Tag Archives: art

A Little of This, a Little of That

A lot of the books I read end up adding to what I write. Characters, words, worlds, even just that mix of tones (a little darkness, a dash of magic and a small smidge of humor); it all affects how I write.

There are authors who energize; who help me get off of my ass and start writing again. There are the writers who function like literary warning signs. Danger! Do Not Mix These Genres: Disastrous Results! There are the writers that show me that what I’m doing ahs been done over and over and over and over again and maybe I should head down a different path.

I steal styles and I lift characters. I shuffle off with piece of plot and I make off with ideas. Every book I read, every story I see, it’s a jolt of inspiration. Not to take the whole thing. That’s just intellectual thievery.

But every writer borrows. Every writer finds his or her ideas. They lay about waiting to be discovered time and again. They find them, they piece them together, they work them into something new that hasn’t been seen before. They take those old ideas and make them shine like new again. They find new truths buried in ideas that have been kicking around since Man was capable of intelligent thought.

It is the job of an artist, whether a writer or a painter or a sculptor, to take those old ideas and breathe themselves into it.

And that’s…not that hard, really. Art isn’t hard. It’s just the follow-through that some might find troublesome.

Dylan Charles

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Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Neither Emily nor I have been to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and since we had the day off together, we decided to check it out.

This sounds like a simple thing on the surface: Emily and Dylan head off to the museum together and enjoy fine arts. In reality, we spent an embarrassing amount of time wandering around Boston’s Back Bay looking like especially bewildered tourists, even with the aid of Emily’s tricorder-ish phone.

But! We actually did make it to the museum, about five minutes before we would have succumbed to heat stroke. And it was worth it, if only because I got to see this painting:

It’s a girl with a dress-wearing cat.

That’s not to say there weren’t other amazing things there. It’s just…really hard to top a classical painting of a cat wearing a dress. We also saw the usual assortment of Egyptian relics, 18th century American furniture and busts of some truly grumpy Romans.

One area that the Museum of Fine Arts really excels in their presentation. They did their best to minimize the boundaries between the viewer and the art. When we went to look at the various stone panels with the Egyptian hieroglyphs, they had mounted them inside a dimly lit corridor, so that we felt like we were actually in a tomb, looking at millennial-old artifacts.

The same was true of the early American furniture, which was arranged in rooms like they would have been in the 18th and 19th centuries. There was only a shin-high guardrail to keep people from walking into the rooms, which didn’t obstruct our view at all. It was possible, with a little bit of effort, to imagine that you were looking into someone’s dining room.

They’re also hosting an exhibition of Chihuly‘s art right now, and it’s some truly impressive stuff. Take a gander at terrible iPod photographs:

This picture might be upside-down.

It’s big.

He does amazing things with glass, stuff that looks other-worldly and alien. It’s glass at its most organic and I highly recommend checking it out in person if you ever get the chance, since the pictures don’t really do it justice.

We didn’t check out all of the museum; to do so would take a whole day and some change. We left a lot of it for another time and I’m glad we’ll be in Boston long enough to do so.

Dylan Charles

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