Brief Freewrite on Sargent Painting

The following is a freewrite exercise I assigned to my English 6363: Composition Studies graduate class the other night.  I asked them to look at the painting and freewrite for about 5 minutes.  The exercise was in response to reading we were doing in Peter Elbow’s Everyone Can Write.  I wrote along with them.

I use this painting in my classes to introduce the notion of reading visual language.  I used it in my English 1302  class and I used it yesterday in a class I guest taught at Central today.  I like this painting because it is simple yet complex.  I think it works with classes because studetns are pretty keen on visuals and because it’s not all that strange even thoguh its from a century pretty unfamilary to us.  I like that it contains weomen or gilrs I like that i’m not always dyslexic or that my writing is most of the times more clear than this, i’m finding that i’m using the backspace and correctly my self too much rather than just moving forward freewriting is more difficulty to do it takes a different kind of concentration than i’m used to mbecause i’m so so selfcorrecting as I type which is ok I get bu ti does interfere with the onslaought of freewriting that i’d like to get better at.  so back to the painting.  the little firl in the front frominds me of my daughter Myra and the birl of the left reminds me of my daughter sonoma and the firls in the back remind me of sonoma again.  the vaeses are reminischent of the smocks white dresses in shape the smocks also of innocences even thought the oldest maybe ain’t so much given her leaning which i take to be rebellious I guess.  who leans on a vase like that?  and of course she’s resisting the gaze of the viewer while the others seem either more innocent or just there.  and then there’s that doll on the floor with the youngest who’s almost a doll herself.

Reflection: like I said in the freewrite, this was not what I was used to, but I did like it.  I came to ideas I hadn’t thought of before even though I’ve used this painting in my classes and in presentations several times.  I think freewriting may be most productive for me if I turn off the monitor and not let my vision interfere with my thinking and writing.