Music is woven as tightly as art in my life. I grew up in an a family where playing an instrument was as normal as doing homework or riding a bike. I have actually been playing drums longer than I have been airbrushing. The lines between music and visual art have always been blurred for me. Both forms of creativity share so much. As a result, it is very rare to find me painting without music playing. Music is such an important part of my creative process I can often look at a completed painting and remember the songs that were playing during its creation.
The painting ‘Love Letters’ was a direct result of that connection between art and music. Jason Mraz is a favorite of mine and his style of music seems to get a lot of play while I am working so it seemed a natural subject to paint. I wanted the image to focus on his guitar which is the Taylor NS72ce.
A beautiful guitar made with Indian rosewood and Western red cedar. I also wanted to have the letter symbols that he uses in the painting as well. The letter symbols are made up of simple geometric shapes in primary colors that spell the word ‘LOVE’. To add a visual twist to the painting, I decided to make the letters look like they were made out of glass. This was the first challenge. I needed to get some reference photos to make sure that I was able to capture the light the right way. The people at the local arts and craft stores are pretty much used to my insanity so it was no surprise to see me with a basket full of glass beads, paint and floral wire. They usually don’t even ask me any more. In the end, it was bits of tempered glass and colored Sharpie markers that did the trick. The floral wire glued to the top allowed me to position the pieces for the photo.
Once the reference photos were shot it really was business as usual. The background, guitar and letters were built up layer by layer. I used a small plate of titanium as the substrate because of its incredible luster and amazing archival qualities. As I was working through the painting, I made a call to Larry’s Custom Woodworking to get the frame in process. For this painting, I wanted the frame to match the actual wood of the guitar. That meant the frame would be made of solid Indian Rosewood and the backdrop would be Western red cedar. To take it even one step further, both the frame and backdrop received the same gloss finish that the guitar gets.
Often the music in my life will inspire a painting like this one and sometimes it is the other way around. Regardless though, there will never be one without the other in my studio.