Libraries or art galleries?

by admin on 17 March 2018

Where are the best sources of stories for storytellers? No doubt we each have our favourites.

Are they libraries?

Or are they art galleries?

Personally, I find galleries can offer more stories than Aesop, Lamb, and all the others put together.

All you must do is look for them, winkle them out, and invite them to tell.

They can be found hiding around every corner.

They can be found in the glare of spotlights, and hiding from natural light in darkened rooms.

They are found locked away behind glass, unable to feel the air like they once did.

They can be seen high on walls, open to 360-degree scrutiny, unable to have any privacy and yet they go unnoticed.

They are all fixed, immovable, hung on walls by heavy chains. They are unable to stretch their legs, unable to exercise and unable to communicate with the people who have come to see them.

They range from pictures so small you wear them as a brooch, to canvasses so vast they can show hundreds of people and vast mountain ranges.

They are caught in mediums varying from brash bold colours in oils to the faintest, most delicate pencil lines.

Our duty as storytellers is to seek them out, to release them, to let them spread their wings and fly into the air and sun, where they first took root.

The picture may be nothing more than a brooch sized silhouette. But who was the subject, who was the recipient of this love token? What was their story?
It may be a simple portrait by an unattributed artist. Who was the sitter, why had he commissioned it? How was he feeling that morning whilst sitting, proud he could afford to have a portrait done? Was he bored with the process? Who or what was he thinking of. How was the artist? Bored with the client? Cross with his wife for burning the bacon that morning?

Take Mr and Mrs Andrews pictured above by Gainsborough.
What’s their story? Are they a happy couple? Why is the sky so dark over him and their house? What is he frowning about and what is she smiling about? Is the dog just being obedient? What’s he done so wrong that he has such pleading in his eyes? Why are their children hiding under her dress?

So many things to build a story around.
So many other pictures, and so many other stories.

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