Several years ago, violinist Daniel Heifetz and soprano Carmen Balthrop played Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise in my studio while I painted. The paintings, the wood floor acoustics, together with the audience as participants in this salon experience helped to create a series of opportunities that were the genesis of the works exhibited here. From this initial experience there emerged a number of performances for the three of us.
Daniel Heifetz performed the Rachmaninoff piece in a joint concert with Carmen Balthrop at the Kennedy Center. At the conclusion of the Marian Anderson Voice Competition, Judge Carmen Balthrop sang while I painted on stage with her. More of these collaborative concerts followed. Later, Daniel Heifetz and I performed two concerts with violin and painting that led to my being invited to paint with young string players at the Heifetz String Institute in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. In all, almost 40 paintings were produced during these collaborations.I used acrylic paint, sometimes pastel and charcoal for the stage paintings, but a problem I faced was 15 minutes was not enough time to finish the paintings during the actual concerts. So the challenge became how to complete these works without altering the original statements?
In 2005, I began adding diluted layers of oil paint often fortified by lavender and poppy seed oil and most recently with Galklyd and Liquin (the new resins) to my collaborative music paintings. Application of thin and transparent layers allowed me to finish them without changing their fundamental structure.
Another important influence was that after being given the oil paints that once belonged to Ellen Gelman by the Kossow/Gelman family following her death, I developed a new, subtle and vibrant palette. I had explored painting concepts and ideas during frequent vigorous discussions with Ellen. Color was Ellen’s thing; my palette was mostly limited to black and white or black and white with one
sometimes extremely thin, supporting color. With Ellen’s colorful paint there was an explosion of the Gelman palette on my canvasses. The expression of space formed with music found completion with the application of fine surface over-layers with the abundant palette of Gelman’s paint These paintings are the result.