As a writer, we describe the world we know. Sights, sounds, colors, and textures are all brushstrokes painted in words like an artist paints his images on canvas. A story is told through our imagination that is happening in a place that is rooted in our minds. The location of a story’s actions, along with the time in which it occurs, is all part of the reflection of our settings.
Many writers may leave a lot of detail up to the reader’s imagination, while others are quite descriptive on the page. But when we use our senses to help our characters fit into their surroundings, it will visibly reflect the perception of tension that drives the story in our novels.
Let’s look at an artist’s brushstrokes and see how it reflects on his work!
The artist’s name is Jason de Graaf.
Jason was born in Montreal, Canada in 1971. He now lives and works in the Quebec area, where he labors for hours on end in almost total isolation to complete his intricate pieces.
His life sounds much like a writer, doesn’t it?
Jason de Graaf’s meticulous attention to detail conflicts texture with unyielding surfaces in his intensely arranged still lifes. But his work is not just a demonstration of photo-like talent. “The deceptive reflections focus on a realm of reality that exists outside of the painting’s frame. He stretches depth and skews perspective ever so slightly, infusing the painting with a spectre of mystery that pushes the viewer to search for an ever-escaping point of equilibrium.”
Listen to what Mr. De Graaf says of his own work.”My paintings are about staging an alternate reality, the illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface, filtered so that it expresses my unique vision.”
Verisimilitude? Yes I know, I had to go look that one up!
It’s a great word. It means truth, credibility, authenticity, reliability, plausibility and likelihood. It encompasses the embodiment of his work and would aptly describe the detailing and reflections on metallic objects that are Jason’s specialty.
Take a look along with the one above…
Jason also states that his goal is not to “reproduce or document faithfully what I see one hundred percent, but also to create the illusion of depth and a sense of presence not found in photographs.
“To that end I don’t strictly adhere to the reference material at hand. I use photographs, objects or people, as a springboard or a means to explore my sense of aesthetics and ability as a picture maker. I use colours and composition intuitively with the intent of imbuing my paintings with emotion, mood and mystery. Throughout, I try to remain open to new ideas and surprises as the painting unfolds.”
Wow! Doesn’t that sound like our goal as a writer? Like Jason, do we not use photographs, objects or people along with a sense of imagination as a springboard for our writing? Though it is impossible to produce perfection, our brushstrokes are able to create an illusion of reality and a sense of emotion in every one of our characters—all part of the reflection of our settings.
A brushstroke of an artist indeed!
So what do you think? What kind of sensory details do you like to use in your writing? What are some of the settings that you enjoy using as a backdrop to your characters? Have you heard of Jason de Graaf or seen his work before? How do people or pictures inspire you?
By the way, I have something special coming up for next week. I have a guest author who will be sharing some of her insight on writing and giving away six books! Yes, you read that right, six books. So be sure to tell everyone you know to drop by next week on Wednesday, June 20th. There’ll be lots of winners!
Thank you everyone for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!
Those are paintings! Wow, that is the ‘awesomest’ art I have come across. At first I thought they were pictures.
Sorry I’m late for the party…for some reason, even though I’m subscribed to your blog, I’m not getting the notifications (if I don’t get notifications, I don’t remember anything, lol).
Interesting comparisons between visual and word artists, Karen. I just LOVE the pictures with the strawberries and flowers. I could live with both of them on my office walls. And no, I’ve never heard of Jason before. 🙂
Yes, I use pictures while writing (faces and scenes I like). But I don’t use enough sensory details in my writing. I need to work on that.
Kristy K. James recently posted..I Am A Writer!
Kristy, not to worry, I understand. LOL! Funny, you show up on Feedburner as subscribed and active. Don’t know why you’re not receiving my post by email. Although I did not post this past week, so that may be why. Just too exhausted girl. I’m so glad you enjoyed Jason’s art. The writer and the painter’s brushstrokes are so very similiar. We both take in our surroundings, whether physical or mental, then portray what we see in our mind’s eye for the world to perceive, although art is subjective. It’s all so fasinating, isn’t it? And we’re all constantly improving with each brushstroke we make. So keep up the good work Kristy! 🙂
I can’t argue with that. Sometimes I have delete as I tend over describe for the modern reader. They seem to want it fast paced and don’t care to know the in depth mind thoughts, descriptions of surroundings; all items I use to build a scene.
