I was hooked on Claude Debussy's music when I first created paintings for The Philadelphia Orchestra, and I continue to be inspired by his music particularly solo piano. I'm currently at work on a new series of large paintings, returning to his revolutionary work for orchestra, La Mer.
Chopin's Etudes (Studies) are famously difficult to play and ravishingly beautiful to hear. The musical form of an étude is short and brilliant. I tried to capture the combination of quiet lyricism and sudden drama that are features of these miniature masterworks. The scale of the paintings is also smaller in keeping with the concept of a "study".
DREAMS & PRAYERS
This exhibition was created for the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art. I began by identifying the most inspiring of the early cantorial masterpieces (singing of prayers) from the Jewish High Holy Days. These paintings are my responses to the deeply expressed emotion of the great 19th c. Ukrainian and French cantors. I also interpreted contemporary musical works by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, who references many of the traditional prayers in his music for string quartet.
Jazz is a musical genre which has endless possibilities for reflective interpretation. Its a refreshing change from classical, and a shot of pure brilliance and color. Whether Big Band or contemporary jazz or improvisation, or the club greats, its all rich material for me. My favorite artists are Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Count Basie, swing music of all kinds.
I sometimes add some moonshine to my traditional oil paint mixtures–such as sparkling black sand–which is micaceous iron oxide–gathered at the edge of the Pacific and used in "Stella by Starlight" for a certain kind of shimmer and mystery as the music expresses so well.
The Koten Engei series is inspired by a concept, derived from the Ukiyo-E 19 c. "Floating World" of the emperor of Japan. "Koten Engei" (which means literally, potted plant) refers to the gardens the emperor brought along as he moved his court along the Tokkaido Road. I love the idea of containerized gardens in motion, and also the thought of each small plant as part of a much larger garden continuum. (See my Blog for upcoming Koten Engei works)