Friday 30 September 2022

How Daniel's Hope@Home series inspired a portrait


How Daniel's Hope@Home series 
inspired a portrait

Ever since the violinist Daniel Hope came to my Amsterdam studio in 2015 to make plans to perform music and kinetic painting together* I wanted to make a portrait of him in action. He interviewed me about the nature of my work, with our dear friend Yehudi Menuhin in the background.

The opportunity and inspiration finally presented itself when on March 25th. 2020 Daniel launched his acclaimed Hope@Home recitals, streamed daily from his living-room in Berlin during the lockdown and watched by millions. From the word go, it was clear to me that here was a priceless source of audio-visual references for a portrait-painting. I studied every one of those performances and was entranced throughout. I can finally show you the result, with my comments below.

Daniel Hope, watercolour 77 x 55 cm, 2020

It was quite a challenge to find a way to visualize Daniel's energy, warmth, enthusiasm and intense focus, all in one painting. I could have made ten! But I put together multiple impressions to show how Daniel is seriously enjoying the music, saying, with that characteristic turn of the mouth: hey, listen to this! He's a masterful communicator. His gaze also betrays a deep emotional response to this music. 

The free brushstrokes of this watercolour express Daniel's enterprise and flair, without detracting from his and my attention to detail. I've placed the outer edges of the warm picture-frame on the golden section to underline the balance of the whole. Every other element of my apparently relaxed composition directs our focus to that small area where the momentary contact of bow, fingers and strings produce beautiful music, from a musician who is completely at one with his instrument.

All my thanks, Daniel, for your ongoing inspiration.

* We did indeed perform music and painting together in Berlin and Lübeck in 2016 to celebrate the Yehudi Menuhin Centenary. Painting live kinetic images to Ravel's "Kaddish" with Daniel and pianist Sebastian Knauer was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I also performed with Daniel's Zürich Chamber Orchestra in 2018. The theatrical highlight was undoubtedly Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale in Essen with, Daniel, Benno Schollum and Katja Riemann on June 23rd. 2018, the evening before my 85th birthday. 
Here's the video-link to my Studio rehearsal for Ravel's "Kaddish" (piano Jacques Ammon).
Many of the Hope@Home recitals can still be found on YouTube. 


  1. WOW! this is really inspiring! Thank you.

  2. what a wonderfull painting, and what an inspiring story to paint to! Hope@home, I love it!

    1. ow I commented as anonymous, but it was me!

    2. We enjoyed all the concerts so much, a lot of great musicians in a nice atmosphere. What a good idee of Norman to paint this sympathique and wonderful musician. It is beautiful! I remember you Norman from working with Het Balletorkest in. Amsterdam. Best wishes!

    3. Thanks very much Monique. Ah yes, those were the days with the Ned. Balletorkest!