Painting Inspired by Music

I grew up surrounded by art and music. My parents had books on Picasso and Impressionism and Salvador Dali, which I spent hours paging through. I was fascinated and comforted by the beautiful paintings. My mother was a talented artist (her paintings filled our home) and my father played piano like a professional musician. My four brothers and sisters and I all took piano. We all practiced every day – so there was rarely a moment that live music was not ringing through our house.

I started relating visual art to music very early. Our Steinway Grand piano was enthroned in the living room of our home. It stood tall, shiny, and black against the large blue and white oriental rugs lining the floor. My parents carefully saved their money to buy these treasured things. The living room walls were decorated with the large, colorful and masterful paintings my mother had created. So her paintings were like a backdrop for the classical music voicing from that gorgeous piano. The Catholic Church was also filled with art images – paintings of saints and statues of Jesus and Mary. While I studied these during long church services, beautiful hymns played on the organ. Often by my father! There was a peaceful and natural relationship between the two art forms.

When I started painting in my 20’s, one of my first works was an abstract oil painting which my sister now owns. It is called “Music.” I didn’t really think much about it. Painting music was as natural to me as enjoying a long walk in the country. It was effortless and enjoyable and fulfilling.

When I had my first solo art exhibition in 2015, I started listening to Beethoven as a break from thinking about how scary my show was to me! I was very nervous and was preparing 40 paintings. The pressure was enormous. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata is one of my very favorite music pieces and I probably played it over 200 times during the months before my show. The largest painting for my show turned out to be a visual representation of that beautiful and slowly building work of genius by Beethoven. I only realized it after I had finished the painting. I looked at it and suddenly saw the Moonlight Sonata rising in deep colors from the base of the painting and extending into white pieces of light at the top. The slow moving blacks and blues and shimmery layered greens lay on top of turquoise and white shards – which play out as the note structure in the Moonlight Sonata. I titled it Moonlight Sonata (thank you note to Ludwig) as a tribute to the music genius who really helped me finish my work for the show.

To my absolute joy, the painting ended up being acquired by visionary art and music patron, Liz Stratton, who gave the work as a gift to the brilliant pianist, Eldar Djangirov, for his New York City home. Eldar’s “Embraceable You” is a stunning masterpiece, along with all of his incredible performances. Liz had the painting framed by Tim Ward of the incomparable Ward & Ward Fine Arts in Kansas City. Tim represents my work in Kanas City and introduced Liz to my paintings.

I hope you enjoy looking at the painting and listening to one of my favorite versions of the Moonlight Sonata. The link is below – along with links to Eldar’s music and framing masters Ward & Ward.

Moonlight Sonata: