"Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend."
— John Singer Sargent
1859 - 1925
How often have you painted a portrait of a friend and lost his friendship? Have you ever included a friend in a novel you wrote? Writers and artists often include their friends in their creative works. In a novel I wrote, the main character was a composite of two older men that I knew. Imaginative fiction often has its roots in reality. Ask any writer who is honest with himself. Artists need people to sit for them and often these are friends. Sometimes these friends are not happy with the portrait painted of them, either visually or verbally.
Where do you find the people who sit for your portraits? Children? Spouse? Friends? Strangers? Cousins? Business Partners? Lovers? Where do you find the characters in your novels? Bosses? Enemies? Competitors? Neighbors? Peers? Yourself?
Writers are often asked how many of their novels and stories are autobiographical. And the answer, if given, will very from story to story and character to character? Readers connected to the author often play the game of guessing who is who. The bottom-line is that creative leaders make use of their lives to help create their stories and paint their portraits and that is acceptable.
In a world where memoirs have become a dominant art form, the flip side is also true. Writers often use their imagination to expand and enhance their personal stories to make them more entertaining. Some have called this lying and unethical. Others find it acceptable to marry reality and imagination. What do you think?
|Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood|