Saturday, March 24, 2007

Art as Story

Art is inspiration on canvas board. That said, I think Edward Hopper’s work can inspire stories. In Hopper’s Nighthawk below, all kinds of plots, conversations, and characterizations come to mind.

“Would you like ice cream on top?”
“Ugh, these nails.”
“Me, and the little lady, are heading to Phoenix.”
These people might easily be gangsters, late-night moviegoers, or lovers ending an affair. The bartender might be gruff or friendly.

Just what are these two discussing in Hopper's Chop Suey?

"Read any good books lately?"
"Myrtle, I did it. I kicked the bastard out!"
"I know about the affair."
"I think you will make a great babysitter, and you're hired."
"May I borrow a couple hundred, just to tide me over?"

This could be a great exercise for creative writing courses.


jenclair said...

Also great for poetry. I used to use transparencies, including Hopper's Nighthawk, as a way to get students to write poetry. Sometimes just for a freewrite that they could use for something else later. The text book companies provided wonderful transparencies!

:) I enjoyed your lines for the two paintings. How differently the same painting can be interpreted!

maggie moran said...

Poetry, is another great idea! I imagine the kids leaned to the sober side instead of light and frilly when gazing at Nighthawk.

Isabel said...

Great ida. I am going to steal it and use it on my blog next week! If you don't mind!!!

maggie moran said...

WW100, please, help yourself! :D

Bookfool said...

Loved your thoughts on potential dialogue. Hopper is wonderful; Nighthawk is one of my favorite paintings.

I just realized I didn't have your blog listed in my links. I was certain you were listed, but okay . . . fixed. We were up your way again, briefly, over spring break - had to check out Rowan Oak. 20 years in MS and none of us had ever been there. How ridiculous is that? :)

maggie moran said...

Love Rowan Oak! It looks like the perfect house for Faulkner's temperment.

I just looked at the Oxford Eagle and read that Clyde Edgerton was in town for the conference on the book. I'm so upset I missed him!

I'm guessing you went to Square Books! Hope you left some for me... :D

Anonymous said...

the "Ugh, these nails," line is PERFECT! Who among us hasn't had that thought? Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

I have loved Hopper's art for many years .

Bookfool said...


It was easy to imagine Faulkner typing outside at Rowan Oak!

I was so disgusted that I dropped the ball on the conference. I've always wanted to go and never made it, but this year it was all about Larry Brown. Darn, darn, darn. We both need to pay better attention, I guess. Want to go with me, next year? Part of the reason I've never gone is that I didn't really want to go alone. I'd have gone, this year, with a little more warning.

I wiped out Square Books. Sorry. It's empty. ;)

maggie moran said...

Bookfool, it's a date. Maybe, I should be glad I didn't get to talk to Edgerton. My husband would be on to my obvious flirting! ;D

Bookfool said...

LOL! Yeah, you've got to watch out if the hubby's around. :) Okay, then, we'll both watch out for next year's info on the conference. Super!