Hi Mari, very nice to meet you! And sorry to say, I know what you mean. The world of writing has changed in so many ways. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. Yes, it does seem that readers want fast paced stories. I think it’s to go along with their fast paced lives. But like our artist Jason de Graaf, nothing can prevent us from including just the right brushstrokes that will paint the reflection of our imaginations into stories that will hook the reader! I wish you all the best Mari! Thank you for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts with us! 🙂
This is utterly fascinating! Not only your relating writing to painting, but the paintings themselves. If you hadn’t told me they were paintings I would’ve thought they were photographs. Simply stunning.
Well Happy Anniversary to you and your husband, Tameri! Until I read about Jason’s work and was told those photos were actually his paintings, I was blown away! They ARE simply stunning! Thank you Tameri for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Have a great day! 🙂
I am awestruck that those are paintings. Brilliant work. His attention to detail is really something. The way you tied everything together is beautiful. You are such a smart woman, Karen.
Hi Debra! You are the only person to describe Jason’s paintings as Brilliant! We are both awestruck my friend. And thank you. That’s quite a compliment Debra. But when I researched De Graaf’s work, there were too many similarities to the writing community. We both work in solitude. We both study people and images as a springboard to our creativity. And we both hope that our brushstrokes will convey our perception of the images in our minds. Thank you so much for coming by! 🙂
Gorgeous artwork. I’m always in awe of people who can take something one dimensional and make it appear three dimensional. I love to use visuals as a springboard or as inspiration for writing, too. Pinterest is great for that. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Tami! In awe would be exactly how I feel when I look at Jason de Graaf’s paintings. I too love to use visuals to springboard creativity in my writing. I suspect you’re on Pinterest Tami? Great place to showcase your inspiration! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us! It was very nice to meet you! 🙂
Gorgeous! I can’t believe they are paintings. Just stunning!
Hi Ginger! For someone whose got a lot going on on your blog, I’m impressed that you could get away and come see me! Thanks Ginger! And yes, Jason’s pictures are unbelievable, aren’t they. So life-like. They don’t look like they’ve been painted. How he does it, I have no idea. Talent mixed with lots and lots of practice much like we do when learning how to write, right? 🙂
Karen, those images are amazing. I can’t believe they are paintings! And your take on his work and writing is very interesting – thanks for sharing this! 🙂
Aren’t they Laird? They don’t look like paintings at all. There amazing is right! When I see something or someone who has talent like this, I can’t NOT write and share it with you all. It, Jason’s work inspired me! Thanks Laird for popping in. And please let me know if you receive my comment in you email, will you? Thanks. 🙂
I found your blog through the “Use Me and Abuse Me” virtual blog party. What an interesting connection between art and writing. Also, Jason’s art is fascinating–I’d never heard of him before. Thanks for sharing this!
Jennifer Chow recently posted..A Writer’s Double Jeopardy
Well hi Jennifer! You saw me on August McLaughlin’s blog? How cool is that? Wow, I’m really taken back that you made the effort to come see me! Thank you so much! I, like you found the connection between the artist and writer amazingly close. The way we work, how we use our sensory skills, pictures, the study of people and perception. Yes, Jason’s art is exceptional! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Jennifer! It is a pleasure to meet you! 🙂
Very cool post, Karen. I wish I could draw or paint or anything that creative using images like this. Gorgeous stuff!
Diane Capri recently posted..Diane Capri Reveals Bob Mayer
Thank you Diane! Don’t we all wish we had the talent of that man! Jason de Graaf has perfected his artistic brushstrokes. Gorgeouse cool stuff is right! Thanks for your thoughts Diane! 🙂
Lovely post and very nice art work. I’m very fortunate that my DH is an artist, so I’m very well aware of the parallels in our creative processes. This post is very well done. Great job, Karen!
Lynette M. Burrows recently posted..Glorious Mistakes or Wave of the Future?
Oh my Lynette, you are very fortunate indeed! How nice that you have that in common with your Husband! Speaking of which, how is your dear husband doing Lynnette? And how are you holding up? You both have been through a lot lately. I hope things are a bit more peaceful for you both. And thank you for the compliment Lynette! Always great to see you! 🙂
Wow, his paintings look so life-like, Karen. I love his use of vivid color. Simply gorgeous! I’m a pretty lean writer and sensory detail is something I really have to work hard at in order to get some of it on the page.
