The Exercise: Today we’ll try our hand at a more traditional ekphrastic exercise: a series of timed observations and free writes.
Set a timer for two minutes and observe the artwork — in this case, Margritte’s “Time Transfixed”. Feel free to zoom in and out, but try to keep your eyes and mind on the painting for all two minutes. This is pure observation, so no need to begin writing yet.
Take two more minutes to write down a literal description of the painting. You can use full sentences or make a sort of list — however it emerges is just fine. Do try to be literal: i.e. describe the objects, colors, etc. You can look back at the painting to confirm your details as you like.
You guessed it! Another two-minute observation. This time, try to notice how you’re feeling as you look at the artwork. Do any particular details of the piece bring up different emotions than others? What aspect the painting seems to draw your attention most powerfully? Feel free to take notes as you go.
Write a one-page autobiography for your house (i.e. write about the life of your house in the first person. “I was born in 1887 on a foundation of four stolen railroad ties….”). Feel free make it fiction (make it up) and to bring in the emotions and attention to physical detail from steps one and two. Please share your writings below!