Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mellifluous Mixolydian

Mellifluous Mixolydian, 5 x 7", watercolor/Neocolor II 
     When the thought first came to mind to pursue some sort of harp therapy training, I looked into a book by Kay Gardner, Sounding the Inner Landscape.  One of the things she considers in this volume is the history and use of musical modes, a subject I find quite intriguing. Gardner gives a bit of history of the modes and where they originated. It turns out that "Mixolydian" is credited by Plutarch to have been developed by Sappho on the island of Lesbos, thus Gardner suggests that "Mixolydian" is rightly named "Lesbian," and that we might make our "own conclusions as to why the Church and other sources named it Mixolydian." She calls this mode, "open and joyful", "extroverted and happy".
      This certainly rings true as I have been practicing and playing in this mode, thanks to the book by Joanna Mell, Modal Musings: Modes & Music.  This delightful volume is part of the Therapy Harp Training Program, the conduit for my pursuit of using the harp to help.  Playing through the original compositions by Mell has helped me to absorb the nature of the modes and identify the modes of common, and not-so-common tunes. The idea of making little paintings representing my interpretation of the modes also came out of this practice. The Mixolydian is indeed an "open and joyful" mode. I find that it easily trips off the fingers and is very much like a skip down a path to the open sea.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lydian Lark

Lydian Lark, 7 x 5", watercolor/neocolor II
    Next stop on my musical modes tour, Lydian. To my ear, this is an odd mode. It strikes me as high key, with irregular steps. Perhaps my painting is too literal in interpreting these characteristics, but I can imagine ascending a path with oddly spaced stones, entering a mystical landscape.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Phrygian Fire and Depth

Phrygian Fire and Depth, 5 x 7", watercolor/Neocolor II
Continuing with my exploration of musical modes (please see my previous post, In the Dorian Wood, January 23, 2015), the painting above illustrates the mood evoked in me by the Phrygian mode. The underlying feeling for me is one of passion. Luther's hymn tune, Aus Tiefer Not plumbs the depth of this mode. I can also envision a tango dancer in red when I hear this mode which straddles a major/minor presence.

Friday, January 23, 2015

In the Dorian Wood

In the Dorian Wood, 5 x 7", watercolor/Neocolor II
I have begun a shift in my endeavors, working toward a focus on creating in a way that serves to comfort and heal in today's world. A big part of this shift involves learning how to make music that helps. Therefore, I am becoming familiar with musical modes--something I had not heard of before--and I am captivated! The enchantment comes from seeing how the same raw material can be rearranged and a totally different feeling emerges. While I am delving into these modes on my harp, landscapes begin to emerge. I thought it would be fun to make little paintings of how the different modes appear to me.
      My first posting will be in the Dorian mode. It is one step up from the starting point, the Ionian mode, which would be C major (or any major).  The Dorian mode has a magical quality that reminds me of being in the woods--my favorite place!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Moon Musings

Blood Moon, 5.5 x 5.5", mixed media
Very early Wednesday morning, I simply walked down my driveway to witness a wonder of our solar system. The earth's shadow slowly covered the moon. When I ventured out, there was already a visible bite taken out of the moon. Shivers ran through me: The universe is so large ! It was a major perspective corrective: the political season we are enduring right now doesn't count for much in the long run.
     The scene was so dramatic, a sound track would have been appropriate. Do you suppose there is a sound of light waves being blocked? I was fascinated to read about the red light that makes its way around the earth light the moon. And light passing through the ozone (which absorbs the red light waves) makes a rim of turquoise around the moon when the eclipse is complete.
     We were only able to see the first half of the spectacle in the eastern U.S. As dawn approached, the moon sunk low and it was a beautiful pink color, almost blending in the the dawn sky and a bit tricky to spot.  I've never seen the moon quite like that before. So I made a painting of that as well.

Pink Moon, 5.5 x 5.5", watercolor/pastel 
    Both of these little paintings will be part of an exhibit at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery, 903 Manchester Street, Distillery District, Lexington, KY in November. Titled Totems, Tales & 'Toons, the exhibit includes drawings (cartoons) by my friend and Rector, Chris Brannock, as well as my paintings of some of my personal totems and tales. We will be part of the Lexington Gallery Hop on November 21, 2014, 5 - 8 pm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Bit of Peace

There is a lot of sorrowful news in the world right now. And closer to home, I have attended several funerals in rapid succession. So, it has been calming and peaceful to work on this painting. A smooth lake is a gentle wonder. This evening was particularly beautiful because the sky was an unusual pink color. The combination of green and pink charmed me and made me think of the heart chakra, which absorbs green and transmits rose. I hope that this scene provides a calming, centering, healing respite for you.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ah, September

Ah, September,  watercolor, 3.9 x 9.8"
I always love when September rolls around. I make vow to savor each day, because this is also a fleeting season (please see The Fleeting Season, 5/9/14, for the Spring version.)  Setting out for a walk this morning, I noticed that leaves from our street oak tree had fallen during last night's rain. The redbud pods are browning and you can see through the green of the leaves to the golden hue which is right around the corner.
        September is a unique month, because it still very much like summer (okay, it still is summer.) In September, is as though the heat and headiness of summer is gathered in a pot and simmered and reduced until it is a tangy elixir ready to be poured over a big pile of crunchy autumn leaves in October. Enjoy it while it lasts!