Posts Tagged ‘art exhibitions’

On a Wing and a Prayer

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Earlier this year in mid-May, I received an invitation from Evan Mitchell, the Musical Director of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, to create a small suite of works inspired by a special performance of classical music compositions, all of which incorporate birdsong. The three pieces to be performed are: Jennifer Butler’s “And Birds do Sing”, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’.

The concert hall is the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, and the lobby is large, beautiful, open, and enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking Lake Ontario. The performance is scheduled for March 5, 2017.

Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts’ lobby

Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts’ lobby

I know NOTHING about classical music (picture inner struggle here), but YES struck me as the more interesting option in this case… a new experience! So much to gain, so little to lose! I love birds! So I said YES.

And the invitation gave me plenty of time – an eternity, it seemed! The director provided links to the music, and programme notes to explain the composers’ creative inspiration for each piece. I listened to them while working on other projects, read the back stories, and then hoped something magical would happen.

Time passed…… and passed…

 

When all else fails, I think the greatest motivation possible is a deadline. Having lots of time to do something doesn’t necessarily make the result any better – in fact, it can have quite the opposite effect. So, eager to quit procrastinating, I gave myself a two week time window in November 2016 and trusted I would get there somehow.

leap

Leap of faith

 

How to begin? Obviously, listening (with intent) felt like the best first step. I recorded my main impressions as they progressed: which colours came to mind? how did the music fit the background story? How did I feel along the way? what might all those instrument sounds LOOK like?

I started thinking about the physical form of the pieces. How on earth to capture the various movements and the passage of time? After all, music moves through time but visual imagery needs to encompass everything in one shot. What about this: because a musical piece builds on itself while it plays, and previous sounds lodge in our memory even as we hear the new ones, perhaps the pieces should be tall and vertical, and read from the bottom up!

It didn’t feel right to use representational imagery alone – I wanted to show the feeling and colour of the sounds and didn’t want to limit my visualization. Abstracts they must be! As I began the drawings, I also realized they must be quilted wall panels, as the designs resisted being hemmed in by frames. And technique? It felt most logical to plan for a loose (might we say, imperfect?) form of fabric collage that would allow plenty of freedom of shape and background changes.

It takes hundreds of small decisions like this just to get to first base with any new project. Sometimes I think this is why we tend to procrastinate – it’s hard work and it’s scary! At times, the answers are easy and obvious, but other times we must make a leap of faith, hoping experience and wisdom will serve well.

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17

I decided to begin with the Mozart which was the most accessible to me: a rich melodic piano piece. It had a charming story to match: Mozart tried to teach the theme to his starling, but the bird couldn’t get it quite right. Mozart was so tickled he wrote the bird’s mistake into his journal.

img_2193

Click on the starling to hear the Concerto

In the design of this wall panel, the starling became the central motif, with the three movements of the concerto settling around him in swirls and swoops of colour.

the-mozart-2016-42x20s

The Mozart 2016 42×20” Fabric Wall Panel

 

Jennifer Butler “And Birds do Sing”
https://soundcloud.com/jaebutler/and-birds-do-sing-2010

The second, by Canadian composer Jennifer Butler, is a modern piece written in 2010, and is the most abstract of the three compositions. The sounds begin with drums in cool waves, dark and tumbling and pierced with high flutes, eventually resolving into a lullaby composed for the composer’s daughter. What does a drum sound look like? Maybe circles… oblong circles? And flutes…. might rise up in long strands? The overall feel of the piece was cool and spring-like, hence I stayed with blues and cooler tones. The panel begins at the base with the rhythm of the drums, then another layer, upon layer until the clear notes of birdsong and lullaby surface.

the-jen-butler-2016-42x20s

The Jen Butler 2016 42×20” Fabric Wall Panel

 

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 ‘Pastoral’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQGm0H9l9I4

The Beethoven piece was the most complex. Although I incorporated elements of the movements, like a walk by a stream, a storm, birds, and a reference to folk art to represent a peasant dance, I was more interested in the smoother cadence and feeling of the performance, the melodic swings and eddies. The sounds were less emotional than the previous two pieces, so I used a more sophisticated colour palette.

the-beethoven-2016-45x21s

The Beethoven 2016 42×20” Fabric Wall Panel

 

Each of these pieces grew and evolved completely differently. In focusing on and working with them, I learned something intriguing about classical music: that, just like visual art, it begins with a personal story – now I will listen for it. And perhaps when the music lovers at the concert see my interpretations, they might learn something about abstract visual art. My fondest hope is that the music provides an entry point for understanding the abstract imagery, and in return the visual art enriches the appreciation of the music. As with many other occasions when I took the leap, I enjoyed every single minute, and the effects will last a life time!

For purchasing information, please click HERE. All the photography of my work is done by my very talented and dedicated husband, Janusz Wrobel.

starling-1

European starling from frasersbirdingblog.blogspot.co.uk

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Small Works at Taylor’s Tea Room

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

On Friday morning, early!, my husband and I hung 14 of my small pieces on the lovely lavender walls of Taylor’s Tea Room in Dundas. The owner, Brayden Erlich subsequently emailed me with the following:

“Lorraine! I have to say thank you so much it’s just how I imagined! Amazing feedback all day long. And I love it!!
So pumped! Tomorrow will be great! The place looks fabulous!”

