To Hear with Your Heart, To See with Your Soul (by Sherrie Hansen)

Writing and painting, although both creative expressions, are often viewed as being on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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Writers paint pictures with their words. Artfully crafted descriptions help readers visualize the setting of each scene, the appearance of the main characters, and movement within the scene.

Artists take a scene from their imagination and bring it to life with vividly colored paints, textiles or other mediums that you can see, touch, and feel. The only verbal expression that may come into play is a suggestive title of one or two words.

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Both mediums communicate emotion and tell a story. Both require the reader to bring their own interpretation and understanding to fully experience what the author or artist has conveyed through the words or visual expression they’ve chosen to convey.

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As a writer who’s always labeled myself as a visual learner, I think there’s good reason to combine word art and visual art.

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Some writers compile a storyboard to look at and refer to while writing a book.  Whether they tag related visual images on Pinterest or actually make an old-fashioned collage with cutouts from a magazine, these writers find it helpful to surround themselves with tangible images of their characters and setting. It’s become increasingly popular for authors to create a trailer to use in marketing their books – just one more way of pairing visual cues with the written word to enrich the reading experience.

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I’ve long taken photos to use in tandem with my books, even used my photographs on the front cover of my books for a creative tie-in.

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Then, a friend who’s an artist and the leader of an online group called Shedding Light challenged the members of the group to paint. I resisted for awhile, thinking I didn’t have the time or the talent. But I’ve always been attracted to artistic expression, collected paintings that called out to me, and found peace in having beautiful images in my home. Finally, I gave in to my fascination and picked up a brush. The paintings I’ve done so far are all reminiscent of Scotland, the setting of my last 5 books. In June, my husband and I visited several castles in Aberdeenshire, and saw hundreds of sheep and boothies dotting the hills of Skye, so I’m fortunate to be able to paint images that are fresh in my mind. When I start writing Golden Rod, my next Wildflowers of Scotland novel, in earnest, I’ll look back at the paintings I’ve done and let my imagination travel back in time.

Painting - Moonlight Mirage

When I’m writing, I’m required to be acutely aware of the pitfalls of using poor grammar, being overly wordy or cliché, not structuring my scenes just so, and a million other infractions that contradict the way a writer is “supposed to write”. When I paint, there are no rules – the more unique, creative, or even bizarre, the better. Painting is my time to let loose, relax, and spontaneously create what I see in my mind’s eye – with no restraints.

Which calls out to your heart – visual images or the written word? The ability to use one medium to enhance the other is a gift – and an opportunity not to be missed. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

Painting - Flowers

(All photos and paintings used in this blog are Sherrie Hansen originals. The credit for my title goes to Michael Card, from his song, That’s What Faith Must Be.)

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Twenty-four years ago, Sherrie Hansen rescued a dilapidated Victorian house from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a B&B and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Sherrie and her husband, Mark, who is a pastor, divide their time between two different houses, 85 miles apart. Sherrie writes murder mysteries and novels whenever she’s not working at her B&B or trying to be a good pastor’s wife. Her contemporary romantic suspense novels include Night and Day, Love Notes, and Thistle Down, Wild Rose, Blue Belle, Shy Violet and Sweet William, her Wildflowers of Scotland novels.

 You can see what Sherrie is up to at: 

https://www.facebook.com/BlueBelleInn

 http://sherriehansen.wordpress.com/

www.BlueBelleInn.com or www.BlueBelleBooks.com

https://twitter.com/SherrieHansen

https://www.pinterest.com/sherriebluebell/

http://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Hansen/e/B007YXQJ4W/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Sherrie’s new release is Sweet William. https://amzn.com/B01H2TUD3U

He’s a real sweetheart. She’s a wee bit tart. When Minnesota farm boy, William McKnight, and sassy Scot, Lyndsie Morris, are forced to work together in the kitchen of Rabbit Hill Lodge, the atmosphere is as charged as an episode of Chopped. Will someone get cut, or will they find a recipe that works? Things just start to get spicy when an angry bull butts his way into the picture, and Lyndsie has to decide if she loves William more than everyone and everything she holds dear.

14 Comments

Filed under photographs, Scotland, Sherrie Hansen, writing

14 responses to “To Hear with Your Heart, To See with Your Soul (by Sherrie Hansen)

  1. Thank for this brilliant post. I like what you say about the different ways of communicating our ideas and emotions – writing, painting, photography and how one can be used to enhance the other. Well done!

  2. So talented! Your paintings are lovely. And, as always, your post is a treat for the eyes and the heart.

    • Thank you, Pat. Maybe my paintings are your dance class? Something to reawaken the senses?

      • I hadn’t thought of that, but could be true. It’s funny, though. Right before i read your post, I’d been talking with an artist friend, and I lamented I had no ability to paint. And then it occurred to me: how would I know? I had no native ability to write, but i learned. I had no native ability to dance, but I’m learning that, too. I thought perhaps I just needed to take art classes. And that’s when I saw your post.

        • You’re so creative and good with colors that I would think you would be a natural at painting. The thing is with painting there’s no right or wrong way. I’m not sure you really need to learn it. It’s more just following your heart and seeing what ends up on the canvas put on the music.

        • Put on the music should not be at the end of that comment. Mark started talking to me right as I was posting and it picked up his voice.

  3. You are so right. Art and writing together have a positive effect on each other. The same happens with music and art, or music and writing. -Jennie-

  4. I was a musician and artist long before I started writing and I totally agree they are all related. Even rhythm is involved in writing. A while back, I wrote a blog on the comparisons of music and writing. To me, they all are art, and all work together. Good post, good reminder!

  5. Before I wrote, I painted. I love bright colors and so I painted abstract. I’m very much a visual person. I absolutely love your art! One day I will return to painting and will even take a painting class from a local and well known painter. Thanks for sharing!

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