SOME PEOPLE CAN hear colors. Others can see musical tones. But what if you had a bit of both abilities? You'd have to try and explain it to people. That's what my "Quavers" are about: Synesthesia. The dictionary defines synesthesia as, "the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body." Turns out I must be what's called a double synesthete; I sense a frequency—like a humming, quivering, or vibrating from colors similar to what we experience from musical tones, and the same in reverse, i.e, musical tones provide a visual quavering of colors. What's weird is, you can tune them up together.
I didn't realize I had this form of perception until I was in my thirties; I'd never even heard of the ability. But I recall having clues that something was up. For example, the first time I saw an Alexander Calder mobile sculpture, I remarked excitedly that he was showing a perfect pitch middle C. No one knew what the heck I was talking about. I remember, too, as a teen, watching the movie Close Encounter of the Third Kind... when they try to communicate with the aliens, they play a musical phrase while flashing a matching color phrase. I noticed that they didn't really match up; they were botching it. It's no wonder the aliens left.
With Quavers, I decided I try to show what each note in the standard scale "looks" like. "Looks" isn't the right word because it's more how it visually vibrates or quivers. I create these blobs of colors that serve as kind of Quija board paddles that I can move around the picture to "tune" the overall painting so the net vibration is exactly that of the corresponding musical note. I work at the piano and painting simultaneously. Once the painting is tuned up, I lock it down and ad a single overall ground and fluttery stuff to show it's shivering. This is an ongoing series and I've been doing them because when color and musical frequencies align, you get a wonderful sense of connectedness to the world.
Quavers | "Between G & G Sharp" | 2009 | Oils, acrylics, dies and bleach with ceramic adhesives and photo collage on masonite | 36" X 48"
Quavers | "Between G & G Sharp" | Approximate unframed scale view
Quavers | "Between C & C Sharp" |2009 | Oils, acrylics, dies and bleach with ceramic adhesives and photo collage on masonite | 48" X 60"
Quavers | "Between C & C Sharp" | Approximate unframed scale view
Quavers | "Between E Sharp & F" | |2009 | Oils, acrylics, dies and bleach with ceramic adhesives and photo collage on masonite | 48" X 60"