As I paint, I often need to step back, reevaluate, and connect to my body and the sounds around me, both from the immediate environment and from music. 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 Tube, ITunes and other programs download a variety to suit my moods.

In our contemporary world, the arts work together in film, TV, drama, graphic design; in fact everywhere. Art is much about emotion and expression and colour and music affect our emotions and fill the spirit. The intellectual and organizing parts of the arts are linked too. Compositions have many of the same terms: rhythm, composition, harmony, key and the number seven keeps reappearing.

Pythagoras wrote about this and linked each colour to a music note. Artist through time experimented with this. Beginning in 1910 there was a burst of activity – Schoenberg’s discordant operas, Picasso and David Hockney’s theatre sets, Australian De Mistre using coloured light in stage settlings. Now the blending is part of everyday life with spectacular lazer shows and huge projections on building accompanied by music. Wow!

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 a sound. You can only image what fun they have looking at a painting like “Broadway Boogie Wooogie” by Mondrian. Vasily Kandinsky was the first contemporary painter to really explore this in followed by Paul Klee and Australian de Mistra. Kandinsky produced the first truly abstract works or “concrete paintings” that have no reference to nature or any symbols. Instead they rely on his knowledge of music and his ability to link sounds and colours.

I’ve tried this. Not so easy. My two-year-old granddaughter doesn’t know the symbols for people or trees. She just digs into the colours and paints. I do know however that I can make better paintings if I play music that links with the colours and themes of my paintings. Into the “Zone” I go. A little dancing as I paint helps too!

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