Select a piece of music (preferably classical or at least rhythmically complex) and allow your movements to be affected or generated by it whilst producing a drawing.
It took me a while to choose a piece of music – but it was a nice time working with a cuppa listening to my classical collection.
I have chosen Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No1 in B Flat Minor Op.23, Allegro non troppo; Georgian SIMI Festival Orchestra, conductor: Nodar Tsatishvili; piano Vakhtang Badrishvili
, I have a CD but as example here will insert a YouTube video I found with the music performed by a different orchestra:
The reasons for choosing this particular piece – first I have played piano and this was one of the pieces that I did in the music school; second I just love piano and string instruments together; third Tchaikovsky is my fellow countryman so it is a homage in a way; fourth reason is I just love this composition – it makes me happy, relaxed and alert at the same time and feels my mind with images; fifth it is rhythmically complex with slow parts that grow into almost still moments and then start to become fast and furious))…. Just to list a few…
Next I wanted to record the process but was not sure how – in the end I managed to do a time laps (no music) – the result is a 1 minute video of the 45 minute process. I had the piece on repeat so there was some repetition – this allowed me to change tools, colours etc. I painted mostly with my eyes closed – apart from when i needed to swap colour or application tools.
Mostly I used my hands – I “played” the canvas as if I were playing the piano and conducting it at the same time. Other tools used : ice cream sticks ( one is still on the canvass), plastic tool for making patterned lines (not sure what it is called); brushes, plastic containers i had paint in, pallet knife, water, acrylics (yellow, p.rose, cyan, grass green, white, black)
This is first time i did a time laps, so perhaps it is a bit too fast but, if possible please watch it on repeat(or at least 3 times in a row) during the whole length of the piece of music ( link above) it will make more sense – that’s how I watched it.
Here is the time-laps:
And the result: 1st picture while wet; second when dried – pictures are brighter than the real thing, first one is closer in terms of tone
There is definitely a lot of “me” in it – I had really attacked the canvass during some moments as well as stroked it softly using gesture movements. The whole process was really enjoyable and messy – I’m still covered in paint)))
Background/starting colours got muddy – painting with eyes closed was liberating but unpredictable and resulted in mixing of paint. I’m glad I have added some fresh colour in the last 15 minutes – it sort of popping out and contrast with the grey background; I also see resemblance in some marks/blobs/spatters to the musical notes that were played in faster temp. I also like that some of the canvass is still visible especially considering amount of paint and marks I was using
At the moment I decided to leave it here, rather than add something – firstly I need to think more about it as I can’t see anything that is really popping out to create more recognizable shapes, also I do not think I need to find anything recognizable here – in the end this is my “intuitive” painting as a reaction to music played on repeat and I consider this more of a performative gestural painting. But I will see if in some time I will decide to develop it further…
This time I’ve used a gessoed A1 cartridge paper, charcoal (soft, hard, homemade), diluted India ink, white/yellow acrylics, my hands and brushes for application. I did not use video for this – instead made photographs of stages.
Music – I’ve listened to 1. Same as above followed by 2. Shubert – Rosamunde D.797, Op.26, “Intermezzo”; St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra “Canon” conductor Vitas Antonavichius
here is an example on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PlZ1GJQ2AI
Second piece of music is more peaceful ( relaxing) and worked well as a continuation.
First i used charcoal to apply fast gestural marks (Tchaikovsky) – I’ve noticed a lot of sharp/long lines while using this medium; followed by brush and ink – softer/wider marks, spattering ink as if i’m conducting and made brush impressions following individual notes.
charcoal ink, acrylic
I also flipped it to different sides during the process.
Just before the next piece started i swapped for white paint – first gestural and some pushing occurred then i started to follow patterns on paper as music progressed – for some reason i felt like geometrical patterns were the ones to follow here. Half way through white was swapped for yellow and was applied mostly in a conducting motion.
Then I left it to dry and to determine the next step. In the end I decided to leave it like this – I like the marks and minimum colour here; I think it works as a piece of emotional expression.
