Blog: The Painter and The Writer

June 14, 2010


Exhibiting at the Portico Library and Gallery in Manchester got me thinking about the relationship between the painter and the writer.


Painting is a universal "language" understood by all humans. Serious painters think of the visual effect that the finished work will have on the viewer, and concentrate their efforts on achieving this goal. They expect (or at least hope!) that this finished work will be universally understood.


Writing is a function relating to "specific" language. There are hundreds of different languages and scrolls. Preparing text for any written language must therefore involve the prior methodical learning of an extensive amount of detail.


Descriptive/creative writing does not necessarily come naturally to painters. They often find it difficult to come up with meaningful written titles for their paintings. It is a "duplication" of the language the painter wishes to express, yet the public takes a great interest in titles, descriptions and other written language associated with art. In public art galleries the careful observer will note that many people spend more time reading the accompanying text than viewing the paintings. Appreciation of a painting seems to be enhanced by the story attached. The more detailed and graphic the story the more people are able to appreciate the painting itself.


Perhaps this is why the "monetary value" of a painting seems to have more of a direct link to the historical story rather than the visually creative quality of that particular painting. And this also offers a valid explanation as to why a forgery or exact copy of an original painting never seems to generate the same passion in the viewer once the deception is know to that viewer.

My thanks are due to Charlotte and Emma, at the Portico Library and Gallery, Manchester, for all their help in preparing my recent 'Visions of the North West' Exhibition. The exhibition runs until the 25th of June 2010. See for more details.

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