Hello there, my friends. Today on The Joy of Painting, we’re going to try something a little bit different. For years, you’ve learned to paint with pictures, and that’s happy way to paint; but, did you know that you can also paint with words? It may sound funny, but it’s true.
In the past, you may have heard some of your teachers tell you to show and not tell when you are writing. This may be a bit confusing. When a teacher says that you are telling instead of showing, they may be pointing to a sentence like this:
Telling: The guy is tall.
There’s nothing wrong with this sentence. It has a subject (guy) and a verb (is). It even has a couple of adjectives: ...view middle of the document...
➢ Motor wheezing, engine dying, the car went to the house.
Examine the image below and follow these two steps: (1) Create a simple sentence describing the image. (2) Paint two absolutes at the beginning or end of your sentence. Write your description in the space provided on the next page.
Before you write, zoom-in close with your visual and imaginative eye. Look at the surfer’s arms, legs, and body posture. Imagine what he feels and what he thinks.
AN IMPORTANT TIP: Writers sometimes make a common error with absolutes by adding a distant image rather than focusing on the subject of the image. For example, if you created a core sentence beginning with “The surfer…” then added “Eagle flying off in the distance, the surfer…” the image of the eagle doesn’t connect with the surfer. It wouldn’t be seen as a close-up image. For maximum power with an absolute, zoom-in on close-up details—the arms, legs, face, body, and mind of the surfer.
Description 1: The Surfer
Description 2: Using a magazine, internet, or book image, create a second example of a sentence with two absolute brush strokes. Be sure to place them at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Description 3: Watch an action scene from either a movie or from a sporting event on television. Write one sentence using two absolutes to describe a film character or an athlete.
Description 4 (Bob Ross’s Favorite!!!): Picture a nature scene in your mind. Imagine the sensory details—the sounds, the smells, the feel of items you touch. Using two absolute brush strokes, write a sentence describing what you imagine.
Painting with Appositives
Painting with an appositive brush stroke is like having the chance to rename a noun more specifically. After a noun (or a noun phrase) in a basic sentence, you can add another noun (or noun phrase) and set it off with commas. For example, let’s go back to our simple sentence about the car: The car went to the house. Suppose you want to be more specific about the word car. You can zoom in on it with a pair of commas after car and insert a second image. This will describe the car in a more specific way:
The car, a Model-T Ford, went to the house.
Now the reader has more specific information about the car. However, this information is not essential to the sentence. In other words, the sentence could survive without this information.
For Description 1 on the next page, follow these two steps: (1) Examine the image of the soldier and create a basic sentence about him (The soldier…). (2) Then, zoom-in with commas after the word soldier and consider some of the nouns that might be used as a second label for soldier (Marine, father, veteran, renegade). Select a noun and build an appositive phrase by describing the noun with one or two descriptive words. For example, you might follow the word soldier with something like, “The solider, a...