Tuesday 11 June 2013

The painting of Bryn

Chatting with a Musical Giant at Symphony Hall

   Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Photo copyright: Alan Wood.

My painting of Bryn Terfel as Der Fliegende Holländer got a very warm reception from the special guests in the Director’s Room at Symphony Hall on June 7th. The congenial giant himself voiced his approval – which is what the public wants to hear and what every artist treasures most. But although I got caught up in the palpable enthusiasm from all sides, playing the game of meet and greet and enjoying the “buzz” and the wide-spread media attention, inside was a sort of strange detachment. I was actually thinking back to the creation of this work.

The most exciting time for me was the making of this painting - overcoming the “stage-fright” when faced with that large sheet of white Arches 300gms paper. (84 x 56cm is large for a watercolour!). Waiting for the right moment for my own “downbeat” – then the first brush-strokes, with Bryn’s strong voice in Wagner’s opera filling my studio and driving me on. Also the astonishment at what I could achieve (after a lifetime of practising) and the delight of the wet glowing watercolour. It’s like a performance. The painting has to sing!

Of course it’s nice to see the painting well-framed and given its place in such a prestigious concert hall, but looking back to the excitement of those creative days, that’s really what you want to tell them all about! Of course, by the time everybody’s said all those How do you do’s, there isn’t much of a chance. Thanks for being there, Jayne (Cadbury), but thanks especially for that creative opportunity!

What is thrilling is that, now there are almost thirty paintings in this unique Collection, my long-felt wish to exhibit these works to the public is now finding a response from those who may be able to make this happen. A properly curated exhibition, including a selection from hundreds of my other musical paintings, would make a great retrospective for me and a great tribute to Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and its visionary Director Andrew Jowett.  There’s lots of planning to be done!


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