We found this project enormously beneficial and extremely popular with our members. So much so that we did it again the following year, although this time, we added a devilish twist.
The results of our Duets in Paint and Print project:
- Everyone experienced a dramatic increase in their skill levels.
- All our works were hung in a local art gallery for all to see.
- In one fell swoop, every member of our writing club became a published author, with the artists also experiencing similar glory.
- Our club now has a stock of books to sell which raises funds to spend on speakers for the benefit of our members.
- Every entrant can now also buy the books at cost price to sell to book shops or through their market stalls for profit, just as any other author would.
- It increased the popularity of our club with a rise in memberships
- And it created new-found friendships.
“Lyn and I have an idea,” said Joy. “Painters and writers working together. Each painter inspired by a story or poem; each writer inspired by a painting. Then a public exhibition of the paired works.”
Each writer got a painting and each painter got a story or poem. When we met next, we were shocked not only by the quality of everyone’s works, but seeing how our stories and paintings had inspired each other.
And after seeing the public’s response to our works in the gallery, we decided to take it a step further by self-publishing our very own book. It turned out beyond our wildest dreams, worthy of not only gifting to family and friends, but to sell around the globe.
Something strange and unexpected happened – our skill levels rose to new heights. Upon reflection, we feel the reason for that was the desire to honour our partner with the best we could produce. That was the first year. The second year, with our devilish twist, our skill levels took a quantum leap.
The next year each writer started a story with just 75 words, before swapping it with another randomly picked writer to finish the story. The painters did the same with just a few brush strokes to get things started. We called it Quartets and it was a very scary challenge.
It yanked writers right out of their comfort zones forcing them to write about things they would never have considered. The results were astonishing. In fact I think it released the devil inside, for many a character met a gruesome demise. Characters whose stories began nice and sweet, had their stories twisted and turned with many killed off mercilessly. It certainly made for a very exciting club read at our next meeting with many surprised faces – lots of fun.
To be honest, I think the quality of the 350 word Quartet stories on the whole, took a dive. 350 words from the one writer, as we originally had for Duets, created a far higher quality of story. The reason I think our skills took a quantum leap is because it introduced writers to a whole new galaxy of things to write about, and new styles of writing to play with.
And with the partnering being random, we didn’t know who we would be paired with – an experienced writer or a learner, a horror writer or a fantasy writer. It was downright scary. But wonderfully exciting.
I don’t think we’ll do the Quartets with the painters again, but we’ll definitely be doing more of that within our writing club. Probably with a prompt word or subject to get the 75 story rolling.
Something a writer never experiences, is getting their works hung in a gallery. And something a painter craves, is to have their paintings hung. Well the uniqueness of our Duets project created so much interest that galleries clamoured for our works. It was very rewarding for the club members and the public loved it. And so did the gallery owners by the way.
Becoming published is every author’s dream, as it is I’m sure, for ever painter. It can happen in many ways: entering a writing competition in a magazine, submitting your story to a newspaper, self-publishing and getting published by a recognised publisher. Either way, you’re published. And so it was for every single one of our entrants.
Self-publishing our book was no easy task, but well worth it. If your club would like me to produce your book, please feel free to use the contact form to tell me all about your project. I’ll use the same template that I created for our Duets book to keep costs to a minimum.
Our club maintains stock of our Duets books with profits from sales spent on speakers for the benefit of our members. We also decided that every entrant should be able to buy the books at cost price to sell for their own profit as well, thus putting them straight into business with a quality product for book shops or through their own market stalls etc. We also encouraged them to share a little of the profit with their club if they wanted to, but it’s not mandatory.
The benefits of this project have been enormous for us all. I’d highly recommend you giving it a go. Enjoy.
For more information about our Duets in Paint and Print book, to purchase a copy for yourself or to use as an example for your club, please follow this link.