The link between visual arts and writing: Interview with guest artist Betsy Kellas!

Kellas_ copyIf you’re used to me posting something about reading and writing, you may be wondering why my guest interview today is with the visual artist Betsy Kellas. The reason? I think there’s a strong link between painting, sculpture, art installations, and written art, poetry and prose. Both use the line intensively though differently. Both intensely explore our everyday reality. And both use layering to create their effects and to add texture to a work. Here, then, is my interview with Betsy, but I urge you to visit her website and view the range of her artmaking:

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Play Day: Nurture Your Soul!

For years now, I’ve committed myself so completely to writing and marketing my work on social media and beyond that I rarely give myself a day off. All that has changed since my husband urged me to have at least one day a week when I do something different.

I didn’t need too much convincing. Since then, Sundays have become my play day. I don’t do any writing. I don’t go near social networking sites. My computer remains more or less silent except for my daily practice of recording dreams and journaling. And, of course, going to the gym is part of my Sunday ritual.


But afterward, I may read leisurely. I also head for my art table and see what attracts me there. On some days, I’ll do some collage. On others, I’ll mess around with either watercolors or acrylics. Or I might combine the two with other mediums, allowing myself to follow whatever impulse grabs me in the moment. Thus, I never know where exactly I’ll end up, and that’s part of the pleasure.

It’s also a major reason why I love writing. As with the visual arts, I have no idea where a poem, short story, or novel will end up, so each foray is an adventure into the unknown. Yet each medium offers a different result. Writing brings me closer to my more intellectual interests, expanding on my awareness of what is occupying me in any particular moment—ideas, themes, obsessions. On the other hand, the visual arts offer insight that is more difficult to articulate. I’m not interested in representational art, so much that I produce has to be interpreted: colors, lines, motions, and unexpected images arising from these efforts. Mysterious. And I love it.

I also leave time on Sundays to play the piano and sing, something I did for hours as a child, finding well-liked songs in songbooks and sheet music that occupied me for hours. Playing and singing has helped me to work out many difficult emotional moments, offering a satisfying way of expressing myself.

Having a day free from our usual activities isn’t just valuable for writers. All of us can benefit from a play day. As my husband said, make time in your week to nurture your soul. Great advice!