For me, painting is all about music. I spent years learning classical piano–practicing scales, getting all the notes right, learning to interpret Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, et al. I was pretty adept at at. Good enough that one of my teachers said, “One day you could teach piano.” What? That didn’t sound so good to me. What I wanted to do was to be able to play the way the greats of jazz and blues play.
I wanted to be free of the notes on the page. I wanted to leave behind the years and centuries of “this is the way it’s meant to be” and simply let the music take me where it wanted to go.
At the piano this was impossible for me. I was tied to those black and white keys and the notes on the page. As a child, even in my early forays into the art world, my teachers tried to tie me to the notes. There were rules for drawing and painting, just as there were for playing classical piano.
It was fifty years before I discovered the key that wiped out the notes. Acrylic paint! Smooth, creamy colors, just waiting to be squeezed out of tubes. Blank canvas that could become anything I imagined. Nobody standing over me saying, “Do it this way. Follow the rules.”
I couldn’t do what I dreamed of on the piano. I couldn’t get beyond the notes. My fingers weren’t trained for that. But I can do it on canvas. The music is in my head, and it comes out through my fingers as atmospheric abstract paintings. It’s the music that drives me, inspires me, leads me to what ultimately shows up in my paintings. Color, light, improvisation, a spirit of adventure, a desire to see what will happen if I use this color in this way or that. If I splash it or pour it or rub it into the canvas. I don’t need to see a model or a sheet of paper with notes on it or a sunset
I don’t paint what I see. I paint what I hear. When you look at my paintings, I hope you, too, will hear the music.