If a picture paints a thousand words,
then why can’t I paint you?
The words would never show,
the you I’ve come to know . . .

David Gates – Bread

David Gates beautiful, expressive and memorable song entitled “If” is the prelude to the second class in Cathee’s August program with the theme being: “Words“.

Last week our Connections class focused on “words”, and the way in which different areas of the brain interpret words. For example the word “saw” can be understood as to having seen something, or to have met with a person, or it could be a tool, or someone in the process of cutting up a log. Different compartments of the brain view these words in different contexts.

This week Cathee led the class further and we debated whether a picture is more descriptive and memorable than words alone. To assist with the debate (and a good debate it was!), the Club members first were asked to visualize “the sun” and write down as many associated words as possible. Later they were asked to describe “love” in as many words as possible.

Here is a selection of our Club members really thoughtful written responses. Notice the frequent connections between “Sun” and “Love”.

Cathee later asked the Club members to draw “the sun” and “love”. Suffice to say the pictorial representations varied, and we discussed this too.

The Sun Love
Beauty Marriage
Burning Happiness
You are my sunshine (song) Everywhere
Radiance True love
Powerful Deep
Light for life Can’t live without it
Ultimate source of energy Family
Source of heat, light and comfort Devotion
A blinding and inpenetrable ball of fire. A warm and wonderful feeling when we are chilled.  In a song it could be a way of expressing a feeling of love and happiness Love is a feeling of closeness, of sharing and being supportive. Of wanting to share your life with someone. Of holding on to a moment, holding on to a memory.
Extinguishable energy of life Intangible object that transforms us all in ways that would seem virtually impossible to describe in natural terms
My dog Love is feeling of comfort and assurance
Son of God Peace
Power undefined Forgiving
Engulfed energy All you need is love (song!)
Sun and love God is love
Heat and warmth Love makes the world go round

The general consensus conclusion was that we needed both words and pictures to describe things, to educate, to express emotions and to represent our vision.

An example was given of the way the Italian church employed famous Renaissance artists such as Cimabue and Giotto in the 13th and 14th centuries and later, in the 15th century and 16th centuries, da Vinci and Michelangelo, produced sculptures, oil paintings on canvas, and frescoes on ceilings and walls, dipicting stories from the Bible or about a Saint.

The frescoes in the Upper Basilica in the Cathedral of St. Francis in Assisi are a classic early example. Giotto used 28 huge frescoes to describe the life of St Francis. For those who already knew the story it was easy to interpret the paintings but for those illiterate people in medievel times (and there were many), the Priest would use the paintings to describe the events in St. Francis life in pictures and words. It is easy to stand transfixed before these masterpieces and delve into their meaning, using words of your own. Then there is da Vinci’s most famous mural of the Last Supper in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan; and the greatest and most influential frescoes in the history of Western Art created by Michelangelo: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and The Last Judgment on its altar wall.

From these examples we learned of the power and influence of art and pictorial story telling,  but concluded that without the original words they would not have had such a profound impact on mankind.


Please share this if you believe it would help someone.

For information about Memory Matters including a free of charge memory test, call 

1 843 842 6688. All calls are treated with confidentiality.

Vision: Memory Matters optimizes brain wellness.

Mission: Memory Matters optimizes brain wellness and memory care through education, programs, and support for individuals, care-givers in the Low Country community.


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