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Jump Into a Chalk Painting

There’s a famous scene in the movie, Mary Poppins, where Mary, Bert, and the children jump into one of Bert’s chalk paintings on the sidewalk, resulting in a jolly holiday with the magical nanny.

Wouldn’t you love to do that? In my imagination I can, but reality is a different matter. (I guess I need a magical parrot head umbrella.) Still, I’ve found Art to be an amazing tool for writing, one that helps stimulate ideas and improve my observation skills.

Getting creative

I’m not a painter, but I do enjoy creating visual art. For instance, collecting miniatures and building roomboxes and dollhouses was one of my passions in the Eighties, inspiring me to become both colorful and creative.

One of my favorite creations is the Caribbean gift shop. It’s the largest roombox I own, depicting an exotic island panorama and vibrant paintings on the walls. It reminds me of a shop Nick and I visited in St. Lucia, where all the colors of the earth, sea, and sky were more intense than anywhere else I have traveled, like stepping inside a spectacular painting. And guess what? I used this same roombox as inspiration for a scene in Inn Lak’ech!

Eventually, I became a real mini-maniac and built an Irish pub, a baseball diamond with bleachers, a riding stables, a doll shop, a zoo with a train, a seaside cottage, a Christmas shop, and a haunted house.

But as much as I enjoyed creating, miniature-making is an expensive little hobby, so I rarely do it anymore. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to it when I’m an old lady wearing purple.

In the meantime, I’m having fun creating story collage cards.

Here is a collage I made for Seaglass Christmas, featuring an eight-year-old Elm, her seaglass Christmas wreath, the mysterious violet seaglass, Holy Cow Sundaes, and other book locales.

To create a collage card, cut out images from old magazines or the internet. Paste or glue your images onto construction paper or cardstock in whatever pattern brings you joy. Once you’ve finished your collage, display it in a prominent place (like your desk) for meditation and inspiration.

Art Projects

Do you enjoy experimenting with art? Whether it’s drawing, painting, filmmaking, sculpting or photography, jump right in and see how visual arts can inspire your writing! Try these fun projects:

  1. Create a diorama or roombox to depict a scene from your story.

  2. Create a collage card to remind you of the different characters or scenes in your story.

  3. Create a storyboard, including all the scenes in your story.

  4. Sketch a picture of the story’s first chapter.

  5. Create a painting (chalk, watercolor, oil) or sculpture of someone who inspires you in your story.

  6. Choose a painting of a person, then write your interpretation of his/her backstory.


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