Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Music & Painting

I think that one of the things I admire most about jazz musicians is their ability to just "read" one another, to know wordlessly where the other is going and to stay in synch.

I've experienced a taste of this a few times before. I think of it as a dance, a multi-faceted improvisation in which the many become the one. It is an intense intimacy, bewildering and beautiful.

I'm beginning to learn the nuts-and-bolts of such improv work. I'm surrounded by some incredibly gifted AND hard-working musicians who have known their craft for many more years than I, and I've been gifted with the serendipitous opportunity to play alongside them even though I'm a "nobody." I'm humbled and I feel compelled to soak up as much of it as I can each time we practice. I learn something new about myself and about music every time.

Visual arts, however, occupies a completely different niche within me. Painting is about freedom, license, opportunity, creativity. I'm free to exercise my fearlessness and boldness in the stroke of my brush or the puddle of color, without any strings or fetters... without a net, without help.

In music, I can "solo" but I don't seem to revel in it quite as much as I enjoy painting. Music, for me, is about a group effort. The end result is more than just me, and I don't enjoy "standing out" as a key player.

Painting, on the other hand, is all about me, about what I can do all by myself. I don't like consulting anyone else regarding my technique or my choice of subject matter or color. I don't enjoy collaborating on visual arts matters.

It's interesting to me how different the two forms of art are for me.

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