This Is How We Love author Lisa Moore on Watercolour and Writing
Written by Lisa Moore
I started painting with watercolours again while writing This Is How We Love. I hadn’t used them since my twenties — mostly landscapes. I love how transparent a brushstroke can be. And sometimes veils of overlapping pigment can appear extra luminous. Watercolours have an immediacy. I wet the paper before using paint, brush on even lines of clear water — then touch the loaded brush to the paper so the pigment bleeds in all directions, impossible to control. The paint runs the way a river runs, or the way wind flushes through treetops or clouds float past. The exciting part is the lack of control. I love the quickness and the resulting abstraction. The shapes that occur are like the shapes in nature, forests, lakes, waves. Motion, turbulence, fluttering shadow. I like to try to compare that action — the dispersal of colour, running in all directions — to the way language works, how it seems to have a will of its own. Sometimes sentences run away from me. Sometimes (when writing is the most fun) scenes seem to occur, without my thinking them up. I don’t know what will happen until it unfolds in my mind’s eye, or ear, or gut. One of my characters rides a dirt bike through a forest path. I think of the cover painting as that path. The red in the sky appears ominous to me; it might look like the sun going down, or like a blood stain. The clean white font, designer Alysia Shewchuk’s brilliant choice, captures the lightness, the saturation and purity of love, that goes hand in hand with the darkness in this novel.