Playing with Words in Art

February 3rd, 2009

sketchbook swap blah I decided to play with words in art last night as I watched some of the Super Bowl with the hubster.

I used a moleskine that I'm drawing in as part of a sketchbook swap and drew in a few pages just to see what might come up if I drew. The first drawing was inspired by the slouchy pose my husband was making at one point in the evening. I imagined the buzz of thoughts running through his head, all leaking out and landing neatly in a nearby fishbowl.

I sometimes enjoy writing what I imagine the figures are thinking about in my art, like I did in my "Subway Stories" paintings, in which I collaged Subway maps and train schedules, painted a subway scene over that in acrylic and then within the figures I drew what I imagined they were thinking about. "Subway Stories: Green Line" is below. (The original is sold, but you can buy prints of it here.) I'm doing a commissioned Subway Stories painting for someone who met their soon to be husband on the train. So sweet. I usually think of art as a way to express what I can't say verbally. I suppose words in art are just another way to tell the story.

subway stories green line

Another page from my sketchbook swap moleskine. More words, this time just the action itself, "jump!" I seem to have a thing for striped tights at the moment.

sketchbook swap jump

Looking for more word inspiration? Well, I've got loads of it!

  • Ms. Dawn Doran from The Knitting Gnome blog emailed to let me know about this cool art and writing collaboration called Spark, art from writing: writing from art. Here are the details from organizer, Amy Souza: The next artistic/literary exchange starts on Feb 13th; ends Feb 22nd. Again, pick 2 days (48 hours) in which to work. They don’t have to be contiguous. You send your inspiration piece to your partner (and Amy) by the 13th; send me finished work by the 22nd/23rd. The theme this time is “hope.” Not sure how it’ll work out, but if you have an inspiration piece that says “hope” to you, send that to your partner. If not, just send her whatever you want. But I’m asking everyone to look at their partner’s work through the lens of “hope.” Again, it’s so vague, you can define it how you want, and if nothing comes to you through that lens then forget it and just let the piece inspire you. You need to let Amy know if you're interested in participating by this Friday, February 6th, by contacting her at or get more info on her site here.
  • Blogger, Writer, and Massage Therapist, Heidi Fischbach is offering A Month of Living Curiously, a month of inspiration and guidance via email sure to spark your creativity through the wonder of words. Check out all the details here!
  • I loved reading the written responses to my painting at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose yesterday! Laura mentioned this in the comments, but I wanted to be sure that everyone knows that she is always accepting submissions from artists. What a wonderful way to collaborate and join the creative energies of visual art and the written word!

13 Responses

I love the subway piece. How delightful that romance was found on the T. It goes to show that love can be found anywhere! The words in the background and the words in their bodies are all so interesting. They pull me in and I want to read them.

Striped leggin’s are very charming ~ I can see why you are fascinated by them. I love the swirls and the cat. The cat reminds me of how I would draw them as a young girl. You know I have drawn a cat in ages. Hmmmm I think I’ll doodle one while at work today. {wink}

I love looking at your journal pages: they really express your sense of playfulness. I nominated you for an award over at my blog…

I love your words in art. I used to use them all the time but I stopped for some reason. Now I think I’ll have fun with starting it up again.

Another way I’m playing with words is in my group writing project. It’s fun. We take turns adding episodes to the story, also using pictures or videos. My compatriots are getting on my to add my flying girl to this chapter somewhere.

It’s not like writing a novel where you have ownership and responsibility over everything. With this group story, you have to let go of control and go with what the story turns into.

If anyone would like to join, we seem to have lost some participants with the new year, so email me at rowena dot murillo at gmail dot com and you too can play!

Oh – the Subway Series…have I mentioned they’re my favorite?! Magical. And so innovative! I’m so happy to see one in your calendar this year. Love all the links you are providing. Can’t imagine the hours it takesyou to put this together for us and keep up with who’s doing what. Thanks so much for all your creative energy that creates creative spaces for the rest of us!

I love the theme for this month!!! I can’t wait to get started with it. Great sketches!!!

Thanks Leah! Hope you’ll be in the art & writing project too!

thanks leah for the pictures,poetry,prose link–I sent her some of my artwork and she is going to use it! –that made my day…;-)

love the subway series one…

Love the “Word” pieces.
Finally had a chance to blog today so have included two of my word art. Have two other pieces started and am hoping to finish them tonight.
Love the idea of keeping “Play” as part of the CED themes. Though as you can see I need no encouragement to Play…:-)

Great stuff!

Peace & Love.

I’ve just bought a Moleskine Sketchbook in order to try draw a little. I’ve never drew in my life, even at school. Learning how to draw and express my emotions by art is one of my goals to this year. I hope I’ll learn a lot here at your blog, because you and your art are so inspirational.
Thank you!

hi leah!
your moleskin is fabulous and i LOVE your subway series!
:) melissa

I love the subway piece, and also the first one posted. I really like words in art pieces…

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