And it WAS great! The opening was slated for Saturday, Dec 1 from 2-4 pm. It was a busy day in Dundas, so the visitors were pleased to have a quiet place to stop over for complimentary tea and scones. And such enthusiasm! I am truly blessed.
If you are in the area, do drop by! Taylor’s Tea Room is at 11 King Street West in Dundas, ON  905 628-3768.

Some photos from the day:

Brayden Erlich and me

                                                   ….. and a beautiful spread for all to enjoy….

Window on the world

Monday, April 30th, 2012

You may know I make a living from my art. Have been now, for a good 20 years, with the odd few years between, working at ‘real jobs’.

It’s not always easy, as you can already imagine. NOT knowing when and where the next cheque is coming from is not for the faint of heart. My husband makes his living from fine art photography, so he’s in the same boat. The period between February to May is particularly slow for art sales.

Stop waiting for nothing - Sopiko Cherkezishvili

So I do other things. I teach, I do some public speaking, and I sit at this computer dreaming up creative ways to make sure I am not forgotten in the huge and competitive art market. It’s a balancing act. How to ‘keep it real’, and not fall into the commercial maelstrom that eventually sucks our creativity and will to live?

In this way I feel very lucky. I happen to love social media. If they could find a way to insert a chip to keep me eternally connected, I would probably go for it. This obsession for connection probably comes from my lifetime of moving around… most of my dearest friends live in other towns, some of them far away, and email and facebook are perfect for keeping in touch. But now it’s gone deeper – I have decided that it will be an extension of my creativity – so now, it’s not only a necessity… it’s actually fun. And it helps me put food on my table and gas in my car.

Outreach in all its forms is very important for a successful art career. I prefer to call it outreach, rather than promotion, because for me, it’s an extension of the communication that begins with my art. If art making was only about making money, I could think of 1,000 better ways to do it. Outreach is a way to make my art communicate to a larger audience. Reaching an audience – moving them, delighting them, helping make their lives more beautiful, more special, more meaningful – is the prime goal. It provides the most important currency for a true artist.

So a few months ago, my husband, after encountering arrogance and misrepresentation by Art Sales and Rental at Art Gallery of Hamilton (resulting in his asking to remove his exhibition from the community gallery), learned about the possibility of renting a large corner window. This enormous space just happens to be right across the driveway from the main AGH entrance. May was the perfect month to rent it, coinciding with the big Spring Art Gallery of Hamilton Sale, to which neither of us was invited this year. We felt this would be the right opportunity to make a statement about the AGH Art Sales and Rental’s current lack of support and respect for local artists.

Window at King St and Sunset in Hamilton, ON

Janusz set it all up… every inch of space was carefully and lovingly planned. Our contact information is there, including QR codes for the Smartphone set.   The photo on Facebook has so far generated nearly 40 likes and a dozen comments. We consider it our ‘outreach gallery’. Let’s see how it all plays out, around the AGH Art Sales and Rental Spring Sale. Our work will be there until the end of May.

So – for us – this is how we are ‘keeping it real’. Trying to accomplish a lot with a little, while not drifting into the dead zone of commercialism. It keeps us engaged and having some fun. And it plays in nicely with my firebrand husband’s political side… in a subtle and quiet way.

So what do YOU think? Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads these posts. Your comments will be much appreciated!

Long Beach, California: Here they come!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
SPRING   18X36″

Hello everyone,

As I mentioned in my last post, four of my wall pieces will be on display at the Janome Sewing Machine booth during the International Quilt Festival , in Long Beach, CA from July 29-31, 2011.

SUMMER 18X36″

The theme for this year’s exhibition is The Four Seasons, which is right up my alley!

AUTUMN  18X36″

So I hope some of you will have a chance to see the show, and drop by at the booth to see my babies. AND – they are for sale, each at $1500.

WINTER   18X36″

So now, you probably think I won’t know what to do with myself. NOT!!!!  In true Roy style, I decided to put all this down time to good use.

So – my husband and I will be part of the Hamilton Open Gardens event at the end of June and start of July. This means our ‘Work in Progress’ gardens will be open for viewing, and our Studio will be open as well. Our dates and hours are Thursday, June 30 to Monday, July 4, from 10-5 pm each day. Of course, you are welcome any time by appointment too, so please contact me if you are in the area. We have lots of new work to show you! At the same time you can take advantage of the trip to visit other Open Gardens in the Hamilton area, hike to our beautiful Webster’s Falls, drop by the Royal Botanical Gardens, or just mosey along King Street in our quaint village of Dundas, enjoying our many restaurants and shops.
Here’s our Google location: Hillcrest Studio.

We look forward to seeing you!

Lorraine

ENCHANTED WOODS  30X10″
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