Moonlight Serenade I
30" x 40" oil on canvas
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Moonlight Serenade II
40" x 30" oil on canvas
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New Expression - Serenade Series
"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul."
-- Vassily Kandinsky
I have started a new series of oil paintings called Serenade. Three recent canvases are represented on this page.
When I was young, my mother took me to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. While we were standing in front of the four large panels by Vassily Kandinsky, she told me to keep looking at the paintings until I heard music. I waited for quite some time for sounds to emanate from behind the canvases. I strained my ears as noisy museum visitors quickly passed. Mom explained to me that the music was within me, within the artist, and within the paint – and I needed to ignore the static and twin my psyche with Kandinsky’s symphony. Later in life when I studied Kandinsky, I became fascinated by his aesthetic vision and the intersection of art and music.
Music is an essential element of my painting. Sometimes the music is literal – as when I play a specific song or artist in my studio during my creative process. I listened to "Natural Born Killers" while painting "Black and Blue and Red All Under." As a child, I observed my mother doing this – for example, her canvas "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was created in 1972 while listening to the Beatles’ song by the same name.
At other times, the music is internal. My Serenade Series captures a musical rhythm within as I peer through an opening in my psyche at moonlight reflections on water. This is my Jungian dreamscape, and I invite the viewer to leave the comfort of the cave and dive below surface to discover the anima and animus serenading the soul – sometimes in harmony and sometimes in tension. Perhaps this is similar to the experience of the prisoners in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave? The chaos and confusion are abstracted in layers of multiple hues surrounding the opening to the reflective watery moonscapes. The titles are reminiscent of penetrating melodies from my life: Moonlight Serenade, Moonlight Sonata, and the only song that my father could play on the piano, Moon River.
24" x 96" oil on canvas