Thursday 23 April 2020

Songs for sax and voices

Songs for sax and voices

Who remembers the 1994 ECM Records album Officium? The legendary producer Manfred Eicher brought jazz and experimental saxophonist Jan Garbarek together with early music vocal group the Hilliard Ensemble: the collaboration became a world hit. 

These sacred 13th -16th century songs float upwards and reverberate in the acoustics of an Austrian monastery, seemingly suspended in space, while Garbarek improvises, meandering around and through these vocals with subtle, brilliant and mysterious colours. The whole takes us out of this world, to some other level. Listening again after twenty-five years, I found myself entranced, inspired to improvise my own clouds of multi-layered watercolour. 
Watercolour 68 x 50 cm. And below a close-up 

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Pool your energy!

Pool your energy!

I first performed with the fabulous Dutch Circle Percussion ensemble in 1978, then regularly for thirty years or so. Here's a demonstration of how paintbrushes and drumsticks can fuse fluid and rhythmic energy. The advantage of analogue overhead projectors is that you can paint kinetic images on their plates in synch with the music, and project the visuals directly onto these great Japanese drums. The movements of the drummers combined with my brushstrokes and the organic spread of my colours are really quite theatrical.

These stills are taken from an 8 min. video that we made nearly ten years ago. We did four takes of Harumi in one day - talk about the need for stamina! But you need to see the real action, so Here's the link. Go to full screen, turn the sound right up, hold on to your seats and feel the vibe! 
At the end of the day

Here's a link to the home page of Circle Percussion 

Thursday 9 April 2020

Why hast thou forsaken me?

"......Why hast thou forsaken me?"

These words are often remembered as one of the seven last sayings of Jesus, as he hung on the Cross. Saturated as he was with the words of the Old Testament, he was intuitively quoting the desperate cries of Psalm 22, written by his ancestor the poet David, in his own darkest times.
watercolour and oil pastels, 35 x 45 cm. 2020

My painting is an expression of deepest sympathy for those thousands worldwide, believers or non-believers now at their wits end, with a terrible sense of solitude, raising their hands with the gesture common to us all. Reaching up from the dark place in which they find themselves, searching for some source of energy, some beam of light and hope. 

But come what may, despite the darkness of my painting, one thing is certain -  it's already history. Day will follow night and the cycle of nature will continue. But that's another painting........