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  • Writer's pictureRuth-Anne Siegel

Rhythm & Soul: The influence of music on my artwork

This painting is called The Ghost Lingers. Do you wonder how I came up with that title? Well, many of my paintings are named after the memory I have translated onto the canvas. I don't usually realize what memory I've actually painted until I put on the final brush stroke. My latest body of work is filled with expressive, abstract florals, not memories. To title these, I needed an extra shot of creativity that even my super-poetic son couldn't conjure up. Due to the fact that the music I listen to influences my work with its thumping bass, crazy drum solos, and falsetto crooning, I have chosen to name my paintings after these songs with some subtle editing. As I painted this painting, I listened to Spoon's latest album, Hot Thoughts, as well as their entire oeuvre. Their song, The Ghost of You Lingers, was on constant rotation.

I have always felt that songs are like paintings and albums are like portfolios of thematic work.

(continued from newsletter) When I listen to a song, the background notes or voices translate to lightly drawn marks and muted colors. Loud drum solos or guitar riffs are like the bold colors in the foreground of a painting. The rhythm of the bass line correlates with the composition and balance of color within the rectangle or square of a canvas. I can see colors also evoked by the music. A Keith Moon drum solo can be dark purple or a rhythm guitar refrain by Pete Townshend is bright orange. Perhaps only I can see these colors when I hear the music, but it helps to unlock my creative focus and inspiration. Without music, I am unable to paint!

What do you use to unlock your creativity?

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