Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Artist's Quest

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I was able to attend the Carl Bloch exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art recently and I was completely blown away by the talent of this artist. He painted pictures of people and places that looked like photographs, and he painted pictures of the Savior that drew out emotions in me that were completely unexpected. The thing that struck me the most, however, was at the beginning they have a little presentation about his life and it says that Carl “painted fleeting impressions from his mind.” That phrase stuck with me, not only because of how real and beautiful and skilled his work is, but because it made me wonder if he really did see those things in his head and if he, perhaps, was working off of more than just imaginings, but long-forgotten images and memories. But I digress.

The other reason that phrase stuck with me is that I believe that writers can be artists as well, and when we are writing a book we are “painting fleeting impressions from our minds,” as well. Characters can come to life on our keyboard, just as people come to life under a paintbrush. Settings and impressions can be penned on a page, just as a landscape or action painting can be brought to life on canvas. And the true masterpiece is when it all comes together, just like a finished painting---the skill, the characters, the story, they are all given life in a finished book. As writers, I think we are all looking for that perfect painting of words that will transform our imagined story into something that will touch someone or linger in someone’s thoughts long after the book is closed.

I know I will be thinking about Carl Bloch’s work for some time to come. It was so breathtakingly beautiful, with so many shades and meanings, it’s something I can ponder on and admire, from one artist to another. I want to give you examples, I want to talk about each painting and everything that I learned (they give you an iPad so you can see a virtual tour of the churches and palaces that his paintings originally hung in, they have talks from General Authorities, they have a choir singing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, I mean, there was something incredible at each and every painting display to ponder and learn). But if I gave you examples, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop. Suffice it to say, this exhibit is a must-see. Carl Bloch was a true master who studied and honed his craft until he had mastered it and was able to touch the hearts of all who look upon his work.

I hope to someday reach that sort of mastery in my own craft, and while that may seem an impossible dream right now, I know that even reaching for the dream takes courage. Hopefully, I will look back and at least see progress in my quest as a writer—that I will be able to put on paper, "the fleeting impressions of my mind," and have them be appreciated, that my stories will be rich in character and skill, and touch the hearts of those who read them. Someday.


5 Comments:

At 2/24/2011 10:14 PM, Blogger Krista said...

A very passionate post. Thank you, Julie! I wish I could see it.

 
At 2/24/2011 10:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Beautiful post, Julie! I'll have to make sure my BYU daughter goes to see it.

 
At 2/25/2011 1:46 AM, Blogger Bobdad said...

Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834–1890) was one of ten children raised in a devoutly religious merchant family in Copenhagen, Denmark.
At age twenty, Bloch began exhibiting independent works, concentrating on portraits and
genre paintings of farmers and fishermen. In 1859 he was awarded a travel scholarship from the Academy to study the great masters in Rome. During his stay in Italy, his work began to reflect deeper concern for human emotion and spirituality. Bloch created
monumental paintings of religious and historical scenes that brought him great acclaim.

 
At 2/25/2011 12:58 PM, Anonymous Mommie Dearest said...

I have travel plans during spring break to go see this. It's easier than going to Denmark.

 
At 2/25/2011 10:40 PM, Blogger shannon_alder said...

I did fiction writing a long time ago. Screenplays actually-- Sadly, I was one of those that frequented the Matt Damon Project Greenlight Contest (no win)...but hopeful. Then gave up and decided to write nonfiction. I quickly realized nonfiction is just as hard of a craft. You have to be able to weave a story to make a point and motivate a person to buy what your selling with your words. I quickly switched to easy writes to get my foot in the door with publishers. Now I am back to writing 300 pages like the rest of the world. Sigh. I wouldn't call myself an artist...but the craft of writing an art.

 

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