Tag Archives: Canada

Brushstrokes: A Portrait of an Artist’s Reflection

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!


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