SheilaSeabrook recently posted..The Ultimate Guide to Procrastination
It is insane Sheila how life-like those painting look! Well, see, you’ve just proven that the attention to detail with each writer or artist varies Sheila. And to some it may come more naturally than to others. I think it just takes years of training and practice to achieve this level of talent. Thank you Sheila for stopping by! It’s always great to see you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂
Just blown away, Karen! What gorgeous stuff. I’ve been using art more and more as an inspiration for my writing. You’ve highlighted the synchronicities beautifully.
Debra Eve recently posted..Book Review: A Late Bloomer’s Most-Overlooked Resource
Debra, I was blown away when I first saw Jason’s work too. No, I take that back. Each time I scroll down the post I’m blown away! His work is gorgeous alright! And thank you Debra. I was inspired by de Graaf’s work and the similarities between the artist and the writer. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Debra! Have a great week! 🙂
The opening image has inspired some new details for a scene, so hurray! for your post.
This is from an art blog I follow — and the images can’t help but create new plot ideas: http://theartjunkie.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/kathy-ruttenberg-tales-of-the-earth/
Hi Lynn! Well that is so cool! Hurray for you Lynn! I’m so glad to meet you and that you found the post inspiring! And thank you for leaving this website. It will definitely be helpful to all of us. That’s very kind of you. Thank you for coming by and for leaving a comment. You’re welcome to visit anytime! Take care. 🙂
Those are paintings? Wow, Jason de Graaf is really talented. This is the first time I heard of him, though.
I use a lot of pictures to inspire my writing and Pinterest is my favourite social media. I agree with Natalie that the writer needs to leave some space for the reader imagination with her descriptions.
Reetta Raitanen recently posted..Link Feast For Writers, vol. 12
Yeah, wow is right Reetta! I think it’s safe to say that Jason de Graaf exudes talent. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him Reetta. You are the second person today to mention Pinterest. I have got to set up a Pinterest page. I think you and Natalie bring up a great point. If the writer does his/her job, they will allow the reader to use their own imagination. Thank you Reetta for dropping by and for sharing your thoughts! 🙂
Yes, great analogy, Karen. Jason’s work is gorgeous. I especially love the strawberries in water! I’d never heard of him before. Thanks for this post.
Lynn Kelley recently posted..Graduation Poem – To Dream
Thank you Lynn! I love the descriptive words that everyone is using. And gorgeous is another one that fits Jason’s work perfectly! Yes the strawberries caught my eye too Lynn. I hadn’t heard of him either until two days ago. When I saw his work, I had to investigate. He is just so talented. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Lynn! It’s always great to see you girl! Take care! 🙂
Stunning, Karen. I like the analogy you make too. I think writing is a way of interpreting reality, not reproducing it. Then we can make some elements more empahtic or subdued. Do you or Jason have a pinterest board with his artwork?
Fabio Bueno recently posted..Sunshine and Other Simple Pleasures
Stunning is another great description Fabio! “…writing is a way of interpreting reality, not reproducing it.” Love your viewpoint on that Fabio! Spot on my wana friend! Uh Fabio, I am not on Pinterest yet. I know, I know, I need to set up an account and get with it. One thing at a time Fabio. I feel like I’ve just conquered Facebook. LOL! And I don’t know if Jason is on Pinterest. His work is getting out there, so he might be. It couldn’t hurt to look. Thanks Fabio for your thoughts! It’s always great to see you! 🙂
I love the flowers. My Goodness – each and every one looks like a photograph. His work is exquisite. thanks for introducing him to us.
Louise Behiel recently posted..Borderline Personality Disorder is Confusing to Everyone – Including the Patient
Louise, you’re right! That’s the word I was looking for earlier. Jason’s work IS exquisite! Thank you for saying that. And the detail in the flower painting. Well, it just boils down to lots of practice and developing of talent. Thank you so much for coming by and for sharing your thoughts Louise! :).
Amazing photos! And I love this statement: “I try to remain open to new ideas and surprises as the painting unfolds.”
Thanks Karen–can’t wait for next week 🙂
Coleen Patrick recently posted..Multitasking: Make Twice the Mistakes in Half the Time
Interesting Coleen. You and Shannon brought up the same remark. I think as writers we can immediately relate to that statement because we too adapt to new ideas and surprises as our story unfolds. Oh Coleen, it’s a great post next week. You’re gonna love it! And good reads too! I hope you win! Thanks Coleen for coming by and have a great week girl! 🙂
Wow. These are amazing. I had to go look him up and see his other work. I can’t find what medium he’s using though, acrylic maybe? Thanks for introducing him to us, Karen.
I like how he said he tries to be open to new ideas and surprises as the painting unfolds. We writers can definitely relate to that!
