Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eye to idea (not all headers can be good)

Can pictures spark ideas? Most definitely. What's the best way to derive an idea from an image and see it through to fruition? I'm still trying to figure that out for myself.

I think it has something to do with picking up on a quality of the picture, something in the thing depicted and the way it's depicted. And at some point you have to let it go and go off in your own direction. More than that it's hard to say.

Anyway, a recent discovery whose work does seem to pluck the narrative strings is Canadian Brad Phillips. He's a versatile painter, from still lifes to mysterious group scenes. He does his fair share of nudes, too. These it's harder to work off of from a narrative point of view. If you as a writer ask "Why is she naked?" the obvious answer is "Because she took off her clothes. That's how it works where I come from." Still, these are worth appreciating.

But he's very good at shadows and light. Shadows that highlight, and light that looks like it's coming from somewhere. I find it evocative, even if I don't know right away what it's evoking.


susan said...

It sounds like a good idea to let a story unfold from the starting point of a single image - or even to end at one. You'd certainly have a fair amount of information regarding time period even if you just used it to move somewhere else.

I looked at his website and found some very interesting paintings. As you say, he's very good with shadow and form but he doesn't leave one feeling entirely comfortable.

Ben said...

I was sort of thinking out loud, but it's an idea that kind of appeals to me.

And hell, the spookiness on some of the pictures is something of a plus for me.