Recently, I was out to dinner with my husband and parents. As we were waiting to be seated, I saw this painting on the wall and stopped to admire it. There’s something about art that I admire in ways that are hard for me to explain. Yes, it IS possible for Sarah Price to lose words (although I doubt my husband would agree to that).
Some of you know that I’m trying my hand at painting. Now, I’m not going to kid myself and think that my own paintings will ever be more than fun little canvases that I hang on my office (or closet if it’s really THAT bad). But trying new things means new perspective in my life. I have a finer appreciation for the artists, both from centuries ago and current day. It’s hard to paint something. Hearing my 11-year-old call my painting “cute” or my 15-year-old cough to cover up his laugh doesn’t help my aspiring career as a painter. But I know the truth: I’m not a painter. I’m just doing it for fun anyway. It’s relaxing.
Writing is a lot like painting. After all, every day I create “paintings”…only I do not use oils or acrylics. Instead, I use words. It takes time, a lot of time, and practice…a lot of practice. When I was younger, I would sit in my room, typing until the wee hours of the morning on my Selectric Typewriter (Don’t remember those? Click here). My sister would bang on the wall, screaming at me to go to bed. But I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t stop writing. The desire to write coursed through my veins.
We still laugh about those sisterly spats.
Recently, I tried to calculate how many words I’ve typed during the my lifetime. In the past five years, I can easily calculate that I have written and published well over 1,000,000 words. Before that, I cannot begin to imagine the number! Double? Triple? And that’s not counting blogs, essays, research papers, or even academic papers for my PhD!
When I look at paintings that I admire, I try to imagine how many brush strokes it took for the artist to get to that point where his or her work hangs on the walls of libraries, offices, restaurants, or museums. How much practice did it take? How many hours were spent staring at a blank canvas, an idea formulating in his or her head? How much time did it take the artist between the first stroke until he or she made the final touch?
Take time out of your day to admire the work of the artists that surround you, whether it’s an expensive painting hanging in a doctor’s office or a drawing that hangs from your refrigerator. And, when you read a good book, take a moment to realize the amount of time, practice, and love that went into its creation. Like an artist who paints landscapes or portraits, a writer crafts an image for you. Like an artist, their words fill the blank pages in the hopes that it creates a visual that touches your heart.