07 June 2020

colour shaded only in the Divine

As I dive deeper into musical harmony by making my way through the RealBook I see more clearly the essential relationships between Painting and Music. I also begin to familiarise myself with flatted 9ths, 5ths, suspended 4ths, etc, etc. I marvel at how chords meld into one another in the same way which colours do in a painting. They always push towards an eventual resolution. 

I have listened to so many different kinds of  music in my life, and it has formed my sensibility over time. I fell in love with opera when I arrived in France after listening to so much folk, jazz and rock and roll. France Musique, the station on the radio began to teach me everything about Classical music, filling me in with centuries of European music. And at the same time I was wandering around museums in France and Italy mostly, but also Spain and Holland, and everywhere else the longer I stayed on in this Europe of my twenties. Just the sheer volume of Painting I had looked at during these early years gave me a visual foundation which formed my conscious and unconscious sensibility for Art.  

So, over these past few years my interest with the painting surface has only grown at the same time as my priorities have narrowed. I have become fascinated with how colours interact with one another, how they bump up against each other, rubbing or caressing each other on a unified surface. This sensuality is one of those essential elements that completes a work for me. Simply put, this aspect of Painting is basically how colours work together on a unified picture plane. How do colours clash, or kiss on a Painting surface? Isn't it what helps to give a picture its subtle or dynamic vitality? A poor connection between colours means a poor connection between picture planes, and thus resulting in a weak painting. And so it is, too, with almost all musical harmony. It seems to me that it should appear effortless even if a life has been shed for it.

I put up my own pictures here as examples, they are to be judged after all (put your money where your mouth is, as they say). Here are a few from this past year except for the last two which were done at the very beginning of the series three years ago. These are apparent because I had approached this series after a long while of working in the studio and working quite differently. In these two there is more of 'me' in them, and less of 'the motif' than so much of what was to follow since then.

Though they are all of the sea and sky, mostly, they are actually about the sky. And painting the sky is essentially about painting the nothingness of air, in fact. One could maybe think to describe it as cotton candy the kind  found at country fairs but even that has substance. For in the sky there is no material substance like water in the sea nor mountains in the landscape. Nothing figurative in fact, there are no handles onto which to grab because there are no hills, no trees or branches. There are no roofs nor bricks, no ears or noses! It is
 the ephemeral world of pure colour. The Dutch made a whole genre out of painting the sky and clouds.

The air is a colour shaded only in the Divine; it's a luminous hue embalmed in the scent of the palest perfume of light. And yet, these elements of the picture plane must be joined and reconciled to make up the whole image. 

Like those flat 5ths and flat 9ths, and all those other alterations that smoothly transition one chord to next, that will push a melody to its final resting place, this airy, fractal edge created by brushstrokes also reunites to resolve any dissonance in the viewer's mind at the very end. 

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