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Artfully Said: Shoes Make the Man–And His Art

Vincent Van Gogh, Shoes, 1888. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Van Gogh’s shoes are ordinary shoes. But his painting of them is vintage Van Gogh. His brush strokes, his color choices, his lighting, his approach–all work to take an every day object and elevate it into art–in singular Van Gogh style. What if he thought shoes weren’t worth his time? Then we wouldn’t have this painting that illuminates so much about what makes the man, the artist and the art.

You can do the same thing in your writing. Use this painting as a model. Choose a favorite pair of shoes–the most comfortable, broken-in pair that you own. Toss them haphazardly by the door the way you most often leave them after taking them off. Then elevate them in your art form–language. Your word choices, your sensory observations, your details, your approach. Let your piece of writing illuminate your subject, your art and you.