Monday, January 18, 2010

The Story Continues-"In the midst of it all, there was singing"

Less than a week ago, a horrific earthquake, epicentered in Port au Prince, hit Haiti. Donna Lively Clark, my musician partner in the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra's Notable Arts project, is still trying to get news of a good friend who arrived in the capital last week. It is a very emotional time and an emotional subject. (update: Donna's friend has been located, living on a baseball field, having escaped the school with no means of communication.)

"Danza #4: First Impressions" was finished a week before the tragic disaster. The music piece always projected an underlying sadness to me. Listening to the music as I worked, recalling details of Donna's experiences in Haiti, and viewing photographs of the school and its students and teachers, I was moved to capture the spirit of all of these things: Haitian people, facing difficulties constantly and now, overwhelmingly, and the role that music and art plays in these people's lives. The more I lived with Danza #4, the more I was moved to express through my painting that music and the story it tells of the Haitian experience.

Today, I read news accounts of people in Haiti gathering in the open to sing together, to provide comfort.

Danza #4 inspired me to paint a story and the story has grown bigger.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First Impressions

Welcome! I invite you to read my thoughts about art making (art making is much harder than people think!) and art viewing. I often wonder who stops to think about what purpose art has in today's world and why we are even making art. I welcome your thoughts, too.

So, here's what's been going on:

In the Fall of 2009, I was pleased to be invited to participate in a project called Notable Arts, which pairs a participating Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra musician with an Indiana artist. My partner musician, Donna Lively Clark, a violist with the ICO, selected and played for me music she finds inspirational--------- Danza #4, by Haitian Classical Composer, Ludovic Lamothe. Donna explained that she and other musicians from the United States and other countries travel to Haiti periodically to teach in a music school in Port au Prince and music camps in two small communities outside the city. When introducing me to Danza #4, Donna spoke lovingly of the children and adults who are involved in the Haitian music program and their wonderful spirit despite being confronted with many daily hardships. Donna showed me pictures of the Haitian school and colleagues involved in the school. Last week, I finished the painting, "Danza #4: First Impressions", inspired by Donna, her stories, and Danza #4.

I loved this project------ painting an interpretation of Lamothe's beautiful and haunting music. The music expresses Donna's experience with the music school-----the students, the Haitian adults who run the school and who teach there, the countless dedicated non-Haitian musicians who travel there to teach, the nun who founded the school and those who support it financially.

Art gave me a chance to say something and I am grateful for that opportunity.