Snow in London

Woke up to snow this morning. It’s almost midday now and the roofs are still covered in white. The plan from now on is to do something writerly every day. Wednesdays are Poems from Paintings day. Andra and I have been meeting at the National Gallery for the past 3 weeks to write poems inspired by paintings. We’re planning to go through every room, starting from Room 1 (which was closed on the first day we went due to industrial action over holiday pay, so we had to start at Room 9). I’ve always been intrigued by paintings and have seen them as a great writing tool, a prompt for stories, and since starting work on Whitechapel Boys I’ve become more aware of the actual brushstrokes, the way the hand moves on the canvas. But I think what really interests me is the story of a painting – what the artist chooses to put in a frame and the colours they use. And perspective. And where the eye goes first when you encounter a picture, the point from which the whole story fans out. I also love the way paintings are there to be used and ogled and played with – and how you can, through writing, own them, make them your own. What do painters get out of writing? In the days of the Whitechapel Boys and the Bloomsbury crowd, there was a much stronger connection between writers and painters and they sought out each other’s company. Most of Gertler’s friends were writers. Carrington had Strachey. Rosenberg tried to carry the two expressions inside him. What did painters get from writers?

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