Midweek writing prompt – tree art

Childhood Memories by Kurt Jackson

Childhood Memories by Kurt Jackson

It’s no secret that I seek a lot of inspiration for my work from the natural world. Equally, art prompts many of my short story and flash fiction ideas. Happily the current exhibition at the RWA Gallery in Bristol allows me to draw from both these sources at once.

Arboretum: The Art of Trees, The Arborealists and Other Artists (on until 8 March 2015) fills the galleries of the RWA with reaching branches, twisting shadows and a sense of dappled light. Glass cases offer up foraged seeds and leaves transformed to resemble shards of bark, while along the centre of the space a line of spindly saplings stand – half tree, half lamppost – like something from a dream.

Coppice III by Anthony Whishaw

Coppice III by Anthony Whishaw

I found myself gazing at the triptych above, remembering looking into a woodland pool – my eyes suddenly adjusting to the layers of shadows to recognise the mass of copulating toads in the depths. There’s a seed of a story in that.

And then there are all the myths tied in with forests and their damp, half-hidden places.

Tiresias by Nicola Bealing

Tiresias by Nicola Bealing

So this week, if you’re in the Bristol, why not visit the RWA and spend an afternoon in the company of painted trees? And if you’re further afield, a wintery woodland will do just as well.

If you write something prompted by this, please let me know by sending an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com. With your permission, I’d love to share it on SkyLightRain.com.

Midweek writing prompt – open art

RWA Interior Photography by Mark Ashbee

RWA interior © Mark Ashbee

Last week I spend a delicious morning meandering through the breathtakingly diverse array of art of show at the RWA’s 162nd Open Exhibition.

Serena Curmi painting, Images from the Private View 11th OctoberI spotted a characteristically contemplative painting by Serena Curmi (titled Judgment – but who is the girl in the image judging? Herself?), and a beautiful, resonant sculpture (literally – when you run your hand over its spines, which you’re invited to do, it sings) by Kim Francis called Child.

I brought along a largish notepad and a handful of pens, and took my time, pausing to jot down notes whenever an idea or thought nudged me. By the time I left I had ideas for half a dozen stories, a rough first draft of a poem and a complete piece of flash fiction.

I urge you to do the same. The RWA Annual Open Exhibition is on until 7 December 2014, but if you can’t make it to Bristol, why not visit your local gallery or museum? The key is time – a good, solid chunk of it, to soak in the works on display and allow your subconscious to take what you see and turn it into an original piece of writing.

If you write something prompted by this, please let me know by sending an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com. With your permission, I’d love to share it on SkyLightRain.com.