Thursday, July 21, 2005


This is Monet's "Champ de Coquelicots," my favorite painting of all time. I love the works of the great Impressionists: Monet, Renoir, Manet--their works speak to me and inspire me in so many ways.
I first saw this painting (well, a copy of it, not the original) when I was seventeen. I think at the time it appealed to me because it had my favorite colors in the world together: Reds, blues, greens--in fact, it inspired a scene in one of my novels. In my "Other World, Sophie, my main character, wanders into a field not unlike this one--the poppies stretch beyond what the eye can see, to the mountains, in the distance, (only my mountains are taller, more breathtaking.) Monet's piece inspired me to write.

What else inspires me? Music, movies, books--I truly am a creature of my environment. I take in everything about my surroundings--and process it, and if it isn't in the least bit pleasing to my brain, I remove myself.
I didn't go to parties when I was a teenager. Too loud and obnoxious. When I was home, I was pretty solitary, I kept to my room and listened to music, because my room was a controlled environment--I could have all the inspiration I wanted at my fingertips--sunlight streaming in through a lace-curtained window--"mood music" on my stereo--whatever I wanted.

Don't get me wrong, I was fairly social in my own group that I ran with, in fact, I'm almost thankful I made the cheerleading squad (don't roll your eyes!) because it forced me out of my comfort zones and forced me to interact with others, and be IN FRONT of people, and kept me from being a total reclusive backwards hermit. I would have spent my life in my room otherwise, and been just as happy as a clam.
I am still somewhat that way--I like atmosphere. Soft lighting, comfortable chairs, music, all things that are conducive to writing. I'm at my best when I have that quiet and comfortable atmosphere all around me--shutting everything else out.

Now, I do have a degree of a mother of three young kids, who have seemingly unlimitless energy, I rarely get the "atmosphere" thing unless I write late at night, after they (and hubby, for that matter) have gone to bed. So I take it when I can get it.

I suppose my whole point to this post, is that I find it truly amazing, that a few swirls of paint on a canvas can have such an effect on me. What causes this reaction? My eyes see it, my brain processes it, and the result is that I am edified, lifted up, and there seems to be more beauty in the world. What is up with that?

I am lucky to have my own "office" in my home--a place with a comfy oversized chair, all my books, my desk, my stereo, and of course, a very large framed print of the above painting by Monet. I keep it close to me, as a reminder that I can be inspired. Even when I feel like my words have all dried up. I just look at the painting, imagine my heroine plunging into the masses of red petals, touched with vibrant green, gazing off towards the distant mountains, the sunlight on her face...and the words start flowing once more.

Now that's power.


Michelle Miles said...

Gorgeous painting. I can see how it would inspire you! :)

Ann said...

This post shows you are truly an artist.
(And for some reason it started the music from your namesake movie, "Dr. Zhivago" running through my brain...)