I am lucky to have a friend who is punctuation and spelling goddess. Or as she would describe herself, a pedant. My ability at both p. and s. is OK but I always seem to make silly mistakes: often the same one. Habitual grammar gaffes. Dah!
Looking through a piece of writing and finding your own apostrophe catastrophe is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Impossible to see. Fiendishly good grammar pals are a blogger’s godsend, although she tells me that writing about punctuation is bound to invoke Muphry’s Law: that’s the one where you will inevitably make a punctuation mistake.
Today I have been going over seascape paintings with fresh eyes looking for the missing brush strokes, the tiny blob of paint that can make the painting flow and sing. Punctuation for painters!
My question to myself as I look for completion is ‘Can I add brilliance?’ Highlights and lowlights to add meaning and drama; black and white paint are on my palette.
This is a very different and more considered process in comparison to the one described in my blog: ‘How to do a Truly Terrible Painting and Have a Totally Terrific Time’.
Before every exhibition I set aside several days to look at my paintings and ask whether I can add an apostrophe-like dot or dash of paint in just the right place to complete the painting’s flow or link a passage of paint. A painterly full stop. Sometimes the full stop might be just a completely random contrasting flick of colour, or simply realising I’d forgotten to sign the painting.
Historically, the Royal Academy of Arts in London had a day called Varnishing Day. The artists would climb ladders, brushes in hand, to their already framed and hung paintings, and make these tiny finishing touches.
Framed and signed paintings on a clean wall look different from unframed canvases in the studio. The frame and space reveal another dimension to the artwork.
A painting is never really finished until someone buys it and takes it away. Until then there is always the chance that I will see another missing comma, which can lead to a whole new passage of painting – even a total repaint. Looking for grammar mistakes can be a dangerous business!
If you miss the full stop because you didn’t listen to the voice that said ‘Stop Now’ but instead keep going enthusiastically, you then have to keep on painting until another one reveals itself. That can be quite frustrating. It’s easy to miss the ‘Aha’ moment: that moment of completion.
So, here are some thoughts on painting and punctuation. If you too need a proofreader then I highly recommend you employ wordsmith Woodstock Taylor. You can find her on Facebook. I will be asking her to check my punctuation for this blog, so any mistakes you spot are indeed Muphry’s Law in action!
Below are some seascapes that have been checked for visual punctuation today.
I always have small framed paintings available on my website for £100, plus p&p worldwide – a great way to start collecting original art or a fabulous gift.
I love doing my small oil paintings and as for a gift – who doesn’t love the sea?