Instrumental Exhibition Opens March 4 at Columbia Center for the Arts

A preview of paintings made for the Instrumental Exhibition showing March 4th thru April 2nd, 2016 at Columbia Center for the Arts.

A preview of paintings made for the Instrumental Exhibition showing March 4th thru April 2nd, 2016 at Columbia Center for the Arts.

The painter dances a brush across the paper. The violinist paints notes in somber blues

Within the creative process we cross between forms using technique and perspective from one art form to reveal nuance in another. The Instrumental collaboration offered a unique opportunity to cross between the art and craft of instrument making and painting to explore a music that weaves the two forms together.

For the collaboration, I visited the workshop of luthiers Gordon and Char of Mya-Moe Ukuleles. Inside their shop beautiful curls of wood shavings litter the floor and there is a sweet smell of freshly cut hardwood. While visiting the shop I watched Gordon fashion bone to make the nut and saddle that would seat strings on a waiting ukulele and Char shape the back of an instrument with quick repeated passes across a curved sandpaper cradle. I was struck by the earthiness of the materials and process and found inspiration in the quiet inner method that each luthier held, balancing between the kerf of an exacting saw blade and the intuition of muscle memory, perhaps its own luthiers’ song.

Inside my studio are sheets of cotton watercolor paper, tubes and vessels of paint, and water. My tools are the pencil, paintbrush, and imagination. As I made each painting for Instrumental, I thought of the calm method and rocking motion of sanding and planing wood to perfection and wanted the colors and feel of each piece to reflect this luthier calm. Just as the luthier works one-to-one with an instrument to fashion each part, so too the musician works one-to-one to find a song among the fingerboard and strings. Several paintings within this body of paintings are imaginative portraits of animals with instruments that I hope capture the solitary portrait of a luthier and their craft, a musician and their song, both imbued with an underlying vision and imagination that each must hold in order to hear and see a world of music within a cut of wood. 

The Instrumental paintings were made using watercolor, gouache, India and walnut inks on 140 lb cotton watercolor paper. They were drawn and painted at my studio in Trout Lake, Washington. 


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