I often need to step back from the easel and get in touch with all the senses and connect to the sounds around me. On Treaty Island I listen to the water or the chatter of chipmunks. Just as interesting are the swish of wind in the palm trees or call of a train whistle. Music I can control and with YouTube, iTunes, and other programs, I can download a huge variety to suit my moods. The arts have always worked together and early societies marked no boundaries. The key here is that the arts of colour and music are so prized as they affect our emotions and fill the spirit. We need this to “make it through the night.”
Pythagoras wrote about colour linking each colour to a music note. Certain individuals such as Marilyn Monroe, Sting, and my good friend Susan T have a condition called Synesthesia. When they hear a sound they see a colour. And seeing a colour hear a sound. You can only image what fun they have looking at a painting like “Broadway Boogie Woogie” by Mondrian. A rare gift. Could an artist train themselves to this? I think so.
Kandinsky was the first contemporary artist to really explore these ideas in painting. His book in 1911 “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” discusses his theory. This time produced many exciting and forward thinking artists. So many of the terms are the same. Rhythm, tone, repetition and above all, Harmony. Paul Klee and Frank Kopka joined him to produce the first truly abstract works or “Concrete paintings” linking sounds and colours
I’ve tried concrete painting… Easy for my granddaughter who at 3 is always in the world of the imagination and abstraction. But difficult for me to do a good one. Maybe I’ve been painting my own symbols for too long… But I do find that I can produce much richer works in terms of gradations, coloured greys, repetition and clever counterpoints of discord colour if I listen to a piece of music. It is worth a try.