Creativity Cross-Pollinates

yves saint laurent vmfa
From now through August 27, 2017, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is featuring an exhibition of the work of Yves Saint Laurent, a trend-setting couturier who built a body of work unique in creativity and originality.


A whole section of the exhibit pays homage to Saint Laurent’s artistic influences, including Piet Mondrian (far right in photo above), ancient Greek vases, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Tom Wessellmann (far left in photo).


Artistic cross-pollination is everywhere. A prime example of art to music is Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is A Remembrance of Viktor Hartmann. Viktor Hartmann was an artist, architect, and designer.
Using photos as story starters for writers is a classic technique. Whole books have been based on that premise.


I’ve found the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts a fertile ground for launching stories. Several of my published stories began with VMFA exhibits: Buddha Remote, Not Mechanically Inclined, The Naked Truthand Love Me Tender.
Bottom line: Attend to non-written art and often inspiration strikes. Look at photos, art exhibits, paintings and pottery. Listen to the lyrics of songs and the emotions evoked by music. Think cross-pollination!

Consider Cross-Over Fiction

I once took a class titled “Writing Fiction Based on Works of Art,” taught by Susan Hankla at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School. I cannot share with you the great assignments from that class (those being the intellectual property of Susan Hankla) but I can discuss the concept.
Poets, musicians, painters, novelists, playwrights, sculptors—all sorts of artists—have a long history of drawing inspiration from something created in another medium. As a writer, think paintings, sculpture, architecture, music, and nature.


Several of my publications grew out Susan’s class assignments, what I am calling cross-over fiction. “The Naked Truth” started with a painting of a nude (not this one)


body image: self-portrait in bright colors


“Buddha Remote” started with a video display and “Not Mechanically Inclined,” a sculpture (also not pictured here).
Buddha Victoria & Albert
By Michel wal (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
 Woman Against the Wind sculpture
Three images of Elvis inspired “Love Me Tender.”


Not this photo of Elvis, 1954. Photographer unknown (commercial work-for-hire) derivative work: Dockino (PresleyPromo1954.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Writing cross-over fiction is a challenge and I urge you to accept it. Get thee to the VMFA, to other museums, to galleries and art shows, parks and the great outdoors. At the very least, find books of provocative images to stimulate and inspire your creativity!


UCI Road World Championships: The Beauty of Bicycles

Frankly, I never thought much about bicycles as art. When I first saw this sculpture in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, I thought, “What an odd thing to have here!” That was shortly before Race Week edged into my conscience.
bike sculpture in Ginter Park Botanical Gardens
Sculpture in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
But once I started noticing, bicycle art is—if not rampant—at least frequent. I found this one while vacationing with my family.
bike sculpture in Sculpture in Narragansett, RI
Sculpture in Narragansett, RI
And here are several you can see if you do tour Ashland—as I certainly urged you to do in my most recent blog!
two bicycles suspended from awning in Ashland, Virginia
Art in Ashland, VA
Last but not least, consider visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Beginning September 6, they will have a teaching program for children titled ArtCycle. It is interactive, allowing a virtual tour of museum holdings related to bicycle art as well as the opportunity to make art using bicycle parts. This program will be available for a time after race week. Check the VMFA calendar.

UCI Road World Championships

From the UCI Road World Championships Richmond 2015 website:

The Road World Championships (Worlds) is cycling’s pinnacle event, held annually in an international city as chosen by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) through a competitive bidding process similar to the Olympic Games.

Worlds is a nine-day event, featuring 12 Championship races for Elite Men and Women, Under 23 Men and Junior Men and Women. It is a rare opportunity for the athletes to compete for their country, just as they do during the Olympic Games.