Saturday, 8 October 2016


Every picture tells a story, so it is claimed. What story do you see when you look at this painting?

'Fidelity' by Briton Riviere
What happened to the young boy that led to his imprisonment? How did he injure his arm? What is the significance of the graffiti on the cell wall? What will happen to him next? Above all, what emotions does the painting evoke?

I have a fondness for 19th century narrative art. I was brought up in Liverpool where the Walker Art Gallery, and the Lady Lever Art Gallery in nearby Port Sunlight, have an excellent selection. As a child I would examine the paintings and find myself asking those simple questions – who, why, what, where?

Story writing begins the same way. We start with the questions and then we provide the answers: introduce the characters, explain their motivation, describe the situation, identify the setting. In so doing we aim to create a credible and well-rounded plot that will evoke emotion in the reader.

My focus in Riviere's painting is the dog. He has such expressive eyes, full of concern and love. The droop of his tail indicates empathy with his master's sorrow.
I no longer have a dog of my own but provide regular doggy-day-care for those belonging to family members. Here are my three loyal and loving friends. They have already inspired some of my short stories. Do you find pictures and animals a source of inspiration?
Why is Ziggy so sad?

Who has caught Henry's attention?

What has Freddie found buried amongst the leaves?