Welcome to CentreStage!
CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might share with you stories about their writing, their books or their lives… or anything else that takes their fancy. Each feature is different, and we are never bored here on CentreStage.
Today, we are rockin’ and rollin’ with fellow loveahappyending.com author and editor, Kit Domino. Go on, Kit, paint us a picture of how you work…
With Pen or Paintbrush? It Doesn’t Matter Which I Hold
As many of you know, as well as being an author, I am an acrylic artist. This is a fairly new departure for me, something I only took up four or five years ago and came to quite by chance whilst on a writers’ holiday in Fishguard, Wales, with a friend. The tutor who was scheduled to host our course fell ill, and a replacement stood in. Disappointed, as we both were keen to hear the intended tutor, my friend and I made the snap decision to jump ship and take the art workshop instead.
Wow, that’s radical, and unexpected. How come?
I’d always had an interest in art and painting, and though dabbled many times with watercolours, never got on at all with them. The art teacher at Fishguard introduced me to acrylics, and with that first sweep of the brush, I had found my medium and haven’t looked back since. I’ve been lucky in having sold quite a few paintings, some selling abroad thus allowing me the epithet of “international artist”, and recently at my first “public” exhibition, at the Loveahappyending.com Summer Audience in June, I sold a further two pieces – something I’m told by the experts is rare to happen at a first showing.]
Congratulations, that’s amazing, Kit. It’s wonderful to see your passion blossoming into success, but tell us: what drives you to put brush to paper rather than pen?
So why do I paint? Many have asked whether I prefer art to writing or which would I rather be doing. The answer is simple. I love both, neither taking preference over the other. I write because I enjoy doing it, and I paint because I’ve found I can. Painting is also very relaxing and, like a book, find I can lose myself within it, become totally absorbed to the exclusion of all else, and indulge and explore my own little world.
How do the two art forms compare?
Painting is a lot like writing. It’s creative and allows you to use and stretch your imagination and create places that may not necessarily exist but given just the right amount of detail can appear very real indeed. Bits you do not like in a landscape or image, you can leave out when interpreting the scene onto canvas, just as when you are employing a real place in your writing, you can invent streets or houses along with the people who live there. Tweak the truth and reality.
And like writing, sometimes I find myself staring at a blank piece of paper or canvas, wondering what on Earth I am going to paint. But that feeling never lasts long. Thankfully. Not everything I paint is good; I’ve done some pretty awful works, just the same as some of my writing is fit only for ripping up and burning.
Where or when do you get your ideas, Kit?
When I began writing novels way back in the – well, let’s leave it as “way back” – I found I became more observant of everything going on around me. I would eavesdrop conversations in restaurants and on buses, sit back and people watch, make notes. As a writer you see and hear things in everyday life people who do not write would never notice. The same is also true now that I paint. I am far more aware of shapes and colour and, surprisingly, of shadows. It’s shadows and the dark places that give depth in a paintings, that give it realism, and that is just as true when writing. It’s the little background snippets that give life to a story. Painting is a story in colour; writing a story in words.
That’s so beautifully said. I hear you’ve won a competition, but not in the way you’d expect?
I still find it amusing that I won my first painting competition shortly after I took up acrylics: not by painting a picture, but by writing why I wanted a particular set of new paints that had just been introduced. I haven’t yet won any writing competitions, although I have come close. Not that it matters. For me, the doing it is the fun part. The mixing and weaving of intricate plot lines, creating my world on paper. Sometimes the results surprise me, occasionally a masterpiece emerges, that sublime order of words and dialogue that tugs at the heart or the stunning, visually pleasing tree or flower that bends in the imaginary wind in just the right way. That is what makes it all worthwhile. The rest is just icing on the cake.
What a fascinating interview, Kit: thank you for sharing your passion for writing and painting with us today. I love the parallels you draw and the differences that you highlight. You are an all-round artist! Tell us more about yourself, though: let’s have the official blurb!
Kit Domino is the author of Every Step of the Way, a 1950s story of the struggles of a teenager left to cope alone with her baby sister following the death of her mother as a result of the Great Smog of London in 1952. It is full of the social history of those times.