Exercise – Building a Story

  • Choose a picture (either find or create one of your own or choose one from the website)
  • Identity a series of smaller frames within the picture that you can use to create a new story
  • Place your new images in order and accompany them with notes outlining your new story
  • Upload your image sequence to your blog.


When you look at a wide angle painting packed full of action it can stand on it’s own as a powerful image but you can also glean stories from smaller details inside the picture.

I searched for some images on google from the Renaissance period and found this painting, detail here. It’s packed full of colourful imagery, people and a nice perspective of characters. When I had finished writing up this article I read about the painting and discovered it was a religious painting of Jesus offering up the keys to St Peter. My story is completely different as I was supposed to create my own.delivery-of-the-keys-to-saint-peter-3915

Going deeper into the image I chose three scenes and created a story surrounding them.


Pablo gazed around the crowd of people, his eyes dancing across each person, singling each one out and then discarding their image without a thought. Heart fluttering he glanced quickly at his wife who was deep in prayer. Surreptitiously he continued scanning the crowd.

“Excuse me,” a gentle voice said. It sounded like the first note of the dawn chorus, so pure and beautiful. Unlike his own wife’s harsh call that sounded like the rasping croak of a raven. He swallowed hard and gazed lovingly at the woman who had spoken.

“Lady Catherine,” he stammered, “I didn’t expect to see you soon.”
“But surely you hoped.” she purred.

Pablo glanced panicked at his wife but she was oblivious to the meeting.

Catherine held her heart, “I miss you so much . I’m so lonely at night.”

“Silence, someone will hear.” He glanced around nervously and spotted a young man watching him carefully. His red hat resting upon a flood of curls. Pablo smiled nervously but the man stared stoicly.

delivery-of-the-keys-to-saint-peter-3915 (1).jpg

Further along the thrum of people Bastian stared at the man in front of him. To think such carnage was going to break lose in such a peaceful setting. No one had no idea what was going to happen in just a few moments. The man in front seemed oblivious, the fool even had a smile twitching his lips.

His son, Klaus glanced at him nervously, “Are you sure we have to do this. Do so many innocent people have to die.”

Bastian shot him a look that plunged into Klaus like a dagger, “Don’t start backing out now you skinny legged coward! Remember if you back out, there will be no-one to protect you anymore. Do you want to be caught up in this carnage.”

Klaus remained quiet and stared at his Father. How such a cruel and heartless man could be his kin Klaus didn’t know. He’d been dragged into all this by blackmail and violence. He’d done things he could never forgive himself for. He’d much rather have spent his life as a humble farmer, ploughing the fields, whistling to the birds and the animals, but no here he was standing, about to turn this peaceful setting into a place history would never forget.

He scanned the crowd, his fiancee, Lady Catherine was already fawning over some man.  He set his jaw, maybe he didn’t resent revenge, quite so much. Pablo wouldn’t be smiling later that day.

He glanced over at his sister, Marie, it was because of her all of this and she couldn’t have cared less, oblivious and lost in another dreamy discussion. Half the time he didn’t know what language was pouring out of her mouth, all talks of prophecy’s and predictions, he didn’t believe a word of it. Though she had predicted this day as being one none would forget. And that was true.

delivery-of-the-keys-to-saint-peter-3915 (2).jpg

“And so you see, I closed my eyes and saw a bird,” Marie said in her dreamy voice and then, when I opened my eyes, what did I see.”

“A bird,” Sven said struggling to hold back a yawn.

“Yes!” Marie stared at him, “You have the sight too!”

“No, just eyes.”

Marie just smiled, “The strange thing was this bird was a raven. Just like my dream. And you know what they mean.”
“Death and destruction. You said that last week and it was a godforsaken blackbird.”

“Yes, but this time, it’s different. I know it is. Something very bad is going to happen.”

“Why must you always speak such dire and grim words. Why can’t we just enjoy a trip just once!”

Marie remained lost in her world, “Mark my words, by the time the clock strikes the second hour. Everything will change.



This was a really interesting exercise, one in which I throughly enjoyed. I gleaned a lot of information taking small chunks of the painting and devising a plot myself.


2 thoughts on “Exercise – Building a Story

  1. I really enjoyed reading your ideas to tell the three separate incidents to imagined happening within the picture. The secret liason between the man and Lady Catherine ( particularly poignant for me as my girlfriend is called Catherine! ) that had occurred beforehand and that he was nervous being so close to both her and his wife in the same place…excellent. I particularly enjoyed the link between this scene and that of Klaus by making Catherine his fiance, I do believe was a perfect idea, setting him to task to accept the horror that was about to come.

    Liked by 1 person

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