Many writers and artists will be able to attest to the power of music in the creative process. Music has an incredible ability to emote.
Music has often inspired both my writing and my art. Images and words will come to mind when listening to any kind of music. I love classical, electronic and ambient music. Even the occasional pop song might spark something – love, sadness, longing…
Once in a while, though, I am inspired by the objects that make music.
My paternal grandfather used to play guitar and sing popular songs from the thirties that he might have learned while working on the railroad in the farthest parts of Northern Ontario. I remember him playing “You are My Sunshine” the most. He passed away in 1994.
When I moved in with my grandmother to attend college for graphic design a couple years later, I rediscovered his 1952 Gibson guitar. I was searching for things to photograph for a black and white darkroom class. I wanted a reflective surface so I could play with light effects. I scrunched up some foil and shot a spotlight on it. The result was an almost abstract image. I loved it. I am not sure that anyone else knew what it was. The image meant a lot to me for both the visual meaning and the memory of its sound.
Several years after that, I was going through my original college portfolio and I found the photograph. I felt like it could say even more as a painting. I embellished the metal parts as they are chromed on the original instrument, but I felt brass was better for the painting. I was very pleased with the results and I think my grandfather would have liked it very much.
I don’t play guitar, so it has been silent for many years now. To see the painting, instead, now reminds me of the music it once played and the love that inspired it….