CentreStage with Kit Domino: Pen, or Paintbrush, or both?

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.

You’ll be delighted to hear that you can buy Every Step of the Way on amazon.co.uk. Why not visit Kit on her blog or her website, follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook

Over to you! Are you a budding artist as well as a writer? Or perhaps a musician? Do you find your writing cross-fertilizes other hidden talents?

22 responses to “CentreStage with Kit Domino: Pen, or Paintbrush, or both?

  1. I write and paint, so could relate to this, but I’m nowhere as good as Kit Domino, wow you are good. I love painting eyes and hearts, I can do the former really well in a few different mediums but would love to diversify. I find with both words and paint that I am at my best when I’m not pre-meditated in my actions otherwise it feels a bit self-conscious!

    I miss painting, I have a studio set up in the corner of my study but it’s in chaos lol. Gunshot Glitter has laid claim to this year, completely, but at the start of it, I did plan to take it more seriously

    For now, I’ve just been other people’s art at galleries. Next year hopefully I’ll attend a course and learn some real technique, I’d love that. x

    • Hello, Yasmin. Thanks for commenting. Fitting in painting and writing is certainly a balancing trick. If I don’t do any painting for several weeks I get really tetchy. Do try and make time for it, it’s so relaxing.

      • You know something, I hadn’t planned to, but I think you are right, it would probably be good for me. Thank you, Kit x

      • Hi Yasmin and Kit! It’s so lovely to see two of my friends spark ideas of each other right here, thank you! Yasmin–I get the painting thing, completely. I did set out, once upon a time, to study Art, LOL. And also I understand now Cee’s eye tattoo! Kit is right, if you’ve got the urge, give it some time every day. It’ll be amazing! XX Thanks for visiting and commenting. XX

  2. I know Kit well as a friend and she is extremely talented. Am very much in both awe and envy of people with more than one talent!

  3. Enjoyed this post, art being one of my ‘things’ although I don’t get much time for it these days. I saw your pictures at Tetbury Kit and they are lovely.

    Thanks ladies for a great interview.

  4. How wonderful that you have (at least) two artforms to be passionate about – painting and writing! Very enviable talents.

  5. I enjoyed that you said: Painting is a story in colour; writing a story in words – that is so lovely – and you are very talented indeed to be so creative, Kit. This was a really interesting post indeed.

    Janice xx

  6. I have an background in art and design so can really appreciate why Kit finds freedom of expression through her art so therapeutic. Like writing, it’s a way of engaging emotionally. My ‘thing’ was painting and sculpting from life. I suppose that’s what we do with our characters, sculpt and mould them, until they become fully-formed figures. I must admit I’m quite tactile and can’t pass by anything of beauty or smooth form without wanting to stroke it! Um, not witty comments please! 🙂 Love the post, ladies! xx

    • Hi Sheryl. Wow, another talented writer and artist! Love the comparison of sculpting and moulding characters in our writing. So true. Now, about this stroking of statues … 🙂

  7. Your paintings are so realistic you feel it’s almost a photograph Kit. Few can paint to that level of detail and you really have an exception talent. I still can’t get over the way you discovered it though, all those years it lay buried. A thing of beauty is a joy forever!

    • Thank you, Linn, appreciate the compliment. I just wish I could paint figures and animals and then I could really bring my paintings to life. I shall have to keep practising. 🙂

  8. Pingback: My Next Big Thing | Kit Domino

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