Even though I was there at Ghost Ranch, I hate to say I missed out on Lisa’s Desert Delight Workshop (when I finally heeded our retreat organizer's advice to rest, to pace the inflowing surges of ideas about writing, hiding out for a few moments on the mesa that day). But I love that I get a mini-harvest here with Lisa anyway as she describes the cross-over between painting and writing. I hope to get the chance to work with her at one of AROHO’s future retreats.
Looking back on your history teaching night creative writing and watercolor courses, did the two disciplines/genres ever cross-pollinate in your classroom? Do you teach both watercolor and creative writing in one class as well? Can you give those of us “closet painter/writers” an example of an exercise we might use?
Interestingly, the two genres did work with each other, although never as a class taught specifically combining the two. I’ve often said that poetry is very much like watercolor in terms of brevity, commitment (you can’t really erase watercolor; it’s a staining process) and learning to love the “accident.” When I sit down to write a poem, I often approach it as a watercolor “wash,” a quick brushstroke of words used to capture an impression, whether it’s a visual or an emotional impression (or both). When I did the workshop at AROHO, I had the artists/writers look around and paint what they saw, then use the “watercolor words” to write a painterly piece of writing about it. That might make a good exercise. In fact, the first poem I ever wrote (that wasn’t for a school assignment) was a visual impression because I didn’t have my paints with me! Read more here.
I followed up with a bonus question here... (an exclusive additional fragment for my Feral Mom readers). I asked Lisa "What do you mean by "watercolor words?" And here's the poetry of her answer:
As for the "Watercolor Words," we used color words from watercolor sets, but we also used fruit words and fabric words and words from nature, all of which make their way onto paintboxes and colored pencils.
Think of this sort of thing:
A canteloupe sky, an alizarin crimson sunrise, a celadon sea, a sienna field, or distant cobalt hills.
It's just a deeper way of thinking of colors, and a good way to describe even moods.Beautiful, Lisa. Thank you! Now I really can't wait to work with you....