Note: I have set up a private Facebook Group for people participating in the daily prompts to share their work and receive constructive feedback in a safe space. Please click HERE if you would like to take part.
Good morning. We’re traveling the timelines today for a visit with Saturnino Herrán.
A Mexican painter and muralist from the late 19th and early 20th century, he is among those of the indigenismo movement who worked to celebrate Latino culture as the precursor to the revolutionary spirit of mid-century Mexican art, including having taught greats such as Diego Rivera.
The piece I share with you today, La Ofrenda, hangs in Museo Nacional de Arte INBA in Mexico City.
Painted in 1913, it exemplifies Mexican modernism with its allegorical allusion to life’s journey. A punt boat in a canal is filled with zempasúchitl flowers (a marigold that is traditionally associated with death) meant as offerings for the dead. This is a reference to ofrenda, a tradition deeply connected to Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos. Each character is represents a different stage of life.
Please take a moment to admire this incredible work by clicking through: http://munal.emuseum.com/objects/341/la-ofrenda?ctx=10fce3f5-35ee-46c6-8921-9a42d7ff90fb&idx=16
Of course, your interpretation doesn’t need to follow Herrán’s intention.
Instructions: Allow the mood and colours of the painting to influence your writing today. What is the story of those in the boat? Is there one character through which you can convey all of that rich emotion? Do they ponder? Or is this a quiet moment before the business of the city? Let whatever comes flow from your emotional reaction to the painting and write that. Don’t edit.
Enjoy your trip to 1913 Mexico.
Hello, fellow time travellers!
Are you longing for a bit of a solitary creative refuge in the middle of this quarantine?
Many of us continue to remain holed up in our homes across the globe. These many weeks of solitude (or sharing space without any breaks) leave us struggling with our sense of peace each day.
One of the ways I work with my writing groups to help ease anxieties and create space right now is through flash fiction using famous artworks as inspo.
My obsession with beauty, passion for museums, and love of storytelling led me to it, and students have adored the combo.
So, in celebration of art, support of museums, and an offering of solitary creative space, I’ll be posting a visual writing prompt each day along with light instructions to help guide you in this sweet process.
To kick things off, let’s go with Thomas Cole’s The Journey of Life: Youth. I love this painting for its ethereal quality and room to create your own interpretation. It hangs in the American National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Be sure to take some time and linger on this beautiful painting in high definition and with a bit of historical context at: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.52451.html
Instructions: Pick a character from the painting (or make one up) and lead them on a journey through it.
Things to consider: What do they discover? Who do they meet? Is there a conflict that makes this adventure a bit more exciting? Do they find what they thought they would?
Have fun writing! No pressure! No masterpieces needed! Just dream on paper. xo
I’ve been planning the weekend’s writing group activities for a bit—so excited to help young authors learn more about creating their own characters through fantasy short story writing.
We’l be whipping up character sketches, creating maps based on what actions characters take, and building wizarding sports teams.
First, though, they’ll be flash writing on this topic:
I’ll report back on the results. There is sure to be a story of the week out of this one. 🙂