Start with Art: practice observing
Class 1 of 4. START WITH ART is a four-class series that focuses on five foundation elements aimed at enhancing your writing, i.e. storytelling. Each class, two weeks in duration, can also be taken as a standalone.
Observe (verb) 1. Notice or perceive (something) and register it as being significant. 2. Make a remark.
Observing is an energetic activity. A key skill needed for effective writing it is also arguably the greatest tool for a writer of any genre. This two-week workshop serves to build a fundamental habit for aspiring writers and a core practice for those more advanced in the writing process. Using a work of art, we give ourselves the essential luxury of time slowed down. We cultivate relaxing at full attention, allowing ourselves to wonder in depth. Then, through a process of sketching, notation, and expanded descriptions we access our insights, accumulate story details, and paint word pictures that will transports our readers.
By pairing observing visual art with a specific writing practice, the class encourages sketching (stick figures are welcomed!), notating, and describing. Through a series of prompts participants move from on-screen observing to examining and recording the everyday only-glanced-at-details of neighborhood objects.
- develop a habit of observing
- cultivate a fundamental effective writing skill
- learn to “see”
- value your unique insights
- write essential details with flair
- achieve nuanced written descriptions
WHAT THIS WORKSHOP OFFERS
Week I: The Pyramid of Inquiry Method
From an evidence-based method created by museum educator/consultant, Nicola Giardina, we develop our capacity to observe, for introspection, and through physical activities (strike a pose and upload the selfie) answer questions such as What Do You See? What Do You Think About What You See? What’s It All About? This way, we work to fully understand and “see” what we are looking at. We write about our personal connection to the art and discuss any questions that inevitably arise.
Week 2: Detailing the Mundane
Participants leave their screens behind for the fresh air to find everyday objects. Using the skills acquired in week 1, we produce notated sketches (all levels of artistry accepted) and then continue the process by writing short, nuanced descriptions of these otherwise mundane objects
ABOUT JANE MONTEAGLE
Jane Monteagle taught herself to draw, paint, and write by reading books on those crafts and practicing, practicing, practicing. Born a Kwaussi, a cross between a Kiwi and an Aussie, she has resided in sunny Santa Monica for over thirty years. She entered Antioch University when she was fifty-two and achieved a B.A. in Liberal Studies, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a post-graduate Certificate in Creative Writing. Her teaching profession began with an assignment in the Los Angeles County Jail. She is the co-founder of a business that advocates for incarceration reform by conducting restorative justice-centered workshops in the state prison system. Her short story “Letter Home” received an Honorable Mention in the Inspirational Category of the 2000 Writer’s Digest Competition,
She was selected to show in the Malibu Art Association juried fine art exhibition, 2007. Both her Y.A. novel and illustrated Young Reader are being shopped for publishing.