Saturday, April 14, 2012

Paintings and Prose

My story, The Luncheon of the Boating Party, just came out today over at Every Day Fiction.  It was inspired by the Renoir painting of the same name:

I use many things to inspire stories—music, random collections of words, little snippets of conversation I overhear, dreams—but sometimes I also use images to inspire stories.   These can be random photographs I’ve found in a book or on the internet, something someone posts on Facebook, or in the case of this story, something hanging on the wall of my very own house. 

I’ve always loved Renoir’s Boating Party, and a print of it has been hanging in my breakfast nook since I moved into my house fourteen years ago.  The figures in the painting just look like wonderful people having a wonderful time, and staring into the painting always stirs a longing in me. 

Images can be wonderful sources for inspiration in one’s writing.  Sometimes you just stare into the picture and wonder what the story is, and it slowly reveals itself in your head.  Sometimes the story will have a similar feel as the painting, but sometimes it might take off on a tangent and end up somewhere you’d never expect.  In the case of my Boating Party story, the painting itself is a character, driving the actions of the protagonist. 

I’ve used other paintings as inspiration, and I’m particularly fond of the Impressionists  and Art Nouveau.  Thus I’ve written stories based on paintings by Toulouse Lautrec, Monet, Manet, Mucha,  and Van Gogh.  For the latter I did three pieces of flash based on each of his famous ‘starry’ paintings, ‘Starry Night,’ ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone,” and “CafĂ© Terrace at Night.”  Hopefully, these stories will see the light of day sometime in the future.

Starry Night - Vincent Van Gogh

Starry night Over the Rhone - Vincent Van Gogh

Cafe Terrace at Night - Vincent Van Gogh

All right, time to go write!