Painting on Silence I knew from the moment our final task was

Painting on Silence
I knew from the moment our final task was announced that I would work on a
painting. I’ve dabbled in several forms of visual art in the past, and painting has always
been my favorite. I think that is because of its emphasis on color. The medium allows so
much more to be expressed with color than can be captured with most other art forms.
And something about blending colors, guiding paint along a surface, and layering
pigments is so soothing. I chose painting because I love to paint, and I do not get the
chance to do it often.
Since this would be my first painting in a while, I wanted it to be meaningful. So I
found inspiration in one of my favorite quotes, one by conductor Leopold Stokowski; “A
painter paints his pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” This
quote resonates with me because it links art and music, both of which I love, and puts
such an interesting perspective on the very abstract art of music. I decided I would paint
the creation of music on silence, represented by a musician painting his music onto the
sky. I placed him in a wooded setting because it seems to me the most natural
representation of the world. I toyed with the idea of placing him in a city for a while but
decided it would detract from the idea of sending music out into the world. And in my
opinion, the wooded view typical of New England is the most beautiful thing in the
world. I love escaping from the city to Vermont with my family.
This painting took me just over two days to complete. I chose a long,
horizontally-oriented panoramic canvas because it would allow me to focus on the
expanse of sky I would paint (and the forests of Vermont that I adore). I should also note
that this was my first time painting on a stretched canvas, and found the new texture
pleasing to work with. I had only ever painted on paper, panels, and theatrical canvases. I
used acrylic paint because I am most comfortable with acrylics. I began with a dark blue
wash over the entire area I would cover to give the color of the final product more
saturation. I spent the most amount of time on the forest - it was difficult to paint a
realistic forest because of the variety in shape, size, texture, and color of trees found in
real forests. But I’m rather please with the way it turned out. I painted the river with very
watered-down acrylic paint to be able to express more movement. The sky took a while
as well because it was difficult to paint exactly the right gradient since I was only using
primaries and black and white. When I was happy with it I continued on to the figure
sitting in the foreground and the music coming out of his sax.
I’m glad I had the chance to paint again this semester. I have never had any
formal training in art - art classes were impossible to get into in high school and I could
never afford lessons. So it has always been difficult to improve as an artist. This project,
by forcing me back into painting, has made me determined to do everything I can to start
taking art classes at Hunter. It has forced me to do something I love but was reluctant to
pick up again out of frustration. And for that I am extremely grateful. Art, and especially
painting, brings so much into my life. Once it is back, it makes me realize that without it I
was living in silence.