Friday, January 7, 2011

How is a Painting like a Symphony?

Mimed Words   © Kathryn Dettwiller 2007    Encaustic Monoprint   18 x 24"

At the Nashville symphony last night I was struck by the similarity of the conductor to an artist.  The conductor leads the grouping of players and instruments much like the artist orchestrates a painting.

  • He (in this case) chooses the format, a concerto, overture, symphony, etc : the artist chooses and creates the form...the design and structure of the work, selects the subject matter and the materials that best express the intended meaning
  • He establishes a general rhythm:  the artist sets the flow in the 2-dimensional plane (or 3-dimensional, if the artist sculpts)
  • He calls on various instruments to take charge at a particular moment: the artist may allow one element, such as color or line, to take charge on the picture plane (the surface of the art)
  • He summons a little bit of this instrument and more of that one: the painter employs the tools of most art... line, color, value, texture, and shape... to create the minor and major areas of the picture
  • He can quiet down or emphasize a section of the orchestra: the artist uses a variety of methods to accomplish these actions...tone, placement, color, quality of line (thick, thin, ragged or smooth, etc), horizontal or vertical shapes
  • His intent is to leave the listener with an experience: the artist's intent is to leave the viewer with a pictorial experience
Do you agree? 


    Natasha Papousek said...

    Nice analogy! Works very well with painting.

    Denise Bellon West said...

    Yes, that is a great analogy! And let's not forget the mood or feeling that a composer wants to create. He/she knows what chords to use to evoke certain emotions, the strength or softness of the instruments.

    Likewise, the artist, can use different color schemes, different edge detail, or different color harmony or discord to evoke certain emotions. Loneliness, darkness, elation, happiness, sadness, romance, etc.

    Kathryn said...

    Thanks for the comments! It is all related.

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