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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

What is the picture?

Just a quick question about Dag that I need some help with. In his home there is a picture that he especially loves. A painting, I assume. It is his private "vacation" spot. If he needs peace, he is irresistably attracted to the picture which he sits in front of and stares at for hours.

What is the painting and who is the artist?


I'd say the Starry Night Of Vincent Van Gogh, or other, maybe a bit lighter, by the same artist :)
I love Van Gogh, but the practical side of me says "too expensive" or "too tacky". He couldn't possibly get the original of Starry Night even if he could afford the millions for a VanGogh, and I just don't see Dag having a poster. It could be a serigraph or a screenprint, limited edition type thing, but I don't think a picture of a famous painting would do it.
I saw graphite sketch of a lake or cove on one of the San Juan Islands, that has faint color tints washed over focal points. It was rendered by a friend of his who Dag helped out one time. Dag took it as trade.

So mostly black and white, with occasional bits of subtle color.
I like this. Especially that Dag took it as trade or that it came as a gift. The description of the local scene is also good. It may need to have more vivid color. Dag is colorblind, but at a significant moment near the end of the story he is overwhelmed by seeing the colors in the painting.
Two thoughts. One--and this is a personal issue of mine--I can't stand Starry Night, and I can't see it working for Dag. Partly it's because that painting has become so cliched that I can't really imagine Dag taking any solace from it.

Two, it's probably better if the painting is NOT something famous or by a famous artist. I mean, you can't really drop names like Degas and Gaugin without, well, sounding like a name-dropper. And whatever famous piece you pick, some readers will like it, some will hate it, and some will think you're just trying to make Dag sound more urbane. I'm in agreement, in a sort of tangential way, with A Belletrist. It should be a picture with some kind of sentimental connection to Dag's past. Maybe his ex-wife painted it, and even though it isn't very good, it's nice enough to look at and reminds him of happier days. Or maybe his college sweetheart painted it and gave it to him as a present because at the time they were both too broke to buy real presents. And while he lost touch with her after she went to New York to study art, Dag never could bear to part with it.

Anyway. Being an imaginary piece by an imaginary artist also means that you get to _describe_ the piece, rather than just _name_ the piece, which has to make for better writing. That whole "show, don't tell" thing again. Tell us about the painting, and let us fill in the details. I guarantee, letting the reader imagine the art from a description will produce something in the reader's mind that is in accord with the reader's own artistic tastes.
Yes. My question of who is the artist and what is the painting of are more searching for the story of the painting rather than looking for an actual piece of art. I should have been clearer on that, but perhaps I wasn't clear in my head yet when I posted. I like the girlfriend idea. It fits with some of the "teen years" reminiscence. I see several places where it fits with the story. I just need to describe the scene, style, colors, etc.
The girlfriend idea also ties in nicely with Dag sorting out his feelings for Reily, who is presumably of an age similar to the artist woman in his memory...