Shannon, you are correct! Boy, oh, boy are you smart girl! You know your stuff! Yes, it is acrylic that Jason uses. I failed to mention that. You know I found that facinating that he tries to be open to new ideas and surprises as he works. It’s amazing how much we have in common with an artist, isn’t it? Great to see you Shannon and I hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Beautiful post, Karen. I can’t decide whether I love the strawberries or flower more. 🙂 I’m definitely inspired by visual art, and need to make more of a point of enjoying it. Thanks to you, museums on my to-visit list have moved up in priority rank!
You know it’s a toss-up August! The strawberries were the first picture I saw before I hunted down more. And the more I found, well I was so taken back by Jason’s talent. I’m in awe! I too am inspired by visuals. It was Jason that inspired this post! I can see a visit to a museum in your near future August! Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts girl! 🙂
I would have sworn those were with photos, Karen. I’m impressed with de Graaf’s work.
Pat O’Dea Rosen recently posted..Share the Blog Love
I know! Can you believe it Pat? Jason de Graaf’s work is, well, is there a word to describe it? It’s beyond description! Always great to see you Pat. How’s my editor doing? LOL! You saved my hide last week Pat! Thank you! Have a great week! 🙂
Absolutely gorgeous, Karen! That level of detail and hyper-realism never fails to impress me. It requires so much talent and skill to pull that off.
I love reading books that give me a lot of sensory detail, but I think I might be in the minority with that. I try to infuse *some* detail into my work, but not so much that it’ll be overbearing.
Lena Corazon recently posted..ROW80: Barely Squeaking By
Hey there girl! Great to see you Lena! Yes, Jason’s skill and devotion to detail is breath-taking! A very special talent indeed! There seems to be a fine line as to how much detail to include with our writing. Finding just the right amount, like Jason, requires time and practice in order to pull that off. Thank you Lena for coming by, especially with your move home. I hope it goes well! 🙂
An intriguing subject. I strongly believe in the connection between visual art and writing. For me, describing a scene, using all the sensory details, comes naturally and I enjoy employing my watercolor artist skills and ideas into writing.
Thank you for introducing Jason’s art – I am always on a lookout for a new visual inspiration.
Hi Angela! Ah, yes, you have the benefit of your artist skills to employ your sensory detailing. You are a step ahead of a lot of writers Angela. It takes great skill to envision a scene in your head and tjen to transfer it to the page. And you are welcome. Jason’s painting are exceptional! Thank you Angela for dropping by and for sharing your thoughts! Take care girl. Looking forward to your book launch! 🙂
Fantastic post, Karen! I will just add that choreography is also very similar to writing in that it requires developing a theme and progression that we want the audience/reader to follow to the climax.
Alicia Street recently posted..Spring Breaks
Hey Alicia! I love that you and Roy take turns to come see me! You guys are a great couple! I thank you for sharing that point about choreography and its similarity in theme and progression in writing. Just another way art unites us all! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for coming by Alicia! Say hi to Roy for me! 🙂
Amazing artistry and I do love how closely connected the ideals are between his work and the work of a writer. Personally, I prefer it when an author gives me just enough detail to set my imagination on fire but not so much that I get bogged down in too many details. I don’t need to see exactly what they see in their mind – I need to see my perception of the world they are creating.
Lovely post and Jason’s work is inspiring!
Natalie Hartford recently posted..Urban Word Wednesday: Flavorgasm
Hi Natalie! Ah, then you like subtext girl! I too love it when we are allowed by an author to make our own visuals in a story. It does encourage our minds to be more involved. I love it when I can share new things with my friends girl! And Jason’s work is inspiring! So happy you liked the post! Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts! 🙂
Marvelous post, Karen! Truly, I enjoyed learning of this artist.
Verisimilitude sort of rolls off the tongue as truth and beauty always do. As your post reveals, the stroke of the artist in any medium is the illusion in which the artist reveals the self, often unaware of all truths revealed.
Fine, fine post, and thanks!
KM Huber recently posted..A Resilient Life
Why thank you Karen! Always good to see you! Does Verisimilitude roll off your tongue? Not mine girl! When I read that word, I thought, what?And isn’t it cool how things are revealed to us? I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Take care and have a great week Karen! 🙂
I love how you tied together the similarities of the art of painting and writing. Truly inspiring!
Nothing is cooler than having your own son visit and leave a comment! Thank you Keaton! I’m glad I can still inspire you! Love you! 🙂