art-creativity, Human Nature

The fine art of knowing what to leave out

The Morning Glories and the Piglets are Out" painting by Je' Czaja

The Morning Glories and the Piglets are Out”
painting by Je’ Czaja

Mark Twain once wrote a friend, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one.” Knowing what to leave out, boiling a thing down to its essence-that is the challenge. How to say a thing as simply as possible? This approach is sort of the opposite to economists, who are accused of “obfuscating,” (the meaning of which is unclear to me. 🙂

Yesterday I posted “Surprised by Dogs Long Dead” about a painting I have been working on for the next Magic Barn. What I want  to express in the painting is that the piglets were appealing, smart, very naughty and good luck to you trying to make them behave. I think they were like humans in these ways; at least like natural, un-programmed humans (aka kids.)

Good luck to you trying to make them behave.

The painting I posted yesterday was a failure, of course. I had been working on this subject for over 40 hours and they were all failures. I was taking the folk art, literal, chronicle-type approach: “Let’s see we had ten piglets, two dogs, five hens…” Just like an economist, minus the jargon. Didn’t work. What must I pare this down to before the message is clear?

You be the judge! There is yesterday’s folk art, today’s 1. “Morning Glories and the Piglets are out”  2. a vignette of a few sly piglets, or how about just the 3.two ringleaders?

Escaped piglets-vignette of painting

Escaped piglets-vignette of painting



About Je' Czaja aka Granny Savage

Je' is a writer, artist, and stand up philosopher. She founded and directed two non-profit organizations for disadvantaged children and their families, served as a missionary for three years, is the author of several books and teaches art. Twitter: @jeczaja FB: Amazon Author page:


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