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Drawing to Sound

I’m back!  Well, I never left, but I have been making things.  I am pleased to report that today is the last day of the 2020 Index-Card-a-Day Challenge, and I have finished all of them!  I will post more about the end of this year’s ICAD next week, because now I want to show my attempts at creating to music.

My tastes in music are quite eclectic, so it is difficult to find something that am not familiar with.  The Hoopla app (should be available through your local library) has a meager offering of some world music, and there I found a recording of Australian digeridoo music.  That is what I chose for my creative experiment.  I decided to make my musical sketch on an 8.5 x 11” piece of dark gray textured paper, using gel sticks, crayons, colored pencils and oil pastels to make my marks.

After getting everything in place, I started the music and listened for a few minutes, choosing colors, making an effort to select colors that I don’t normally use.  Then, I started drawing lines, trying to imagine my hand connecting to the sound and taking over my movements.

I kept going, filling in shapes and adding marks.  I think that you can see how the red waves and orange scribbles were in response to the undulating drone of the digeridoo, while the blue bars, white dots and yellow slashes came from the sounds of sticks tapping together.

Finally, I added more shading and bulked up the composition with some brighter colors.

This could be a great creative block smasher, I will be making a point to doodle or sketch to music more often in my art journals.  As luck would have it, one of the last prompts for the 2020 ICAD challenge was “Bossa Nova.”  Hoopla again saved the day with several Bossa Nova titles, and here is what came out of my mind:

Next week, (yes, I will post next week, I promise) the ICAD wrap up and moving on to something else.

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Music on my Mind

First, my index cards from week five, prompts were citrus, arcade, font, earrings, periwinkle, board game and lantern:

Music is a powerful force on our minds.  How many times have you sung along at the top of your lungs to a favorite tune on the radio as you drive around, or jumped up and danced around uninhibited while no one was looking.  How many more times have you wanted to sing out and dance like crazy?  A song can bring back very specific memories.  What do you define as music?  To me, music is not just the recordings or performances of human voice and sounds resonating out of instruments being played.  This time I hear the songs of birds and insects when I step outside.  Every once in a while, my brain dredges up the clatter of the vintage candy factory line that I used to run.  The fondant cutter had an especially interesting series of repeated clicks and cranks.  Somehow, these sounds come out in some of my collages.

Composers have many variables to utilize in the creation of a piece of music, just like visual artists have their own “language” of design elements.  With these close similarities in the creative process, it is not surprising that one often influences the other.   Jiri Anderle often textured his prints with mark making techniques carries over from his stints as a drummer in a band.  The Russian composer Mussorgsky was inspired to write “Pictures at an Exhibition” from viewing paintings by Viktor Hartmann.  In turn, the music came back out in the visual art through a stage setting by Kandinsky.

I don’t believe that you have to know much about music to enjoy it or be inspired by it.  Listen closely, pay attention to the instruments, the patterns and repetitions, the variances in notes and chords, the time that notes are held, the spaces of pauses in between notes.  How can you transform what you hear into visual shapes, lines, marks, color and texture?  Try listening to a piece of music that you are not familiar with, and make some marks with pencil and paper while you listen.  I plan on trying this myself over the weekend, check back next week to see my efforts.

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Index Cards, Music, Fiction

ICAD week three is done, and I am still keeping up! The prompts this past week were: dandelion, robot, mustard yellow, six word story, pause, birdhouse, geode.  I cannot honestly say that I like any of my cards from last week, but the important thing is that I made something for each one.  I am intrigued by the concept of the six word story, it is not an easy concept!  A couple of years ago, I read a book about writing flash fiction (under 1000 words) and I would like to explore it in my writing someday.

Speaking of things I want to explore, it is high time that I get around to rambling about music and visual art.  This will be part of a series, for now I just have some ideas for you to ponder.  Music is often used in movies to add impact to a scene; think back on parts of your life and identify what song could be played over a given event in the movie of your life.  What song is the soundtrack to your life right now?  Many songs could be considered a form of flash fiction, could a piece of art be considered flash fiction?  Where are the boundaries of the definitions of art, music and fiction?  These music and art musings will happen in little bits here, it looks like I will be posting once a week for now as I work on various other creative projects.  There are so many ideas wanting to come out of my head!  See you next week for a summary of the week’s creative efforts in my world.

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Index Card A Day, Week Two

Like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, I am three days (actually more than that) behind schedule.  So, here is Tuesday’s post on Thursday.  ICAD Week two is done, the prompts were suzani pattern, bookshelf, David Bowie, tiramisu, brocade, kite or rhombus and chamomile.

I was not at all interested in the David Bowie prompt.  This is my fourth year of participating in this challenge, and the first time that I completely ignored a prompt.  The creator of this challenge makes it clear that her prompts are optional, but until last week, I have stuck with them.  The card I made on the David Bowie day is a completely abstract mixed media experiment, and something that I could have created in response to a piece of music.  I have some ruminations on music-to-visual art explorations coming soon to this blog, but this card was not made with music in mind, just playing with supplies that I haven’t used much.  It started with some random cut outs from pictures in an old Life magazine, then dabbed with an embossing ink pad and dusted with the accompanying embossing power.  After heating the power to work its magic, I scribbled over everything with a few colors of water soluble crayons.  An interesting result, and I’d like to try the combination again with a bit more purpose and direction next time.  I wonder if the embossing stuff and crayons will work on fabric…

I was delighted that two of the prompts had to do with textiles.  I had to look up suzani pattern, and fell in love with it.  My mind is churning with embroidery and applique designs influenced by suzani.  The card on the left is my first attempt at interpreting suzani patterns.  I’m sure that I will explore it further.

On the right, the card for brocade.  The shimmery wave design was made with Kreinik Iron-On Thread .  And yes, it irons on to paper!  I recently bought a selection of this Iron-On thread to play with, and I am loving it.  It is easy to apply, even around curves, and is a much easier way to add metallic thread to a project than sewing with it.  I am hoping to someday have a class featuring Iron-On Thread, and I will have it at quilt shows, whenever those might happen again.  Meanwhile, keep checking back here for my adventures in creating.

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Stitching to Music

I will get to the trial piece that I talked about last post – later this week, I promise.  Today, I want to share a couple of  4″ squares that I made while listening to opera.  The Metropolitan Opera is streaming a different opera performance daily during this coronavirus shut down.

The square on the left was made while listening on the radio to the Saturday afternoon broadcast of Puccini’s  Tosca.  The square on the right was created while I watched Dvorak’s Rusalka last night.  My process was to first listen and/or watch for about 15-20 minutes.  Then, I started picking out my fabrics from my scrap stash.  I kept on listening while arranging and rearranging the fabric bits that I selected.  After I had the pieces placed, I listened for another bit of time while deciding how to stitch the square, then commenced the stitching.  Of course, last night I stopped work frequently to watch the action on my computer screen, and made mental notes from some of the stunning costumes.  I finished the squares by the final curtain, but I was certainly not trimming or stitching during the entire opera performance.  Even when I am not trying to multi-task, I spend a fair amount of time on my art quilts in a thinking mode before I take action on them.

Now, I would never expect anyone to correctly guess the piece of music that was playing while I made one of my collages, but I enjoy linking the music that inspired me to the visual art as a part of its story.  It would be fun to get a few other artists together to create their own individual responses to the same piece of music.  Check back on Thursday for my progress on last week’s experiment.