Music has a profound affect on people, it has the power to move people to tears of pain or joy. So it’s no surprise that people claim it affects their artwork. Both are sensory mediums that tap into our emotions but how much does one affect the other? I have done a little searching and this is what I have found. A great article called painting music: rhythm and movement in art, discusses the direct influence music has on an artist’s artwork. What I found exciting about this article was music opened doors
to other possibilities for artists.
“By listening to music and emulating it in their work, artists have discovered unconventional techniques in their art-making approach.”
Artist’s are allowing the music to have a direct impact on what and how they paint. Certain sounds and instruments represent certain colours. Artists are listening and putting the colour on the canvas. I wonder how many artists are doing this subconsciously? It makes sense for abstract artists to freely put paint on canvas what they feel and hear but could artists who paint representational art also be susceptible?
“... nonrepresentational art reflecting its relationship with music and the belief that, like music, art is created from the depths of one’s inner self and the purest way to express this is without recognizable imagery.”
It is interesting that the writer believes that recognisable imagery holds artists back from pure creativity. I do disagree with this. I believe you can reach that inner depth and create a recognisable image. For example, artist Bob Booth’s technique is exploratory, he doesn't import images from observations or his imagination, he watches the images appear on the canvas as he makes his marks. He believes the art we create is bigger than ourselves something outside of ourselves that influences a piece of work. I think music could contribute to this outside force, telling the artist where to put brushstrokes and what colours to use. The painting above is by artist Bob Booth, 'The Dream of Jacob'.
“Perhaps it is partly this that drives us to be creative the sense that what could be made is more than we can make.”- artist Bob Booth.
Some artists experience synaesthesia, a condition that blends senses, where hearing sounds one can see certain colours and vice versa. The senses cross over, when one sense is percieved another is experienced. An example is when an artist experiencing synaesthesia hears a sound of a trumpet and sees orange. This seems to be something that people are born with rather than something that can be learned. It’s easy to see how this experience would directly impact on artists work especially those that succumb to whatever sensation they experience.
Artist Brandy Gale experiences synaesthesia with her artwork. Her paintings range from quite abstract to representational. The paintings where the colours are striking makes me wonder if she was hearing music with bold sounds at the time. Her plein air painting allows her to capture the essence of the place where she is painting using all her senses with her synaesthesia condition. She shares her synaesthesia experiences with audiences, she paints in a public place with a live band allowing her senses to cross and the canvas to fill with paint. A painting by Brandy Gale is to the right, Coastal Synaesthesia (Bonny Doon at Golden Hour).
I am led to question what impact music has for those artists who don’t experience synaesthesia. With its evocative power surely an artist makes strokes a little differently depending on what music they’re listening to. Perhaps it helps artist tap into their intuitive mind and can do what the outside forces are telling them then what they feel they should be doing.
I have found some blogs where artists write that their work is affected by music but none seem to say how they paint differently because of it. I will continue to search for more answers on this subject. Please comment below if your artwork is directly affected by music and if you know, please write the changes you’re aware of.
SourcesBy Trinity Paintbox