The Art of Music

Kind of Blue watercolour

Kind of Blue

Art and music: the two go together like peaches and cream…. or occasionally like chalk and cheese.

I love painting to music and I have a fairly varied taste so it could be that I’m listening to anything from opera to jazz to rock’n’roll when I paint.

One of my paintings that I mentioned on my blog earlier this year was Kind of Blue, named after a Miles Davis album. I was listening to the music while I painted it and the title fitted too. Another link that is not immediately apparent is that Davis’s sublime music gave me the same tingle as when I looked at the irridescence on the feathers. Both experiences spoke to my soul in the same way.

So that’s an example of my art and music in harmony. Imagine though, trying to paint to a piece of music you really hated. I don’t think I could do it. The sounds would be too distracting, which would show in the finished image. No harmony there!

Going up, Coming Down acrylic painting

Going up, Coming Down

An interesting exercise is to paint the same subject to three contrasting pieces of music. The resulting paintings will be very different according to each style of music. I painted Going Up, Coming Downto a Bruce Springsteen album. I wonder how it would have looked if I’d chosen something different?

Of course, throughout art history artists and musicians have been inspired by each other’s disciplines. Think of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or Angelica Kauffmann’s Self Portrait Hestitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting.

Today’s artists continue the inter-disciplinary tradition. Wildlife artists Bruce Pearson, Greg Poole and Katrina Van Grouw play the guitar, saxaphone and duduk respectively, and you’re as likely to find music as art emanating from their studios.

Art and music – both are about harmony, texture, space, balance, contrasts, emotion – it’s no surprise they are both soul food.

About Jackie Garner

Wildlife artist.
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2 Responses to The Art of Music

  1. Expression says:

    I too listen to music whilst painting, though I have never took the time to see if the music is influential on my art.This adds another dimension to my image making, I will try your technique of using different genres of music and see what the results are.Thanks for sharing that Jackie.

    All the best.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Roger. I remember way back in my school days we had to listen to a piece of classical music (Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture(Fingal’s Cave)) and draw what we imagined the cave to look like from the music. It was a really memorable experience. I visited Fingal’s Cave a few years ago and drew it again. The music really added another creative dimension.

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