I had not nearly finished my theatre studies back in the days in France, and I was already feeling that becoming a professional actor was probably not meant for me, even if I had not made yet the conscious decision to give up. I was still taking part in thrilling experiences on stages with a dynamic group of young actors, all studying the art of acting, for the better and the worst. Acting is a tough career choice and committing to such endeavour is madness, I still think nowadays. Nevertheless, even if I did not keep it up and went on a different path I took with me to remember many lessons on the fundamentals of art. Lessons on balance of space, rhythm of actions, synergy of forces, body awareness, focusing and concentration of the mind, psychosomatic and the structure of the self, to name only a few. All of which applies to life, all of which, I would discover later with the years and experience, applies to any art practice.
So my theatre studies where not nearly finished I said, and I already endeavoured to teach myself music and the concert flute. It became an addiction, a madness of its own kind, that pulled me completely off any other tracks. I played hours on, absolutely obsessed with my discoveries. Everywhere I went, whatever I did was to feel and play music, any kind of music, with anyone willing to share a moment of freedom. That is what got me hooked most deeply to music: the vessel it shapes for you to ride on and explore the depths of nature and the self and the world and time. I will be forever grateful to the utmost, humbled to the core that such gift was bestowed to me at that time, that I had the chance in my life to improvise with music and dance with liberty and beauty together. I played for many years and had high hope of making a career in music. I learnt other instruments, began composing and leading collective projects. I learnt this fantastic sign language made to direct a group improvisation in real time: Soundpainting. But my love was to severe, my exigence too high and I burnt myself out, not only destroying my sense of self-confidence but both my wrists with repetitive stress injuries. So again, all I was meant to harvest from this love for music was even more lessons on the arts fundamentals and life's intricacies. I took with me to remember lessons on harmony, on presence to the here and now, on the multi-layered nature of sound, on self-discipline, on transcendence and the universal goal of art, and so much more.
I wanted here to share with you some tunes I made that did survive the flood of years that went by since, so you can continue reading with a little musical atmosphere to keep you company while I tell you the rest of today's story.
(Just so you know this You Tube channel is not active anymore, so don't look for content from me in there. If I go and do You Tube content about illustration I'll let you guys know.)
My missing the target and my ambition at playing music for life led me to a profound and painful process. I had to reconsider again my game and decide of a new direction to take. I always had something going on with the arts and I wasn't going to break up this relationship. The first thing that came up, literally out of my survival instinct, was painting. The thought that I had nearly forgotten what got me hooked to reenacting the pain of creation stroke me so clearly: I can't do this, I can't do that, but I always knew how to do THIS! I used to draw a lot while I was a kid and a teenager. And the first college I failed but attempted to enter was the Beaux-Arts right after my leaving-cert in France.
So here I am now. Doing illustration and painting away. Filled and nurtured by all the side-tracking and the getting lost on the way. Beginning to understand where it all links together; realising the core principles below every art practice and consciously transferring now my knowledge to the visual arts. I am on for another crazy ride, trying to contain myself with humility and patience so not to get burn-out again by my own fire.
I went to art college in GMIT Galway and got a BA Honour Degree in Art and Design. Was it a waste of time I still don't know, but it's done.
One thing that sticked with me since my years in theatre, up and through music, into my painting practice is the use of scales. An actor practices scales as much as a musician does; he tries and repeats a set of mimics, or motions, to weave them in his mind and body so he can access them on command while acting on stage. No need to explain why a musician needs practising musical scales. Some do not practice them deliberately but they walk on them anyway. And a visual artist too as many scales he can base his practice upon and purposefully exercise for the sake of knowledge and observation (as opposed to directly experiencing them in making a piece of art).
So finally, onto the purpose of this blog post: my colour scale practice!
This is a series of colour scales I did to get my mind around the blues and ochres relationship. I studied the way the same acrylic Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green react to different earth colours. With columns indicating value and rows indicating hue.
Now, I hope you enjoyed today's story about much more than I intended it to be but here you go.
Have a good and regenerative Sunday! And see you next week for another episode of Trail of Colour! Peace.