Art Friday: Creating stories around paintings

The breakdown" by Yelena Bryksenkova
Art Friday: Paintings that tell a story

Have you ever looked at a painting and just wanted to create story around the imagine?

The one above is perfect for this sort of story telling. Why is she so upset, has she just received bad news? From whom? Or is she just lonely and living in a new city with no friends around? Maybe she is just tired after a day at work and dreams of something better.

This is Anne Powers, 30 years old, single and works at the Franklin Community Library. She loves her job, she loves the people she meets and reading to the children on Thursday afternoons, but she is exhausted with her life. Not only is she working full-time, she goes to the gym 2 evenings a week, completing a short course in creative writing, volunteers at church on Monday nights, cares for her elderly parents and just broken up with her boyfriend. Life sucks and Anne is feeling very fragile as if she is about to break into pieces. To make matters worse, her cat Emma died last week from old age - she is now alone and doesn't know what to do next. 

Anne is just too tired to even make a proper meal and turn the lights on this evening. 

If only her friend Isabelle would call, Isabelle is such a good friend who lifts her spirits and makes her laugh. Isabelle was so kind the other day, she brought Anne a lovely pot plant to cheer her up and a bowl of radishes. "No, I will call Isabelle and perhaps she can come over and we can sit and watch old movies together, eat popcorn and laugh". Anne realises there is no point in moping about she needs to take control of her life and start sorting things out. Perhaps she taken on far too much.  But first, she plans to visit animal rescue tomorrow morning and find a new furry friend to keep her company. Perhaps she might buy two kittens this time . . . 

This is a great exercise to do with children. Not only does it get their creative juices going - being creative is very good for both young and old, but it also makes them really look at the painting and see the detail.  Each of us will come up with different stories which is why this can be so much fun to do.

Give it a try and let me know what short story you write!

We are never too young to be storytellers :)

In today's Art Friday I have included paintings that are perfect for story telling. It doesn't matter that the story is different to what the artist intended, that makes it all the more interesting. 

By Satomi Ichikawa 
This would make a great story, let your imagination run wild - any thoughts!?
Why is she sitting there - waiting for who?
By Michael Sowa - this requires a very good imagination! Up for the challenge?
"At the tram stop" by Paul-Gustave Fischer
Painintg by James Tissot - What is this girl up to?
By Alfredo Rodriguez - did he strike it rich or perhaps his family suffered great poverty in his absences, did he return?

Painting by Kevin Walsh - new migrants just arriving or perhaps leaving. Where are they heading, why. What will their new lives be like. Perhaps they are running away from a secret, an Agatha Christie murder!!
by Carlton Alfred Smith (British, 1853-1946), "Recalling the Past"
One for the children

Mama Mu by Swedish Jujja Wieslander - this one will certainly get you thinking - a cow on a bike!!   
*****

Comments

  1. I hope to use paintings like these for the children's story writing in school... How fun! Some of these really inspire a lot of ideas and thoughts, don't they?! I think my favourite is the grandma standing up as the little girl runs in the room. :)

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    1. Its hard to choose a favourite as I can see some great stories in all of them. I really like the rabbit walking along the street (Has Peter Rabbit moved to the city!!) and I like the lady painting whilst the cliff falls away!! It can be hard to write a story from nothing, but when you have a painting its a great starting point and then you can let your imagination fly. Its also fun to see how two people can create different stories from the same painting.

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  2. When my daughter was working on her masters in counseling I volunteered to be a pretend patient of hers. She showed me a series of pictures and asked me to tell a short story (5 minutes) about each one, spontaneously. She then analyzed all my stories looking for common threads. It was interesting, and I had fun doing it. This is an old tool that psychologists sometimes use when treating patients. Interesting I thought. You have some great pictures there for sparking the imagination.

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    1. Pictures/paintings are more than just looking at!!! Have a wonderful week.

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  3. I love your choices of artwork. This will be a fun exercise with my children, and myself :) You can't help but form stories in your mind when you are looking at them. Signing up so I can get more more of your good ideas!

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    1. Thanks :))

      So glad you liked this idea and it is great for adults too!!

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  4. You are right...everyone of these paintings tells a story. It's a fun exercise to let your imagination create the story.

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    1. It keeps us all from getting old (or minds at least) !! and that is very important:))

      Have a wonderful week.

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  5. I love this idea! I have done versions of it in the past when teaching creative writing classes. It is a great way to grease the gears for young writers! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. And its fun for young and old alike!!

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  6. Love this concept Jo. This is done in one of our homeschool curriculums and the stories my daughter comes up with always delight me (down to every little detail)!

    (The 4th painting)

    "Mr. Rabbit walked with purpose to the corner store. There was no getting out of it. Something was to be done and as no one was willing to even admit there was a problem, he found himself a work to do. It always shocked the handsome little hare that society accepted rotten circumstances. What happened to the revolutionary rabbits of the past? Where were they? Well today, his fierce ancestral blood was about to redeem itself but first, some carrots..."

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    1. Brilliant - you are on your way to writing a book!!! It is such fun and we all would write something very different for that particular painting.

      Have a wonderful Christmas.

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  7. Great idea! Really this is a good pause for our busy lives- using our imagination to come up with a story. I think it would be good for our spirits too! Have a blessed Christmas! patsy

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    1. Especially when we create happy and encouraging stories in this bleak world where the stories are often so sad and discouraging.

      Have a wonderful Christmas xx

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  8. Thanks for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays, blessings.

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  9. I wish I could take the time for this. It sounds like fun!

    The top picture says Seasonal Affected Disorder to me!

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    1. I just love how different people see so many different things in just one painting :)

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