yesterday david wrote these words about his palette. as i read his words, i realized he was conveying many of my own sentiments. with his permission, i have only slightly modified his words this morning to express my own artist palette – my piano. the re-posting of this, and even using the same verbiage, reminds me of the intertwining of all soulful expression. bear with me as i experiment, my words in red, an exploration of two artistic planes running parallel.
true confessions: i never rarely clean my palette the music stand on top of my piano. i like the messy build up of color. color is found in many forms but mostly notebooks and pa-pads, scraps of paper, snippets of tracks recorded on an iriver or an iphone. i like the chunky texture pile. it serves as a gunky history of my work, a genealogy of paintings compositions past and future. and then, over time, it becomes a tactile work of art in its own right. unfettered by any of the mental gymnastics or over-ponderous considerations that plague my “real” work, it is the closest to child-mind that i will achieve. it is accidental. it is free. it is idea, melodic gesture, poetry waiting for notes, phrase waiting for the rest of the lyrics. ready. waiting. free.
this might be a stretch but it is, for me, nevertheless true. i love my palette because it is the place of alchemy in my artist process. it is the true liminal space. long before the space spanning the route taken from introduction to coda. i begin with pure color. i begin with the rest, silence inbetween the notes, the place for breath so you can hear the vibrations of sound. i smash the pure color together with another color and transform it into a third color, the hue i intend. note upon note i build a melody, smashing note upon note i build a small unaccompanied orchestra of harmony, the hue i intend. on a palette, color becomes intention. sound becomes intention. and then, once transformed, with a brush or knife i lift the color-intention from my palette and in an action that is often more responsive than creative, i place it onto a canvas. i play, i listen, i play again. i lift it from the keys of my palette and place it onto the canvas of paper, attempting to capture the fleeting moment it has created and etch it into a piece of music that can be repeated, played again. it transforms yet again relative to all the color it touches. it transforms yet again relative to the air in the room, the echo of an intention, the listening ear it touches. an image emerges. more color is called for. it emerges, this composition of music, and more color is called for.
and, somewhere in this call and response of color, i become like the palette. the pass-through of alchemy, the door that color passes through en route to something beautiful. and somewhere in this call and response of color, i become like the palette. the pass-through of alchemy, the door that color passes through en route to something beautiful. this! can there be a more pure statement of artistry? and, in the process, perhaps i, too, in my messy build up of life/color, grow closer to that child mind. unfettered. accidentally interesting. free. and in the process, perhaps i, too, in my messy build up of life/color, grow closer to that child mind. unfettered. accidentally interesting. free. the rest between the notes. the breath of music on the air.
“You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough” ~ William Blake i paint. i write. i compose. i don’t know what is enough until i know what is more than enough. truth.