22 December 2023

John Coltrane and Julie Andrews got married

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 December 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 December 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 14 December 2023, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

As I approach the end of another year I try to take stock of a batch of pictures, most of which sit on bookshelves in my living room, an orphanage that only grows larger.

At the start of the new year I have promised these orphans that they will all be varnished in order to protect them against mildew and general mayhem as they grow older. But in the meantime, I will remain a beneficiary of these colourful skies for as long as the Gods continue to bestow their magnanimous light upon me. I keep thinking that there is nothing more I wring from this old rag but the Muses insist that I'm wrong. 

Here are three studies from the 14th of December which all came out so easily and full of  grace, one after the other quarter notes from My Favourite Things that both John Coltrane and Julie Andrews spritely rendered back in the 1960's when Happiness still felt like and real tangible thing.  

I went through that piece three years ago during the Pandemic when I was learning so many Tin-Pan Alley tunes, all of which gave birth to Broadway musicals. I grew up with these things and I came to appreciate the composers from that era; from Jerome Kern to Rogers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Lorenz Hart, among so many. These are still great melodies even if today they may seem old-fashioned but thankfully, Jazz musicians reinterpreted them, and re-fashioned an American musical genre completely unique in the world.  

Several years ago, I used to see a gal in New York who I took to a Broadway show, Carmen, I think. Though not an American musical, no matter, because as the lights dimmed, she turned to me and said: "My mother once told me to watch out for guys who invite you to musicals because they're usually always gay." Ha Ha, I laughed. You gotta love that! And she's probably right too. But personally, in my own case, I've always liked the gals, sexually speaking, ever since I was a kid. But it's true that I have a large feminine side to me that could easily confuse others, women, men, and otherwise. It's the problem of living a life of a sensitive and poetic man while navigating a world of playing ice hockey and football along side macho blokes who had never read Walt Whitman. But yes,,, I'm complicated, and I don't really fit on an American shelf. (Dieu merci)

But anyway, though it actually wasn't My Favourite Things that was running through my ears whilst painting these small studies last week, it is nevertheless such a great tune. But the thing is; I always have melodies rippling through my fingers and right down through my feet. Every part of me jiggles and jitters consistently up and down my body when I'm sitting in a meeting and listening to others speak (But hey! Some people chew gum).

As a matter of fact, I think, last week I was looking at Have you Met Miss Jones, by Rogers and Hart. It's a simple tune with a group of a lovely few measures cascading gently down through several keys inside the melody. Just a few delicate passages like these can echo within me for several weeks.

But, what I really wanted to express without taking everyone for a long ride, is that in these three oil studies, there appears to be a connection through feeling, one I really like, and one that I associate with these aforementioned melodious songs. These are, after all, happy pictures, like so many of these songs and though not in vogue these days, they really do exude the joy of a sunset beach.  

I read recently that Marina Abramović made the claim that no genuine art can come out of happiness. Ouch,,,, though I can understand her viewpoint, no doubt, I disagree wholeheartedly. Who is to say where art comes from? (and by whom?). She is a talented and successful Performance Artist but hey! She's also a bit of a smart pants too. The world of art is like a huge circus tent, and every freak, furry and otherwise is welcome to exhibit. 

And I would add that despite what loquaciously proficient Post-Modernists insist upon explaining to us about how the purpose of Art today is to make us think; don't believe it for a second, it's not, because if it were, then one could just as well pick up a book on any selected subject.

And this is because when one is sensitive to the handiwork of any art form; whether it be Painting, Poetry, Architecture, or Music; Rock and Roll, Opera, Show-tunes, Chopin or Satie; the thinking mind dissipates and allows one's heart to open up all the way for the soul to hear. And that my friends, is what Art is really for. 

No comments:

Post a Comment