“If you are dealing only with what you know, you may not be doing your job. When you discover something new, or surprise yourself, you are engaging in the process of discovery.”
Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White
So this is clear: push the boundaries. I agree with this to a certain degree. Familiar can be safe, predictable and boring on the page. If you discover something new, something that excites you, and you can transfer this to the page, then you stand a better chance of exciting your readers too.I’ve been learning about art, as research for my character Justine Tree in Connectedness. I know a bit about art but definitely have my comfort zone. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to visit exhibitions of artists I know nothing about, styles I am unfamiliar with. Shows I’ve been to include Damien Hirst, Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Constable Gainsborough Turner and Kurt Schwitters [top]. I have my member’s card for the Tate, the Royal Academy and the V&A. I eat cake in their members’ rooms, I know the location of the ladies loos.
What have I learned? I’ve certainly learned more about the history of art, the way artists work and think. And I have another two ideas for novels, with cuttings filling up box files in my study. And Justine, what did I learn to help flesh out her character? Mostly small details, such as the way Schwitters foraged for collage materials while interned at Douglas in the Isle of Man during World War II [below]. In Connectedness, Justine collects feathers, scrap paper, used stamps, embroidery thread, knitting wool, cardboard boxes.
‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White [MIT Press]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Making art is an act of discovery: applying the rules of #art to #writing via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-O9