Why Paint? Why Write?
.... by Bill Hudson
Excitement and fulfillment begin at the edge of our comfort zone. Accepting a worthy challenge and risking the outcome...win or lose, we usually come out a better person for having tried. For me, both painting and writing provide that challenge along with the thrill of reliving great memories while producing new ones.
Memories are the motivation and guidance to live a good life. Scientists tell us memories come in stages beginning as involuntary sensory memories such as a quick visual or sound recognition while walking through the woods. These are mentally dismissed within a second or two.
Short-term memories, however, are intentional, allowing us to retain information such as a phone number for about 30 seconds until we get it written down.
Long-term memories generally fall into three categories: procedural, semantic, or episodic.
(1) Procedural memories are unconscious and automatically recalled. Common examples are riding a bike or throwing a baseball.
(2) Semantic memories are general knowledge such as facts or words that require conscious effort to recall.
(3) Episodic memories are events that also require conscious recall. These memories can include the senses (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch) as well as our thoughts during the occurrence. Episodic memories are frequently the stimulus for producing fine art and literature.
My studio contains thousands of reference photographs. For candidate compositions, I often take 10 or more photographs to record the setting and mood. These would include closeups of the subject(s) and distance shots to record the sky and light sources. Sometimes I go a step further and use photo apps to manipulate saturation, hue, contrast, and brightness of reference photographs to further explore variations of the subject.
As I begin each painting, my memory relives the wonder I felt at the scene as in “God Is Great” shown above. With each brushstroke, I hope to honor the Creator of such majesty. Often while painting a maritime scene, my mind happily wanders off to childhood memories like crabbing in my rowboat on the Chincoteague Bay in Greenbackville, Virginia. In the background, I may have the Beach Boys or Chuck Berry playing on Pandora. It keeps me loose.
While writing my memoir, Setting Life's Course, I discovered how deep and detailed episodic memories are. Putting thoughts into words on paper forces prolonged concentration. To my amazement, the writing process, in turn, surfaces deeper nearly-forgotten memories. While writing, I have no background music to distract my focus. Completing a book was a thoroughly enjoyable project that brought me closer to old friends and family while making new friends along the way.
Thank You !
I want to thank each of you who purchased and read my recently published book. A special thank you to those who provided reviews and recommendations. It has been received well and is available as either a paperback or eBook on Amazon.com.