Credited to one of two Greek Philosophers, (Simonedes [556 – 468 BC] and Plutarch [46 – 120AD] who went on to become a Roman citizen), the full quotation is “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” It would seem logical that Simonedes said it first, simply based on the dates when these two philosophers were alive.
Whichever is correct, it’s the spirit of the quote that interests me most. It’s the story and the emotion it evokes that makes a painting interesting – and so too, a good piece of poetry or prose. At heart, the creation of written word, two dimensional images, or even three dimensional artworks all seek to do the same thing – to inspire, to provide enjoyment, to make people think, to tell a story – to engage the audience and hold their attention. The building blocks of any of these creative processes are the methods and techniques we are taught which aim to guide the audience to where the artist wants them to focus. In painting, it’s the trio of composition, tone and colour. In poetry, rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. But whatever the medium – the essential element at the core is the artist’s affinity for the subject, and the emotion they seek to convey.
One of the best things ever written about my work (in my view) was that it is “filled with joy, energy and colour” – which admittedly doesn’t make it sound particularly silent given that we mainly associate silence with peace and serenity. But if I were skilled enough with words to be a poet, I would want my words to convey joy and energy.
I have to confess that I was more than a little bouncy when I got the news that this painting had sold. I hope the new owners enjoy it’s happy energy as much as I do.