spare paper that floated to the bottom and laid there, waiting for the day when I would clean them out and throw them away, and even- miraculously!- an entire page that I had torn from a sketch book long ago. I filled them all, and still I needed to record the untamable feeling that possessed the forest and my hand. The forest impatiently waited for me, filling my mind with its life and wonders, demanding that I record it all lest it be forgotten in the rush of the world today.
I still paint, almost every day, but whenever the colours will not give the full meaning of a picture and only words can suffice, I put away my paints and pull out my pen. Only through my words can I give the real picture of the forest, or the city, or the mother with her baby, walking along a path in an overgrown garden. Other people paint to say what their words cannot; it gives life to the diversity of the human soul. They paint; I write. Paint displays the image and give it vibrancy, but my words explain it and give it life.