How to Listen

The Musicality of the Eye is always at play.

Cecil Touchon

What I will be trying to do with this site ‘ is to communicate with you my basic theories of how to make visual art that encourages a musical reading.

I have been working out these ideas for more than 40 years and I am finally ready to commit these thoughts to words.

Visual art is a silent language that depends on the viewer to understand what is being seen and how to go about looking at it.

Since most decisions by artists, while they are working,  are made in silence and a state of intuitive wordlessness, it is hard for them to interpret in language what is happening visually.

In the art departments around the world art students are required to critique each other’s works. This is not for any other benefit than to be able to convert responses about non-verbal things into language. Students are often flummoxed by this process because, frankly, they come to realise that firstly, we often never convert or interpret the experience of seeing into language and secondly we realize that we, perhaps have never actually analyzed what we are seeing or how we look at it to the extent that we can articulate it in words.

I personally still don’t have command of all the necessary technical language that I really need to explain in detail what I am hoping to tell you but maybe that is best. As I often say, ‘I am still learning english’ and it is my native tongue.

Over the last year I have been digitizing all of my sketchbooks and works on paper that are still in my posession. Above are some ink drawings from the early 1980s. When I look back through everything, I realize that this idea of musicality has been working around in my mind my entire adult life.

So with the help of this blog I will be trying to compile my thoughts on the subject and try to show the evolution of my ideas on this topic.

The idea of moving the viewer’s eye around a painting has been in play as far back as the Renaissance at least and the relation of painting to musicality is not new either. Painters are often envious of composers and the other way around as well, each thinks the other is working in a superior medium and they are both right.

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