feather art–dVerse Poetics

I’m hosting for Tuesday’s dVerse Poetics and am looking for poetry about feathers. Please join us with a poem of your own.

Photo: V. Ceretto

Photo: V. Ceretto


feather art

she would paint feathers, she told me,
would spend her days waiting
for feathers fluttering to earth
borne on gentle zephyrs
feathers fallen to the ground
those scattered by a bird of prey
the bodies of a sparrow or a wren

she chooses brushes carefully
(the finest sables) or a nib
she’d load with color or with ink
to focus on delicate detail
outlining veins and every plume
the clash of color line and shape

for feathers are what makes a bird a bird,
she says, and wonders why the jays glow blue
and orioles gold and how to capture iridescence
such glorious structures fractal-ly complex

her studio’s awash in brilliant quills
exotic colors luminous light
collected on the beach and desert floors
some in the mountain heights on trails
and in her garden bed beneath the trees

her work is like a prayer, she says,
a mystical mandala journey to within
she dips her pen into the very heart
of our creation’s source, and recreates
the energy that throbs beneath
the skin of every living being

Image: Public Domain

Image: Public Domain



Photography 101: Color and Architecture

Earlier in the week, I was at the wheel all day and it’s just not safe to drive and blog. So here are two of the prompts I missed: A Pop of Color: Here the idea is to offer a dollop of color against a neutral background. The first is a golden hued street light against a gray November twilight:

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Have you ever seen a yellow headed crow? This was my first encounter on a golf course here in Reno.

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

Architecture: I already posted the best Architecture shot I had, but may bring it to this prompt as well. Notice the geometric lines. Contrast the sleek lines of the large casino in Reno, the roundness of the National Bowling Stadium, and the more garish designs of the Cathedral in the foreground.

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

And finally, an evening shot of our front door–a simple play of arch and stained glass.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Color My Mood–Monday Meanderings

Image: silkhlens.com

Image: silkhlens.com

(Note: If you’re looking for The Sunday Whirl, find it here.)

As a would-be artist and a former museum docent, I enjoy playing with the elements of art in my writing–both in fiction and poetry. A favorite is to use color to create mood. In art, abstract expressionists often use color as the primary tool to convey their “story.” There are many interpretations of the meaning or symbolism accorded to each color. I’m offering a few of my own:

Yellow is a happy color and can be used to liven up a scene–to make it joyful, while Red signifies anger, passion, love. Think about it: when you’re feeling intense emotions, such as rage and close your eyes, sometimes your visual field appears red.

Blue and Green convey calm and  peace.

Black represents the unknown or fear while Brown is a grounded, earthy color.

Violet or Lavender speak of spirituality while White is used to represent truth and innocence.

I’m including a short description from my novel, “Winter is Past,” that strives to convey a mood using color.

In the dim light, the church, clothed in red, marked the joyous season of Pentecost. The altar was covered in an abundance of flowers—gold, yellow, orange and red gladioli—tongues of flame marking the climax of the Pascal season. Helene’s mood, however, was somber, spiraling into blackness. The red surrounding her spoke to her of blood and death—the death of her spirit. She suppressed a sob…

Do you have an example from your own writing you would like to share? How do you see color as it influences mood? Join in, using Mr Linky at the bottom of this post, or comments, if you prefer.

Happy Hour--Mixed Media--V. Slotto

Happy Hour–Mixed Media–V. Slotto

Painting Life–Poetry Potluck

Francois Detaille ok 0076

Image via Wikipedia

Painting Life

Were you to draw this life in black and white,
the lines would then be hard and not forgive—
no subtle shades to ease the journey’s plight.

With color’s tones and even tones of gray
the world assumes her nuances of grace—
the lights and shadows of our every day.

So you surrender paint and page and hand
unto the artful muse who lurks inside,
allowing her to guide your thought and pen.

You smear the brightest orange with yellow
taste the sweet scent of the fair Scotch Broom
and forge in black the loamy earth below.

Now play with texture to confuse one’s sense
and add perspective, draw the viewer in.
Create illusion to obscure pretense.

You will take risks when you engage in art,
allow your soul to bleed on canvas bare.
Be sure you understand this ere you start.

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck where the theme for this week is ART!  http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–the Artist in You

Image: Kindness of Anna Cervova

One of the things that I marvel at during this time of the year is the abundance of color that adorns nature. Summer makes me want to grab my paints and portable easel and drag myself out into nature to capture the moment. It seems I rarely do, perhaps because of inconvenience or downright laziness, but I often pull out my palette of words and pen down some colorful poetry.

For today’s prompt, I’d like to you put on the mind, if not the smock of an artist and paint a word picture, lavishing color, shape, perspective, texture, mood–whatever artistic tool speaks to you.

