Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hug A Musician...They Never Get to Dance

After the Curtain
Oil on Canvas 20" X 16"

...So reads a bumper sticker I have stuck to my studio wall. If you have been following these musings, you already know the fondness I have for music. Then I must have fondness for those who make it. In fact, I'm in awe of them.
Think about it. A musician practices, mostly in solitude, for an instant of perfection that disappears as soon as it sounds. Music is temporal in the extreme. As soon as the sound is produced, it evaporates into the air. It is the most abstract of all the arts. You can read a beautiful poem over and over. You can watch a great film whenever you want. You can look at a Monet for years, and think about it whenever it pleases you. But live music only lives in the memory. True--a recording preserves a piece of music played at one time, but when you go to a concert or a performance of an opera, symphony, musical, recital, jazz band, rock concert, the only thing you take home with you is an impression of what you heard only moment by moment. That's what the musician/performer lives for--to create those moments to perfection.
So it's a difficult task and a tough way to live--unless you are entirely devoted to it and work at it endlessly.
Here's a picture inspired by an image I came across in "New Yorker" magazine. I left some things out and changed others as I wanted to communicate the aura of the musician. The curtain has fallen for the last time. She has packed up her 'cello and goes out alone into the night. There's a spotlight for her if she goes to it, a home across the way, otherwise looming darkness. But she'll be back another time-the muse is relentless.


Barbara Pask said...

You write beautifully Jack and give great food for thought. This painting is lovely too, wonderful colors. I keep wanting to paint a nighttime scene.

Jack Riddle said...

Thanks, Barb. I've done several night paintings and they are all pretty dark, but one thing I noticed is the sky is surprisingly light. I suppose that comes a lot from the ambient effect of city lights, and stars and moon too. I purposely left the sky out of this one as I wanted to focus on the young woman.

Cooper Dragonette said...

Great to see you this weekend Jack. Thanks for coming over. I never left my tent! That seemed like a light turnout for that show yes?
Talk to you soon, Cooper

Anonymous said...

Love this painting -- the subject and the colors. The cello is one of my favorite instruments. ;-)


Frank Gardner said...

Nice Jack! The story adds to the whole experience.
Music and painting seem to go hand in hand sometimes.
Very dramatic piece.

Jack Riddle said...

Cooper--great to meet you, too. And congrats on your show award. Yes, the show was "lite," but we sold a couple of things. The real bummer was the wind, which eventually destroyed my tent. Ah, the life of the artist!

Jack Riddle said...

Paz--the 'cello does lend itselk to the visual--such a nice shape and melancholy sound. Thanks for the comment.

Jack Riddle said...

Frank--thanks as always. I try to reveal the idea behind my work--if there is one that can be expressed---to my artist colleagues. I'm not quite sure if it's OK to do that, or let the piece speak for itself. Especially since I've found that people rarely buy a painting of mine for the reason I painted it!

Ambera said...

I love that saying!

Jack Riddle said...

Thanks, Ambera--I use that saying a lot when I'm out pitching for my opera company. It seems to work!

Politically Incorrect said...

Thank you so much for your written and visual perception into the often lonely world of a Musician.

After 29 years as a Musician and lack of work, I am forced to play on the street so as to earn the bus fare needed to get to the Interview for a "real" job. Only to have everyone walk by, pretending that I'm not there. It was damn cold yesterday, too!

We practice during the day, and work at night. Yet, when I tell those that ask of my occupation, their eyes laugh with almost vindictive mirth.

Your appreciation Sir, is well received and is payment enough for this day!

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