Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A word about words

If you like to use words in your art, I really, really encourage you to look for words that have meaning to you and compile them in a little notebook.

It's a little jading to see the same handful of words used over and over again when a language is full to brimming with so many interesting and beautiful terms. A handful of words have been so overused that, in my opinion, their meaning has become diluted if not lost.... words like: dream, believe, fly.

Go to your library and pull out some poetry books. Let your eye tease out words that speak to you, attract you. Dip into your own books, look for words that leap off the page. It's a very personal thing. That's how I do it.

There are words in other languages (you don't have to speak them) that resonate, and I usually come across them through music. Through Brazilian music, which I've always loved, I got saudade: it's a Portuguese term that describes the nostalgia of happy times past. It's pronounced differently from the way it's written and it sounds soft, almost heartbreaking. Madrugada (the dawn) is another word I love.

So, do dream and fly, but don't forget the myriad words that can make you dream and fly....


  1. Madrugada is also one of my favorite words. It just washes over you when you say it, doesn't it? I've begun keeping a notebook just recently. It was getting a little difficult keeping track of so many little pieces of paper!!! I love having everything in one place.

  2. Great advice Colette. I must admit I find myself a bit predictable when I occasionally add words to my pictures, but as you say, there is such a wealth of beauty in all languages. I do keep favourite phrases and words and poem quotes in a little book, and have done for many years. I will definitely try to incorporate more in my artwork in future.

  3. Anonymous10:23 a.m.

    So nice to know that I am not the only one that finds a few words repeated over and over in art jading. One can only see "Dream" used so many times without recognizing that it's true meaning fades a bit through constant, clumsy execution. I have been re-reading a favorite quote book by Brown, "Life's Instructions for Wisdom, Success and Happiness" and will be posting more of my favorite quotes from this book myself. They transform my thinking, and I never get tired of the power of the simple quotes within.

    Blessings ~ Eileen @ Star's Fault

  4. Once again we are on the same wavelength. I have a couple of handwritten journals of quotations but I love the idea of a journal of words. It just so happens my son and his girlfriend gave me a blank journal for mum's day. I think I shall use it for this :-)

  5. Anonymous8:48 a.m.

    I have been struggling with this, wanting to use words in my work, but feeling awkward about it. This is great advice which might get me started, thanks!

  6. Oh collette, you are so right.

    and saudade is one of my favourite words, right next to duende. they are both words that we can describe in english but not fully because there isn't an equivalent in english.

    and so funny about italian, i do the same, but only the other way around!

    birds of a feather, and yes, next time we go on a road trip antique mission, i will let you know!


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