"Painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks". - Plutarch
As both an artist and a poet, this quote from Plutarch resonates deeply within me and has led to a richer understanding of the creative processes involved in both poetry and painting and the similarities I experience in making anything. There is a transference of skills, even in the practical world creativity is there.
When I first started writing poetry I thought that it should always rhyme and retain a strict metre, like a quiet song, its rhythm coming from and singing to deeper parts of ourselves. I still believe that this is true . . . . but not always. The same thing happened when I started painting as I sought to capture photorealistic images, but after a time I became frustrated by the limits that this approach imposed to the possible development of something different and more exciting. Sticking rigidly to the rules became like simply repeating what others had done, and in many cases much better than me.
We all need to find our own voice, whatever we create. Relating this to music, it's akin to learning the scales, the chords, the harmonics, the underlying structures that are the bones of it. Once these basics are acquired we can begin to bend the rules and flesh things out in more individual ways. To break the rules altogether is inadvisable as discord can occur and we end up with an 'anything goes' attitude. Bending the rules, however, frees us to begin, in subtle ways, to see where we can inject a little of our own interpretation and allow something new to emerge. Little by little originality emerges; this is one of the major ways in which we find our own style and voice.
And so in painting, whilst retaining realism, I began to deviate from the expected palette and to use wilder, brighter colours and branched into mixed media too. I was no longer painting pretty scenes but using colour to portray the energy of them, and it worked, it didn't look wrong. The same happened with poetry, sometimes I used no rhyming at all but made what I call 'word paintings'. I think I quite like this formless form of poetry, it's like capturing feelings and images in a net and placing them on a canvas.
Sometimes I have rhymes, in fact many of them at times, but broken up to allow the poems to have their own rhythms, adding a word here and there, as like highlights or shadows in a painting, allowing free rein to passions and emotions like splashing vivid colours around.
Ir seems that all creativity comes from the same root source which branches out in different directions and produces leaves, flowers and fruits as we individuals give it our unique expression. The energy of life is so much more dynamic, colourful and diverse than we notice in our every day lives, but thankfully we have the Arts and our creativity to remind us.
Plutarch, (born approx 46 A.D. in Boeotia, Greece, - died approx 120 AD, in Delphi, Greece ), was a biographer and author whose works strongly influenced the evolution of the essay, the biography, and historical writing in Europe from the 16th to the 19th century. He wrote extensively about ancient Greek and Roman culture, influencing later Western writers.