Why Instruments? Reflections on the variety of reasons why I paint musical instruments.
Lately, I've been asked if instruments are the only thing that I paint. As a working artist, I paint anything that my clients ask me to paint. I spend more time on client work than I do on my own work, but I make time to work on my own projects on the weekends and evenings. The decision to focus my work on musical themes was a very deliberate choice for me.
I have dozens of instruments around me and in my home. We have a grand piano, a variety of guitars and ukuleles, a viola, and a cajón. Our most recent purchase was a djembe made in Africa. It makes sense for me to paint what I know, and our love of music is part of what makes my family special. My husband teaches music and our home is filled with music. My husband loves my art and supports my desire to paint more. He knows how grateful I am to find the time to paint.
The musician’s journey parallels my own journey as a visual artist.
Deeper than my family’s support, the instruments and musicians who play them resonate with my journey as an artist. The musicians who play these instruments know what it feels like to practice a single detail for hours. They obsess over details that their listeners might not even consider. They search for validation and acclaim. They struggle to pay the bills with their art. They understand how it feels to tell themselves that if only they could be just a little better, be heard by more people, or get just a little more exposure, they might “make it.”
As a celebration of my faith, I hope to be instrument of God.
Alongside the inspiration from the musicians who are my friends and family, there is a more spiritual reason I’ve chosen instruments as a focus in my work. By celebrating these brightly colored artist’s tools, I hope to be an instrument of hope and love in God’s beautiful world. We are all like instruments playing a carefully arranged composition. I hope to lift my voice up to anyone who will listen and be an instrument of joy and bright color.
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