Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life's Colors

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Today the phrase "take time to stop and smell the flowers" popped into my head as I drove to the grocery story. Mother Nature is more than generous to us here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. One scene that always takes my breath away is the white, billowy thunderheads that look like puffs of cotton. On a certain stretch of highway, framed by tall pine trees, you can see the clouds waiting for you at the end of the road. Of course you never reach them, but it's fun to imagine grasping a bit of fluff and taking it home to dream on. I grabbed my camera and went back to capture the picture to share with you. The huge thunderheads were gone, but you can catch a glimpse of what we get to see every now and then when we're lucky and Mother Nature is in a creative mood.
My mother, an award winning oil painter, gave me the love of finding beauty around me. I didn't realize it at the time of my youth, but when my daughters spent time with her and came home talking about their time with their grandmother, I started to see her skills as an artist. Their favorite experience was when she would have them lie on the ground and watch the clouds. "If you concentrate very hard," she would tell them, "you can move the clouds around with your mind." Then they would have fun looking for different pictures in the clouds. Even now I take the time to see what I can discover.
Do you know clouds aren't really white? I learned this watching the movie "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" where Dutch oil painter Johannes Vermeer asks his housemaid-turned-assistant what color she saw when looking at the clouds. At first she said white, then no – yellow, blue, grey are the colors. When I went looking with my camera, I did happen to notice the multitude of colors in the clouds. Amazing how a compilation of colors can appear white.
This got me to thinking about our writing and how we each have our own individual voice. How does this happen? Can it be a compilation of our life's colors and those who've influenced our lives? Maybe who we are is determined by how we absorbed those experiences and share them with others. Is there one event in your life that might have had a great impact on how you write or approach your writing or job?
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12 comments:

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Great post, paisley. I can't think of a single event that affected my writing more than others, but certainly what I see in life influences what I write. btw: I enjoy watching clouds and imagining what I see hidden within them.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Morning Dawn. I think everything we experience in life sticks someplace and can be drawn from when needed. I know since I've been writing I do pay attention more to the things around me. Thanks for stopping by.

Vonnie Davis said...

I have fond memories of laying in a field of grass, looking for pictures in clouds. I think it's a facet of creativity. How marvelous that your mother is teaching this to her grandchildren.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks Vonnie. My Mother always pointed out sights she thought interesting on trips. My poor Dad was always being asked to pull over so she could take another photo. He favorite things to photograph were the old barns, the rickety the better.

Josie said...

Hi Paisley,
So much of life shapes my writing. Sometimes it's a little thing, sometimes it's life-altering. Thanks for an interesting post.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks, Josie. I think all those little things is what helps us to establish our individual voices.

Mona Risk said...

What a fantatisc post, Paisley. I love your analogy to the clouds. Yes, my books all came from events in my life or my relatives'. I don't look at the clouds, but I love observing the waves and the wake, and often see people and action in them.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Good post, Paisley. I always say that the BIG reason I write what I do comes from reading Herman Wouk's Margery Morningstar. Nascent feminist and romance in the book got my creative juices going.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I know what you mean about watching waves, Mona. I grew up close to Bodega Bay where Hitchcock filmed his thriller The Birds. I can sit for hours watching the waves move back and forth.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Rolynn. Isn't it amazing where ideas come from? I can write a scene from overhearing a conversation or seeing something that intrigues me. So many stories happening around us all the time if we just recognize them.

Josie said...

Paisley,
Thoughtful and interesting blog. I love the analogy and had never thought about it before.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks Josie. Growing up with an artistic mother gave us a lot of advantage to seeing the world through her eyes. Now my daughter sees the world through an author's eyes. I think creative people notice things and are more aware of what is going on around them.