Please link your masterpiece in the comment section of this blog and remember, I don’t believe in deadlines for these prompts, so do it whenever you can and have fun with it. And if you are a visual artist and care to share your work, have at it!

You may have already seen this poem…I think I posted it a while back:

The State of Color 

When blue ripped a hole

in gray clouds,

the trumpet vine blared

blasts of yellow

and orange poppies

from the Orient

stretched wide

thirsty maws,

to consume rainbows

of dew.


Several Ways of Looking at Domination–Poetry Potluck

Former home of the noted American poet Wallace...

Image via Wikipedia

several ways of looking at domination

i saw two wrens
attack a jay
the urge to protect
overpowers strength

in summer
green prevails
abundant charm

but in winter
green gives way
to brown
to gray
to white

the one who rules
is really subject
to another
we call it

it is a fearsome
polis who rdetermine our fate
cannot control
their weiners

red, not black
dominates color
(sorry, Wallace)*
pulses energy

if it is true
that we create god
in our own image
who’s in charge?

*The form of this poem is inspired by poet Wallace Stevens. This stanza is a response to his poem, The Domination of Black.

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/ for this week’s theme of Dictatorship, Autocracy, and Despotism

The image is of Wallace Steven’s Connecticut home.

The State of Color–One Shot Poetry


The State of Color  


 When blue ripped a hole
in gray clouds,
the trumpet vine blared
blasts of yellow
and orange poppies
from the Orient
stretched wide
thirsty maws,
to consume rainbows
of dew.

Submitted to One Shot Wednesday: http://onestoppoetry.com/

Photo: V.Slotto-Palm Desert, CA 2010

Photo: Victoria Slotto--Palm Desert CA 2010

“B” is for Bougainvillea

Three colors of bougainvillea adorn a fence in...

Image via Wikipedia

Submitted to Leonnyes Z to A Challenge:  http://leonnyes.wordpress.com/ and to Jingle’s Poetry Rally (December 2, 2010): http://thursdaypoetsrallypoetry.wordpress.com/  

I must confess to a bit of poetic burn-out this morning, so I’ve reverted to a poem I wrote last winter during our stay in Palm Desert. Bougainvillea don’t grow here in Reno and certainly not in the snowy cold weather we’re experiencing right now but they are abundant down in the desert.


when you’re aware,
life hurls its beauty
in your face.

Nature you know
so well
comes of age in
her seduction.

Color mounts
surrounding walls,
invades the senses with
its brilliance,

fondles, tantalizes,
coaxes you till you
understand her message,

her loveliness into
your hands
so you will
linger for awhile.

Wordsmith Wednesday–Artistry and Writing

I spent a good part of the morning at the museum, preparing for a tour on Friday for 4th graders. The feature exhibit is Chester Arnold, a contemporary California environmental artist. In the center of the gallery is a display of the tools Arnold uses to create his work: palettes, oils, brushes–all the implements of painters. I like to ask the children what kind of tools artists use. When they’ve replied as expected, I take it a step further and discuss the elements and principles of art such as color, line, shape, texture… As I was thinking about my tour strategy, the thought came to mind that, as writers, we employ some of these same tools to give depth, perspective, unity and beauty to our art. Here are a few (only a few) to consider:

  • Balance–how do you achieve balance in writing? In fiction, it’s important to consider variations of moods, pacing, narrative and dialogue. For example, if you are writing a thriller, give the reader a chance to catch his breath now and again. This can be done by using pacing techniques. Ramp up the intensity by using short sentences, fast-paced action then ease up and throw in a little scene of description or reflection. Balance dialogue with narrative. Too much of either overwhelms (or underwhelms.)
  • Color–yes, color. Bring color into descriptions but also into character. When I wrote the first draft of my first novel all the characters resembled one another and they were boring (probably because they were all like me!) Give those people inhabiting your pages flaws, tics, obsessions, cultural variations–whatever it takes to distinguish them one from another. I find it helpful to think of people I know and to use the Myers-Briggs when developing personalities. (You may want to refer to my previous post on Myers-Briggs).
  • Perspective. Add depth to your characters and story by subtly including background reference. This can be done by careful inclusion of flashbacks or in the course of conversations. Be careful not to take the reader out of the story, though. Another way to add perspective is by judicious use of point of view. Many writers advise staying in a single viewpoint. If that suits you, be sure to choose the character and the person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) that best suits your story. I like to shift points of view, usually keeping it to two or three maximum, with the protagonist maintaining center stage. If you do choose multiple points of view, be careful to differentiate by chapter or scene changes. Don’t confuse the reader.

I could go on and on, using the tools of art as a metaphor for writing, and perhaps I will in another post. I hope these considerations are helpful to you. I invite you to think about how they can be applied to poetry as well as fiction.

Myers-Briggs Post: https://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/character-development/