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Painting sensual sound

Can you paint a sound? I can. I know, because I did it yesterday! I attended an art workshop, and all I knew was it was going to be “landscape in mixed media”. Sounds quite exciting. But I was wrong……………………… It was VERY exciting!!!

The woman who ran the day workshop was very arty, and creative, and inspiring. She does very vibrant and brightly coloured landscapes using virtually everything that she can, to create her works of art – watercolour paint, acrylic paint, oil pastel, soft pastel, acrylic inks, dried ink, pens, brushes, and collage made from patterns she’s created on paper and tissue paper to add texture to her work. So a messy day then! YAY! I can always tell if its been a good art day if I go home with blue fingers! LOL

To start the workshop, we were asked to draw basic shapes in specific colours, a black triangle, a green rectangle, yellow circle, orange swirl, blue oval,red square. And then to say what we thought of the colour and how it related to the shape. For instance, the green was considered calming but the shape of the rectangle was strong and rigid so they were giving conflicting signals, the yellow circle was happy, the black triangle was menacing, and the red being the colour of passion but a square isn’t passionate as the lines are too straight. I preferred the orange swirl both for colour and for a shape.

So we had learnt that you have to consider colour AND shape and the message you want to convey by using particular combinations of them.

Next we had to paint sound. And what an interesting concept that is! We were played seven short extracts of music, one at a time, first to listen to the piece and imagine the colours, then to hear it again and paint the colours. I loved doing this! I closed my eyes as I listened to the first extract, so that I was closing off my visual sense, and concentrating on my hearing sense. As I listened to the first piece by Debussy, the soft strains of gentle music filled the room, and I could see pale greens, pale blues, light yellow and pale pink, and that’s what I painted – no specific shapes, just abstract shapes and colour. The next piece was by “Afro Celts” and was staccato in sound, with strong rhythm and beat, and I could see bright red dots and orange zigzags. For a gentle piece by Wagner I could see the palest pinks, oranges and yellows with a slightly darker pink floating over it, and for “Bulgarian voices” I could see strong vibrant red and orange and deep purple vertical lines, rising up. Beautiful! and a lovely experience to depict them all. But, I asked the tutor, why hadn’t she played us some punk, some rock, and some metallica? She thought I was joking, but I was quick to reply that I wasn’t! And told her that I paint to rock and dance music, and music with a strong beat, to help me paint and move on with ideas and concepts, painting techniques and dynamic action! It helps me immensely.

Then we got to the “play” stage where we added paint and water to paper, made prints from acrylic paint applied to ceramic tiles and the paper pressed to it for interesting effects and patterns. We all loved doing that, and it was at that stage that I realised that we were all women of varying ages there, and the workshop was run by a woman. I asked then if the tutor has men on her course, because its very rare for me to attend a workshop that hasn’t got ANY men on it (and I’ve been to many!). She said that men were usually bemused by her workshops. I can see why! I think men would find it difficult, as I think a man artist would look at a colour and try to emulate it in paint, whereas the workshop was more focused on what colour do you “feel” or “hear” than “just” see. An interesting concept, and certainly one that would relate to the more sensual painter I think – like a woman Erotic Artist, for instance!!!!! LOL

After lunch, we started our paintings, using the techniques we’d learnt earlier. Some workshops I go home at the end of the day with a finished piece of art, but this wasn’t one of those days. Today was a learning day, to be creative, and try different ways of producing art. I used the patterned paper I’d made earlier to add texture in collage to my painting, I used acrylic ink to create swirls of shape, I used oil pastel to make a “wax resist” to the acrylic paint, I used pastel to make texture on top of the paint, and I went home without a finished painting, but with a lot more knowledge learnt, and with blue fingers!

6 thoughts on “Painting sensual sound”

  1. Gosh… it all sounds so vibrant. Can you adapt all kinds of sound to art? Classical maybe? I don’t quite understand it, but I guess to an artist such as yourself it is understood… right? So do we get to see the finished product? Did you have sticky blue fingers?

  2. Jackie Adshead

    Indigo – Yes, you can adapt all kinds of sound, but music works best as it touches the soul,and invokes creativity, like art does. I don’t know that I understand any music, I’m not a musician, but I know what I like, and how it affects me.

    As for seeing the finished product, its only a sketch pad of blobs of colours and lines 🙂

    And no, I didn’t have sticky fingers, just dry blue ones!! LOL

  3. I understand music … I love to hear a full orchestra…. I’m a musician, I play Piano and Guitar. Had a go at the bagpipes once, but I couldn’t grasp it, although I love to hear them played by a pro. It sends goose bumps down my spine… but that’s just my opinion.

  4. Jackie Adshead

    Indigo – Mmm… it’d be interesting to see what one person who was an artist AND a musician would paint when they heard music.

    And when you say you like to hear bagpipes played by a “pro”, er, what sort of “pro” exactly were you thinking of?!!! Is this some weird sexual perversion I’ve never heard of!!!! LOL

  5. This all sounds very different, but very interesting.

    Given your love of painting to music, then this really must have been the ideal challenge for you, even if you didn’t get the chance to paint to some dance or rock music. Do you think this is something that you will try doing at home, or is it a case that you have tried it once and once was enough?

    Pleased to hear you went home with your fingers a nice shade of blue! Well I hope it was a nice shade of blue! lol

  6. Jackie Adshead

    Fitzy – Yes, it was an interesting challenge for me, but I’ll stick to the rock and dance music that moves me, I’ve tried painting to other peoples choice of soft music, and it just doesn’t get me going like rock does. So, although the idea was a good one, I know what I relate to, and will stay with that.

    Yes, it was a nice shade of blue – Windsor blue, its a pretty shade, I use it a lot, and its a “stain” which is why it’s difficult to wash off fingers!

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