The heat has finally left. The conservatory welcomes each morning with atmospheric conditions. Pale grey skies pierced by cold sunlight. Clouds skim across the horizon , gulls ,rooks and jackdaws wheel and scatter in the wind .A candle burns in the hearth.The land calls . STANAGE, BLEAKLOW, MINNINGLOW, STANTON, PARSLEY HAY, HARTINGTON STATION. The frivolity of my summer works ,full of color ,life and jazz stare back at me from the walls of my studio and house. They know I’m hearing another voice . The sound of winter. CAIRN , CHAMBER , OLD PATH , BARROW , ALCHEMY , ANCIENT, ENTRANCE , SKY ,STRONGHOLD , FIRE , LAYER , STRONGHOLD , AIR , WATER .
My playlist is full of names such as : Tim Berne , Ketil Bjornstad , Iro Harla , Aaron Parks, Arve Henriksen.
Horizons are Low again.
I really enjoyed SALON OPEN at the Old Lock Up Studio in Cromford. Hosted by Rachel and Clay 25 artists were able to exhibit work . My offerings were ” One Word” and “Zen Smile ” both 12×12 acrylic on canvas.
I am really happy to have two works included at “SALON OPEN” The Old Lock Up Studio Cromford on October 19th .Looks like being an amazing evening!
Our evening at Bank Street Arts was a wonderful experience . Jim Ghedi played music from his “Satori ” album , while I “interpreted his music on canvas. The audience paid us huge respect both during and after the performance . A real thrill and honor.
“Jim Ghedi ‘s music is transformational and Keith How‘s paintings make that transformation visible. Fantastic shared experience at Bank Arts tonight as part of Sensoria!”
This evening then……….
“Jim Ghedi is an acoustic guitarist and songwriter whose unconventional finger-picking style connects the roots of Folk, Spiritual Jazz and Eastern & African music.
Going under a title called ‘Afro folk jazz’, which displays a spiritual direction and human consciousness, his music connects the dots from a wide range of different areas in a unique style that makes him an unpredictable and intriguing musician to watch and listen to. Jim will play a 45 minute set whilst artist Keith How creates abstract paintings in the gallery.”
One or two people have enquired what I mean by ‘Performance Painting” so it seems appropriate to try and give some form of explanation of what it means to me.
My first (unknowing) attempt at live painting was when I was 17 in 1967 when I painted a psychedelic mural on my bedroom wall while listening to “Sgt. Pepper” . My parents were not impressed. From then on album artwork was almost as important as that lovely round 12″ of vinyl. I would sketch and paint while listening to Pink Floyd ,Yes, Soft Machine etc. on my headphones. I always loved special effects at gigs – atmosphere enhances the experience.Unknowingly a connection had been made.
When I returned to painting many years later I was watching the band “These Monsters” in their jazz rock days. From nowhere my head was filled with shapes and colors as the music surrounded me . I just had to paint that sound! A further encouragement came while listening to Gregor Kurtag’s E.C.M. album “Kurtagonals”. The brooding dark electronica fuelled a series of works I called” Keefagonals” .This series was exhibited in Finland . One buyer confided almost apologetically that the picture she had chosen had “spoken to her”! I have always painted while listening to music but the “Keefagonals” experience helped make a real connection between color and sound.
So what actually happens? For me, an empty space and sound. Waiting and interpreting. Letting the music become one with color and them fuse together then expressing the connection in a visual context. The results are unique and cannot be repeated and the live experience is an experimental/sensory journey.
When I began to explore this way of working I had no idea of the long tradition of pictorial abstraction , the synthesis of sound and color . My major exhibition with potter John Rogers this year was totally inspired by The Mahavishnu Orchestra and the poetry of Sri Chimnoy . The exhibition was entitled “Between Nothingness and Eternity” . I painted a picture to represent each album track.
Being invited to collaborate with Jim Ghedi on his “Satori” project has encouraged me to continue to explore this media further. I understand this is a simplistic explanation of what is a complex subject , I may understand more as I go on.
Further reading ” The Sound of Painting (music in modern art”) Karin V. Maur (Prestel 1999).
Further listening : The Mahavishnu Orchestra ” Birds of Fire”. Gregory Kurtag “Kurtagonals”.