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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Voice - The Everlasting Search

When you walk into a museum or a gallery and see a painting, sometimes you can just 'tell' who painted it.

Blurred strokes, waterlilies, dreamy colors...
Monet, right?
(We have this painting here in Honolulu)

Stars, watered-down images, directional brush strokes... Van Gogh? You got it!

But, that's not 'just' it. Artists go through their periods, they have their subjects and their 'signature' pieces, but one kind of image is not always all have to say or communicate to their audiences.

Sometimes it takes years for them to discover their styles and what subjects that become their well known work. Some never live to know what the public react to, but I can imagine that they were always searching for new ways to bring their creative vision out in their work.

How to convey the emotions they were feeling.
How to breathe life into a medium that by nature is flat and two dimensional.

To create a personal style and voice that you can see when the 'usual subject matter' is replaced.

Top: Monet 
Bottom: Van Gogh (it's one that we have here in the Honolulu Art Museum)

More beautiful works to appreciate!

Now, I'm not trying to say that I'm a master of writing like these two painters are at their craft, but I believe that an author's voice is created in a similar way. Years of writing, writing, and yes, more writing. And while you're writing you start to realize things that 'feel like you' and then readers comment on things that they can count on in your writing/stories/etc.

And through all of that practice and feedback, you build a confidence in certain aspects of what you do/use to communicate your messages to your audience. And hopefully that style of communication appeals to a wide audience of readers. 

I hope that my voice does develop throughout the years and while the elements that go into different sub-genres are different, I hope that there will always be one element that doesn't change... that's me. 

- Part of the reason I wrote this post is that I picked up a year pass to the Honolulu Art Museum and the Waterlilies Painting above and the Haystacks Painting sit side by side in the Impressionists gallery of the museum. There's a lovely couch facing them and I like to go in that room and write on my phone. I have spent many an hour absorbing their beauty.


  1. I've been writing for more than 20 years. My voice has changed very little. The only difference is I might be writing slightly tighter than I used to and I've learned more about POV. That might tweak "voice" somewhat, but for me, it's only a little. I'm still the same verbose blatherer I started out to be who could have written "War and Peace."

    1. That's okay, Anna. You would be surprised how much blathering I'm capable of. Or...maybe you wouldn't be. Lol

  2. Reina, I love both Monet and Van Gogh but Monet's water lilies are my favorite. I love all his paintings that I've seen. What a pity the prints don't do his work justice. My favorite Van Gogh is Starry Night that he painted when he was going blind. My writing has changed over the years, some for the better and some not. I hope I am getting better.

    1. Caroline Clemmons, don't you just love the Don McClean song tribute to Van Gogh titled "Starry, Starry Night"? It's hauntingly beautiful. I found it on YouTube, sent it to my son, and he LOVES it. It surprised me since his taste in music "used" to be so different from mine.

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  4. I recognized Van Gogh right off the bat, but he's the only one's work I'm familiar with. About voice: How does an author know when she's found hers? Does the reader let her know? Writer's Voice has always been a mystery to me.


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