Did you know that art is often compared to music. We talk about paintings being in a certain Value Key. We can ask questions such as does it, the painting, have a high or low pitch. And when considering the work over all, we might also ask the question -
What does the music of the work ‘sound’ like?
If your painting is a symphony or a song, what kind of piece is it? A musical - frivolous and light weight, up tempo and happy? Or is it heavier - ponderous. If you think of a Rembrandt portrait for example, would you compare it to a rock song, a waltz or Beethoven’s fifth Symphony?
When you are choosing what to paint, particularly if you are stuck and don’t know what to paint, think about mood first before subject. How are you feeling? Do you want to explore that feeling at a deeper level through your work? Or perhaps you would like to explore a different mood.
If you decide to choose something different, begin by thinking about a time when you experienced that.
Is there a piece of music you associate with that time? If so search it out and play it. Get a sketch pad and put down some ideas that speak to you of that time.
Are there specific images, or places? What was iconic for you about that time and place? Feel the mood.
When you feel that mood, what colours spring to mind - first impressions are important here. If there is one colour that stands out, think about the rest of the palette you might develop from that.
Again depending on the signature you are looking for, it will influence your colour choices and your tonal selections. If you are drawn to certain colours, listen to your instincts on that. Always come back however to the mood, because that is your blueprint, your map. That will tell you if your choices are on key or off.
When you think about this more deeply it becomes apparent that there are many similarities between music and art.
Pix: My creation with help of Jim Osment Aus - steam punk guitar.