Is Writing Like Painting?

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Is it fair to say a sentence is worth a thousand pictures? A paragraph? Surely a story is worth a thousand pictures. If you are a visual person like me, you see a movie in your head. At 60 frames per second, and me being a slow reader, well… you get the idea. A thousand pictures at least.

When I get up in the morning, my watercolor block of paper is waiting for me. Now and then I have an idea before I start, and I get right to it, either with a pencil first, or application of color, right where I want it. When I don’t have any ideas, I just slosh some paint on the paper and see what that inspires. Sometimes it is easy to figure out what comes next.

Writing starts almost the same way, only most people don’t start out with a blank piece of paper in a typewriter any more.

Is there a writing equivalent to “just sloshing some paint on a canvas”? I can’t imagine that anyone would want to read words typed out at random. How about using a thousand words or more to describe a dream, a thought or a feeling? This is probably closer to  what a writer does. But, as with a painting, writing is supposed to speak to the viewer or reader. The difference is, a good painting can have many interpretations, but good writing leaves little doubt in the reader’s mind about the story line.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

No preconceived ideas for today’s study. I started with two pools of pigment: cadmium yellow pale around the periphery and an arc of quinacridone magenta adjacent to it. Cadmium orange was placed in the bottom left and right corners to provide a circular edge to the yellow. Within the purple arc I applied more yellow and (if I recall correctly) a touch of Winsor red. After the area dried, I worked on the upper left and central area with some greenish blues (cobalt turquoise, Prussian blue) and a reddish blue (French ultramarine), to blend with the purple color.

Watercolor Sketch - Abstract: Color Barriers

Breaking the Barrier
9″12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

I call this piece Breaking the Barrier, thereby boiling down the thousand words to just three.

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