Our newspaper ran an interesting article yesterday regarding a local reporter's perception of Norman Rockwell paintings. He'd just gotten back from Stockbridge, MA where he visited the Norman Rockwell Museum. One of the paintings on display was "Freedom From Want", the famous Thanksgiving painting, but what struck the reporter was the character Rockwell was able to paint into his subject's faces. No botoxed, face-lifted, expressionless models here. The faces are weathered, worn, and wrinkled. They sag sometimes, and have warts. They've been used. What, one may ask, happened to these people to make them look this way?
While Rockwell the painter told a story through his pictures, we writers are charged with using words. It's up to us to make our readers see our characters, their personality, their actions, joys, sorrows and struggles through a different medium. We have to make our characters' sing through our written descriptions, sometimes a not so easy task.
I'm going to find a copy of one of Rockwell's joyous paintings and hang it above my desk. When I get stuck working on a character, I'll just glance up and use his painting for inspiration. Now that's what I call bringing the arts together.