Over the summer I’ve been doing a few abstract paintings in acrylics. Since I don’t ordinarily do abstract art and since acrylics and I don’t get along well, this may seem like a strange thing for me to do. I suppose it is strange. In fact, I warned my husband that he might begin seeing some strange things appearing on my easel.
The project was prompted by a list of suggestions in a recent issue of Artist magazine. Several prompts were given as inspiration for abstract expressions. This appealed to me for many reasons.
- I love lists
- I want to learn more about abstract art
- I want to put feeling into my art and learn to express myself
- I wanted to do something completely different at my easel
I’ve always believed that a good practice strategy is to occasionally do something very different than our usual routine. I knew it would be fun to get away from representational art — if only for a short time.
To make the experience completely different, I chose to use acrylics. This was going to be a play time for me, something I could do without thinking about the results. I was excited by the project.
In the end, I didn’t complete all the suggestions, but I did have fun — and for me, that was the main goal of the project.
The first piece I did was based on a suggestion to listen to a piece of music and use it as inspiration. I love music, and usually while I’m painting I listen to classical music. As it turned out, though, at the time I read this suggestion I had one of those little brain worms in my head — you know, a song that keeps replaying itself over and over in your mind. I’d heard it earlier that day, and it still had a hold on me. It’s by the Mexican group Conjunto Primavera, and the song is one of my favorites.
I knew at once that this song would be my inspiration, and I even had an idea of how I would express the music in my painting. The next morning when I went to the easel, however, things changed. I knew what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t handle the acrylics. My painting did not go as planned.
So, I improvised. I listened to the song a few times as I played around with my paints, and I ended up with something that looks like a gigantic flower. So, I went with that and added in a stem and leaves. While it’s not what I intended, I did finish a painting, and here it is.
I’m calling it Heart and Soul because that was what this inspiration was all about for me, learning to paint with heart and soul. And the last line of the song is en alma y corazón, which is the Mexican way of saying heart and soul. It seemed like a good choice for this painting.
Have you ever used music as an inspiration in your art?