That's where I am currently in the music/color painting series I've been working on. After writing about the layout of the piece in my last post, I made a few more decision, changes, and advances. The first change was splitting the entire piece into 4 separate pieces. Since there were 4 "rows" of painting, taken from the time signature and total length of the musical piece I chose to paint (Ára Bátur by Sigur Rós), it became much more logistically manageable to work on one "row" at a time.
Then came the next questions to work out:
• What material to use to paint on?
I initially thought I'd want to work on a type of prepared hard wood, but then looking at how to get a piece that wasn't too heavy, at the right width, became challenging. So I finally ended up with canvas. Unstretched, but primed, initially - easier to work as it's laid out flat on a hard surface (since I'm bearing down on it with a ruler and pencil to do the graphing) rather than pressing down onto an elevated stretched canvas.
...then on to one of the bigger, overall questions:
• Why paint?
I mean this as why paint (as in action), and why paint (as in the material). The former, I always enjoyed the art theory discussions in school about the reasons behind painting and how that's changed through the centuries. At first it was done as a record-keeping of sorts, as photography wasn't invented yet, and painting most realistically was prized and valued as an informational relic for the future. Then after photography came about, the art world changed drastically...(foregoing all the various style eras of art), realism in my opinion became (and still is) somewhat obsolete. Why paint something realistically when you can just take a photo? That was the question I remember one of my painting professors asking...not as a rhetorical question, but just as something to make you think...why, really were we painting. And if we chose to paint realism, why did we do it. And I think that any artist can give the reason "just because I want to, and enjoy it"...and that is valid enough.
But to me, since I'm quite analytical, I like to delve into these types of questions and find the balance between what I like to do/see, and what I want to portray. So my answer to this question for this project (as it is with most of my projects in the past), is 1) because I enjoy paint 2) because I feel it's a more involved, tactical experience for me as the creator than snapping a photo, and 3) because, my pieces aren't realism...so they have to be something other than a photo. Painting was my medium of choice in school, and I still enjoy it more than others. And I'm sticking with my favored medium of oils. Although it's not as conducive to small, non-studio type spaces, is messy and takes longer to deal with...I still tend to lean towards it because of it's mixing capabilities and how it's easy to see the 'hand' in the strokes, or build up as in impasto techniques.
So anyway...getting on with it. I finished writing out all the notes for the piece, and then completed graphing the first "row" of the entire painting. The canvas right now is quite messy, filled with pencil marks of measures, notes, instrument vs. voice notations. The color key is made, but the paints aren't mixed yet.
After I saw the final sketch, I almost wanted to start over as there is going to be a lot more white in the piece than I thought...but finally (after about a week and a half of stalling) decided that I'll continue on this first idea. It's a trial run anyway, and the next pieces I study will be fun to mix it up and explore other ways of substituting color and space for musical notes.
Now it's on hold until we get back from Italy in a couple of weeks. But I'm excited to finally get to the color!