by Josephine-Anne Griffiths
As a younger person, I was always the shy, quiet one in the group. This isn’t so much the case these days, if I feel safe within a group, I’ll usually find something to talk about. Until that comfort comes however, I am quiet and reserved … but I believe that’s okay. As a child, my quiet nature seemed to be a problem for others more than for me. I did become the victim of cruel bullying in and out of school, and as such began to feel that there was something wrong with me, something lacking in my personality.
One day towards the end of fourth form (called year ten these days), a sweet and caring Nun at the school I was attending, wrote in my treasured autograph book.
‘If silence be golden, then I think your thoughts must be of that variety.’
From that very moment, I felt a warm glow inside and thought how lovely it was that someone would see my quietness as an asset. I would often just sit and quietly listen and observe people. I had no idea that what I was doing had a name … ‘people watching’.
Writers over the decades and longer have used this as a technique, to draw stories out of what and who they see and hear. You’d be amazed at some of the scandalous but interesting conversations one can overhear in a café (one of my favourite places to write).
When the day came that I had no choice but to retire from full-time work, I began to take some courses in Creative Writing techniques and read a lot on the craft of writing. I continue to read as there is so much to learn. I’m certain that I’ll be learning the whole of my life. When I combined what, I was learning with my love of the written word, and entwined it with the blessed talents I had so graciously been gifted with, I found that I had a lot to say, and write about.
Many writers have applied the art of seeing a possible scenario or story within a picture or photograph. I did toy with this technique while I was an active member of the Australian Writers’ Centre Graduates Writing Group. Although my activity was short-lived due to ill health, I got the idea. They are such a lovely bunch of people, it’s a pity I couldn’t have continued … who knows, maybe one day.
It is amazing how many different stories and points of view, can emerge from one picture. Just prior to Christmas, while on a cruise to Tasmania with some members of my family, my husband and I attended an onboard art auction. We did win a couple of bids and are now impatiently awaiting their arrival. With one of those artworks, in particular, I've fallen completely in love.
~ Csaba Markus
~ Csaba Markus
I placed my preference stickers on her frame as well as another of his artworks, ‘Aurora’.
They were both so beautiful, and I knew that Leon had always wanted a tasteful semi-nude, but it was Liciana who was singing to me. She wants me to write her story.
One of the most famous paintings, let alone a portrait of a woman, is da Vinci’s 'Mona Lisa.' Markus poses the question: What is the secret to Mona Lisa being so famous?
'It is not because she is beautiful, because she is not that beautiful, and it wasn’t a big picture.' ~ Csaba Markus.
Markus took it upon himself to study the 'Mona Lisa,' as well as da Vinci’s notes to unlock the secret, and what he learned was that there was more to Mona Lisa than her smile.
'There is balance, there is grace, there is femininity,” ~ Csaba Markus
Well, now I have my story nutted out in my mind, still needing to put the words on paper. Liciana is indeed very beautiful, and yes she has something to do with that cobblestone bridge and the illuminated buildings behind it. So who is she? What happens? You'll have to read my story once it's written.
All artists, whether they be musicians, painters, photographers, or indeed writers have been given this wonderful privilege to be able to create from their own inspired imagination. Ah, but where does all this inspiration come from, you ask? It had to start somewhere.
La Liciana, like the Mona Lisa, follows you around the room with her eyes. She doesn’t let you escape. She captivates your imagination to the extent that you must do something about it. In fact, ‘La Liciana’ is often called the modern day ‘Mona Lisa’.
Markus says that there is so much bad news in the world, and he didn’t want his art to be one of the ‘bad channels’ broadcasting negativity. Instead, he always strives to give people hope and beauty. By painting his 21st century Mona Lisa’s, Markus hopes to honour his muse and put smiles on his audience’s faces.
In the same way, we writers should want to please our audience, and what better way than to be doing what we love. What do you think? Where does your inspiration come from? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.