Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Dianne Gardner on Art and Writing, Champion in the Darkness Tour, and Writers4Writers


Dianne Gardner is an artist and is the author of Deception PeakDragon Shield, Silvio, Menaka, Kaempie, and Reuben. She's currently touring for her latest novel, Dragon Shield, and I had a question for her about art and writing. Meanwhile, I'm at Dianne's blog Ian's Realm discussing Faith in Fiction. It's part one of a series of faith in writing that is part of the Champion in the Darkness tour. So, after making Dianne welcome here, please come visit me at Ian's Realm.

Tyrean writes…I have a student who is a writer and an artist. We've been discussing whether artists describe their characters more than non-artists. She's an artist, I'm not. She excels at description, I don't. I have a tendency to struggle to get the descriptions on the page even if they are in my imagination. Do you feel that your artistry helps with your character descriptions and characterization? If so, how much?

I have to tell you I believe that being an artist helps me to write good descriptions.

 Although I don’t believe you have to be an artist per se to write good description. You only need to be observant.

 One of the most important lessons when studying artist is that a good artist spends more time observing than they do creating art. Consider the following quotes:

 Art demands constant observation. (Vincent van Gogh)

 A heightened sense of the observation of nature is one of the chief delights that have come to me through trying to paint. (Winston Churchill)

 It is difficult to say why I decided I wanted to be an artist. Obviously, I had some facility, more than other people, but sometimes facility comes because one is more interested in looking at things, examining them, more interested in the visual world than other people are. (David Hockney)

 When you’ve trained not only your eye, but your temperment, to observe things around you it is amazing how much more alive the world becomes. You begin to see colors that you had no idea were present. I once argued with a student of mine that there were indeed purple in the tree trunks. It wasn’t until they began to slow down and really observe did they see the many hues that make up our surroundings.

 When you study art you learn about the warms and cools of color, how the sun affects nature, how ambient light seeping through a window can create a mood. How, if the light glares at you from below -the shadows that are cast will make you look ghoulish.

 All of these things can be written in your book. You can explain an atmosphere through observing life around you as if you have the eyes of an artist. And you don’t necessarily have to be able to draw well. You just need to observe well.

One of the best lessons of observance I’ve had has been studying plein air painting. Plein air painting is when an artist paints a landscape on site. The trick behind this kind of painting is that you work for no more than two hours. Why? Because after two hours the sun has shifted, the shadows have moved and the atmosphere has changed. Often you’ll find plein air paintings very small for this very reason.

 It’s little wonder that a plein air artist has trained their eye to observe the nuances of nature. They have heightened their observance skills to adapt to their needs.

The great thing about this is, anyone can do it. Even if you don’t know how to mix colors, or ‘draw a straight line’ or know perspective, you can at least train your eye to see them.

 And then find the words to explain what you see!
06-rainF2.jpg        02-Iansbow1 - Copy.jpg
Dianne Lynn Gardner
Young Adult Fantasy-Adventure Fiction
Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest, Olalla Washington. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers and she is an award-winning artist.

Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.
Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she shares both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing as a way to not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.
You can find more about Dragon Shield, and Dianne Gardner at the following links:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Author Central     Goodreads
Dianne Lynn Gardner
Hydra Publications

Ian's Realm: Deception Peak

Teenage Ian Wilson follows his father through a portal into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life. But separation from his dad puts Ian in peril as he’s abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers and forced to find his courage.  As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search for his father he meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm, and learns of a greater purpose for his being there. 

Ian's Realm: The Dragon Shield

As a young man, Ian returns to the Realm to fight against the tyranny that has befallen his friends. But the Realm is a different place, the forest is dying, the Kaemperns have lost the shield that protected them from the dragon, and Ian has a hard time proving his allegiance when trouble follows him through the portal. His struggle to do right buries him in confusion, and he must fight his own will to prove his integrity.

Again, please come visit me today at Ian's Realm to discuss Faith in Fiction: Part 1.

And remember, today is Writers4Writers: Go Gwen and Melissa!



Mark Means said...

I think there's a definite balance between 'description' and 'over description'. For me, Tolkien springs to mind when thinking of the latter.

Sometimes, I think it's better to let the reader "fill in the blanks".

Al Diaz said...

Is it just me having problems to see the pictures you inserted above Dianne's name? I wonder.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can do some artwork, but I guess not enough to make a difference in my writing. Bet my guitar playing makes a difference though. Maybe in the way I convey what the characters are feeling? Not sure...

Brinda said...

Dragon Shield sounds like a great read. As for the artist correlations, I can see how that would make description come to life.

Ciara said...

I can't draw or paint, but I'm a visual writer. Many people tell me reading my stories are like watching a movie. I love YA fantasy!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Mark - Thank you! LOL. I love LOTR, but the descriptions do carry on quite a bit. It takes courage to say that though, LOTR fans might chase us down.

Al - I'll see if I can fix that. Thanks for letting me know.

Alex - I think that art and music can definitely have an influence on our writing for good!

Brinda - I agree.

Ciara - That's definitely true. When I read your writing, I feel like I'm in the scene.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm a visual person and have been a professional photographer for over 23 years. I don't think it always translates as well into my details though. I can see the beauty of a scene - just struggle to convey that into words.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Diane - it's interesting how our imaginations make it onto the page, whether we are visual or not, whether we have artistry in our background or not. We each have a unique way of seeing and describing the world.

Julie Flanders said...

Interesting post! I've been working on trying to be more observant, I tend to always be in a hurry for no reason, but now I'm trying to take more in. It does help a lot with writing and it's amazing what can inspire ideas.

Dianne's book sounds great, congratulations to her. :)

M Pax said...

I'm an OK artist depending on what it is. I enjoy photography a lot and I love looking at art. I used to write poetry, which I think also requires a lot of observing.

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, Tyrean! I wanted to visit and say, "Nice to meet you!" to a fellow Spunky Soldier. :)

Congrats to Dianne on her latest novel! Wonderful guest post, too. I've been teaching myself to draw and I got two great books that focus on really seeing an object, not just knowing what it is. It's amazing how much that makes a difference!

See you around the blogosphere, especially during A to Z!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Julie - I agree. Observation is a great way to get ideas!

M Pax - I hadn't thought of poetry that way, but I have noticed that when I write it, I slow down and get into the details.

Laura -Nice to meet you!!!

Lexa Cain said...

I think an artist is an artist through and through. Many can paint, sing, dance, write, and act. I guess it's a special sensitivity.
Great interview! :-)

Tara Tyler said...

creativity is part of all the arts. visualizing then putting it on paper in whatever form is hard for many so we have to find the most descriptive way to share our vision!

great guest post! love dragon themes!

jaybird said...

My sister was an artist and she used to tell me writing, was my medium of choice, like oil paint was hers. Although I can't paint to save my life, I would definitely categorize myself as a visual writer.

meradeth said...

Love the quotes you shared! I have to agree--there's something about observing the world around us that makes for richer descriptions. I think this goes for people, too, as by watching how other's interact helps us with our characters :) (And I can't see the pictures either--not sure why!)