Is Writing an Art?

La Maison du pendu by Paul Cézanne

Google points out this morning that the French artist Paul Cézanne would be 172 today. Happy Birthday, Paul! Cézanne was a Post-Impressionist painter who “used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that built up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature.” (Wikipedia)

It has my brain tossing around ideas about writing and art. At times (long ago) I painted – mostly landscapes and still life in oils. I’ve also muddled with clay, creating sculpture and pottery. I don’t consider myself an artist, but I find it difficult to unearth an adequate definition of either art or an artist. The Encyclopedia Britannica suggests “Art is the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others,” but that tells only how it’s done rather than what it is.

During the Renaissance, “art” meant painting, sculpture, and architecture, and later also music and poetry… the basis of what was known as the ‘Fine Arts’. What elevated specific pieces above being mere craft, however, was the element of inspiration.

Some of my family members use brushes and colour, music, words and wood to create beauty. I consider them very artistic. When I visit the sites of Ann Voskamp and Sandra Heska King, to single out just a couple favourite blogs, I see original photography combined with words, both poetry and prose, that satisfies my personal interpretation of art.

But not every writer creates poetry. What of novel writing? Is it art? As novelists we yearn for the inspiration to create words that emotionally move our readers. If we succeed, have we created art?

Too many questions! It must be time for my morning coffee — my brain needs a shot of caffeine. Grab a cup and join in the conversation. What’s your opinion on novel writing as an art form?

Update: Not to ignore literary figures… today is also the birthday of American writer, poet, editor and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849), so Happy Birthday, Edgar!