So this takes me to a few ideas about ekphrastic writing. First of all, I love doing it. But the point here is that everyone can do it and ought to try it. Take out your notebook and begin.
This way of writing is not new, just often overlooked. Famously Auden wrote Mus ée de Beaux Arts from Breugel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. In his piece, Auden begins with a clear, head-on statement "About suffering they were never wrong, the Old Masters: how well they understood/its human position." and then moves to a seemingly literal description of the painting and what it contains. But does he? It is easy enough I suppose (in the relative lack of ease when writing a poem) to simply describe poetically what one sees. Auden does a bit of this of course but only insofar as the "stuff" of the painting and the message of the painting are heightened by his view of the larger issue: that life goes on despite tragedy overhead.
[side note] For Breugel, there was no instant media, no Wikileaks, no reporters on the scene with cameras and made-up assessment. He chose to make art his message board, his screen. For Auden, who lived in the modern time, there was certainly media reportage, but not the mess we have now, and not the intensity of reporting since 9/11. Both relied upon something that is overlooked now by many: non-electronic imagineering.
I digress. In Auden's poem, he connects the dots in a most amazing way. We get the description paired with what probably or might be going on for everyone going about their routines as Icarus plunges to the sea and is lost. In fact, the actual fall of Icarus is a tiny splash, two white legs above water in the lower right corner of Breugel's painting. Not lost on Auden is the irony of that, and keen for him the responsibility of showing us the folly of being too engaged in the mundane and missing the tragedies all around us:.