Third piece: a small Colour abstract using pallet knifes music (same) and colour. Here I tried to project colours i saw while listening. (Approx. 29×40 cm canvass)
After some time, a lot of music on repeat, harvesting and tending the garden I started on a new canvass – it is quite large, biggest so far for me – 80cm x 127cm
What i developed out of first two is a combination: music, borrowed lines and me
Fourth piece: Self portrait
I started without preconceived idea, similarly to the previous pieces – music was playing, colour was prepared etc. First I gessoed a canvass I got on car boot – it is quite large so I’m just being brave here.
Gesso was applied using gesture movements and texture was in mind – i like how it dried with variation of thickness and lines still visible.
It took me a while to decide the next step. I wanted to combine first attempts and develop them – so i enlarged some areas, looked through colour/line placement and in the end decided to use a limited pallet. Partially the colour choice was inspired by my garden – Green and yellows of cucumbers and tomato plants. Also i liked how yellow worked in the second drawing. My veg garden, below:
I went with yellow first – gesture movements while listening to music then similarly I applied green.
After these layers dried i used India ink and brush to randomly find a few shapes.
Then some diluted yellow paint was poured over(vertically) and also i was turning the canvass during the whole painting process.
Then I used tied together poppy seed heads and applied black acrylic – I made a video but unfortunately the phone moved so only part of the canvass was visible – I’m not adding it here yet. This added a few nice random marks.
I really did not know how to take this further – some of the ideas popped in to my mind (flower field, cartoony people, pure abstract etc.)…
It took me quite a long time of staring at the canvass to decide but I had some sort of a moment and just went with it. I decided to try and do a self-portrait….
Starting with the eyes to get going first I began using India ink and a brush, my hands, tissue etc.
Here is the result…
First thoughts: Overall I like how it developed out of gesture to music into a representational image. There are some aspects that work – eyes, soft forms of the face against jigsaw pieces/harder lines/ irregular shapes… Not too happy about the way hair on the sides look – I had used spray bottle and ink run down too much in a rather messy stain…
It is hard to imagine just by looking at a small photo but as a whole it does work especially due to size of the canvass and colour contrasts.
I had it in the lounge for a few days – looking at different lighting arrangements and trying to figure out how and if I need to take this forward.
Things i decided to work on in a few days of analysing:
Hair – I want to have more gesture marks along with a bit more definition, highlighted areas and try to retain spontaneity of other marks around
Face – there is some likeness but not exactly “me” looking back … Providing I was drawing freely I still want to get a better drawing along with more likeness…
I used diluted inks, acrylics, rags, water, pallet knives and my fingers to modify areas I was not happy with – I had to reapply, erase and wipe out quite a few marks during the process here.
The result: First image – taken indoor under normal light bulb;
Second – taken outside in the morning , light but not sunny. Image is a bit too yellow…
I believe after reworking i have achieved a lot more likeness with myself, not exact but I’m more at peace with this one – I feel it is more resolved and has a presence. I modified the shape of the face, mouth and hair, neck line, shoulder length ( I’ll change picture after I get the work back from my tutor as I did it at the last minute before packing, and nose, added more paint around the face to cover things I did not like and to add contrast.
Even though it does not look exactly like me i can see myself in it through application, colour and involvement in the process. I tried to work in a similar manner as in the beginning – using gesture rather than precise controlled lines to maintain spontaneity and movement that was captured during listening to the music I’ve selected. There could be a few things to add/change but I decided to stop at the moment so I do not overwork it too much.
This approach somehow reminds me of Karel Appel paintings – a lot of gesture and emotional physicality in his work.
Part 3 in general was very physical and experimental – at the beginning i was not sure how the exercises will go but during the process really got involved and enjoyed delving into the unknown areas.
There are a few things I found out during this part – do not be afraid of exploring totally new ways of application, approaches and use of emotion. Words and music can help generate ideas, liberate movement and choice of colour/tools and media.
I feel that I learned a lot more of what drawing can be and ways of approaching ideas – starting point sometimes can be elusive but involvement helps to bring it together in the end.
Working on a larger scale definitely resonates with me – i find that gesture and space help me with expression in general. Also this goes in line with idea for parallel project where I’m thinking of enlarging elements of objects to abstract whole and find new ways of seeing the same thing.
Overall I really enjoyed this part and hope to carry on some of the learned into the future projects.