Monday, February 2, 2015


My sister, Lydia, and I both discovered our passion and talent late in life. Really late in life. Her more so than I—she is ten years older, and she discovered her love of acrylic fine art a decade after I discovered my love for writing.
For so many years, we both had the desire to do what we believed God had gifted us with, but did nothing about it—not enough time, didn’t know how... You know the excuses. But the day came when we both decided to step onto that unknown wet sand and finally walk out on the water.

Lydia's latest piece of artwork still under construction

After years of writing, I have published my first novelette, Helsinki Sunrise, with Pelican Book Group. My second novelette in the same series, Oslo Overtures, is now in the galley edits stage and I suspect will be released mid-2015. Currently I’m working on some rewrites for a third story which I hope will then meet my editor’s requirements and be accepted for publication.

I visited my sister for the weekend on her farm about a ninety minute drive from my home. As I sat in her office uploading a blog that’s overdue, and pondering what to write for this blog, I looked around. Her beautiful paintings adorned the walls. We began to chat.
“I would love to paint,” I said, “but just don’t have the time. Besides, I don’t know how.”
Lydia explained the layers required in fine art to me. “You see those little flowers over there? There are four different layers of pink in those tiny flowers.”

I smiled. “Well, you know the words you read in my books? They’re not what they started out as.” I’ll rework the words in a manuscript until I’m certain I’ve made the best choices.
Our art forms, although vastly different, bear similarities.
  • We both need to have a picture in mind of what we want to create.
  • My sister creates pictures with paint. I create them with words.
  • She works from the very back of her picture and works outward, building layer upon layer of paint, until the perfect picture graces her canvas. I, on the other hand, do a similar thing, but in reverse. I start from the most outer part of my manuscript (my rough draft) and work in, refining and perfecting each sentence with edits, upon edits, upon edits until I have the best manuscript I can.
  • We both need to learn our art forms as both painting and writing have countless techniques.
  • We both need mentors or teachers to help us perfect our talent—she has her art teacher, I have my critique group.
  • Both painting and writing require discipline and long hours to get the painting or manuscript complete.
  • Both art forms require balance and a focal point. In a story, that balance comes in the three act structure, the focal point being your main crisis.

  • A painting and a manuscript are both messy during their work in progress. However, when a painting is complete, the artist can stand back and appreciate its beauty. The same goes for a manuscript—once the writing has been refined with unnecessary words deleted, plot holes fixed, grammar and spelling errors corrected, and cardboard characters transformed, the writer has a story ready that can be enjoyed by readers.
  • Both art forms bring pleasure to those who take the time to invest in their enjoyment, eg. the art connoisseur or even just the average person who appreciates a good painting; and the reader.
  • Both art forms bring pleasure and a sense of accomplishment to their creator—the artist and the writer.
  • Both art forms can bring honor to the Creator. 
  • Both look great with our signatures/names on them :)

Given time, my sister and I could have probably debated the similarities of our art forms  the entire weekend. But, similarities or not, each of us are satisfied with the art forms we have—she with her painting, me with my writing. When I told Lydia all that’s involved in writing and the publishing process, her response to me was, “That sounds like far too much work, for far too long. I’m glad I paint.”
As for me, I love painting my pictures with words. And my fingers and clothes at least never change color.

Permission to use images obtained.

MARION UECKERMANN's passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in WinnersThe One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter (Tyndale House Publishers), and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven, and her debut novelette, Helsinki Sunrise (White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint, Passport to Romance series). Her second Passport to Romance novelette, Oslo Overtures, will be published in 2015.

Marion blogs for International Christian Fiction Writers and Beauty for Ashes. She belongs to Christian Writers of South Africa and American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

Connect with Marion Ueckermann:
Blogs: A Pebble in my Pocket / Foreign Affaire

Helsinki Sunrise is available to purchase from Pelican Book GroupAmazonChristianbook.comand Barnes and Noble.

Watch the Helsinki Sunrise book trailer on YouTube.
Watch the Passport to Romance book trailer on YouTube.


  1. I love the art you included. You have a marvelously talented family. So glad you both found yourselves and your gifts to share with the world.

  2. This is an excellent post. I love the way you compare/contrast art with writing. The photos are beautiful. I especially love the last one with the red barn. (The farm girl in me, I suppose.) But I'm drawn to the one at the top, too. I'd love to go to that place for awhile.

  3. Thanks for sharing your sister's pictures. They are lovely. So much talent in one family!

  4. Lovely post Marion. Tell Lydia I love her paintings too!

  5. Thanks so much Marion for all the help you gave me this weekend with mom and for the times we spent with each other. I feel so honored to be featured in your blog today :-) It was fun taking a look at our different passions and comparing them. I love the title of your blog, as the art technique that I use is called Fine Art. As you already know I am one of your biggest fans and love your writing, such flair and choice of words always entertaining! Be blessed my little sister, love you more than you will ever know xxx

  6. So wonderful, Marion! Your article is spot on! Love the art, and can't wait to read your next novella! It's funny, my sister and I both left careers at high schools around the same time. She's painting and I'm trying to write. Small world.

  7. Beautiful thoughts and beautiful paintings, Marion. You are both so very talented and I loved your sharing. Your story about at last doing what you believe God gifted you with I know only too well. However, I have also discovered that it is as important to know God's timing, even waiting through what life throws at us, well as knowing His will about them. Thank you so much for this lovely post.

  8. Your description of the painting vs writing process was spot-on. I love your sister's painting, especially the last one of the barn.

  9. Thank you, Marion, for the lovely insights about writing you share here and the comparisons you make between writing and painting. Love your sister's art work!

  10. Marion, great post! I love the paintings and the creative talent in your family :)