Sold on Opening Night
Thanks to all who attended the opening reception for The Art of Jazz. What a wonderful night! Fabulous live music by some of Halifax's finest jazz musicians, a terrific turnout and so many wonderful comments on the work. I enjoyed meeting everyone and introducing the paintings that I had so much fun creating. Hope to see you for the Artist's Talk on Sunday, July 10th at 2pm. I'll be talking about the ideas behind the show, the creative process and answering all your questions. I'll also be in the Gallery on Canada Day and each Saturday during July.
My Foolish Heart
Three days before the Opening! Tomorrow the twenty paintings go into the Gallery. Hanging the work can be creative in itself, and I'm always surprised at how different each painting often appears once in the gallery setting. Each painting will be paired with a brief commentary of details on the song that inspired the work, and bits of interesting background. The musicians are preparing and, as always, The Craig Gallery has gone above and beyond. The doors open at 7pm on Wednesday and I look forward to you joining us for art and jazz and great conversation!
Before the excitement of Opening Night, I did want to offer much thanks to Minuteman Press in Dartmouth for their sponsorship. They did a great job printing "The Art of Jazz" invitation ... as always!
Thanks as well to The Coast for featuring the show in their "Hot Summer Guide" and to JazzEast for listing the exhibit on their website. Another great summer of events ahead and Alderney Landing on the Dartmouth waterfront will play host to more than a few! Thanks to Kim Farmer and The Craig Gallery for all the time and energy they give to ensure "The Art of Jazz" is one of those successful summer events.
Well, the time is quickly drawing closer for the "Art of Jazz" opening. I spent the day putting wire on the back of the paintings in preparation for hanging in the Gallery, among the many little details and last minute arrangements required. What starts as such a solitary activity in the studio will soon become quite public. As an artist, showing your work is in many ways climatic. Will visitors understand what you are trying to communicate? What insights and observations will they share with you? How will everyone respond to the show as a whole? This is the opportunity for me, as artist, to finally connect with the viewer through my work and when that work is abstract ... the possibilities are endless at times. I look forward to sharing conversations with fellow artists, lovers of art, lovers of jazz and even those new to the experience of abstract painting. Such is the language of art.
Much of the inspiration for the upcoming exhibit, The Art of Jazz, came from our local jazz scene in Nova Scotia. I couldn't be happier to announce that a group of incredible jazz musicians will be performing live jazz for the opening reception on June 29th including: Paul Barrett is bandleader of the Back Alley Big Band (performing at this year's Jazz Festival on July 10th) and also director of the Nova Scotia Honour Jazz program, Jeff Goodspeed is well known for both his musicianship and his support and promotion of Cuban jazz through his incredible project Los Primos, Dave Burton is an award-winning drummer whose career has taken him around the world, and Geordie Haley is an accomplished guitarist, composer and improviser. The stage is set for fine art and live jazz - see you there!
This weekend I took a break from my exhibit preparations to attend a national conference in Halifax for CARFAC, an organization that promotes the visual arts and defends the rights of professional Canadian artists in all corners of our country. This not only gave me the opportunity to meet and talk with artists from across Canada, but I also attended several sessions on important issues for all artists in our country. We have made progress, but on several fronts, artists still struggle for the respect and recognition allowed so many other professions. Thankfully we have national associations determined to push forward. I applaud my fellow artists coast to coast to coast.
Charlie Parker, or "Bird" as he became known, is a bit of a jazz icon who came to prominence during the 1940's and 1950's. His instrument of choice was the saxophone and many of his compositions became jazz standards. One of these is of course, "Yardbird Suite" which inspired yet another of my paintings. This is a smaller but vivid work with some nice darks and lights. "Lullaby of Birdland" is a sister piece, the music having been written by George Shearing as a tribute to Parker and the Birdland jazz club named in his honour. All of this background helped add the colour to my work. The saxophone is also one of my favourite horns and just seems to play a part in so much of the music.
I've always wished I could play great piano. I can play a bit, but not great. Jazz, for me, needs lots of horns, a master drummer and ... a great musician on piano. There's wonderful piano in George Benson's recording of "This Masquerade" which has always been a favourite of mine - a beautiful song with so much emotion. Look for my painting of the same name in the new exhibit.
"Ashiko" is the name of a drum and the name of a song performed by jazz great Hugh Masekela ... and now a painting in my upcoming solo exhibit "The Art of Jazz." I couldn't resist showing you one of the paintings as a sneak preview! I first heard the song as performed by Masekela and his fantastic band during Halifax's Jazz Festival several years ago. The evening was magical and the air was static with the very best of jazz. I bought the CD and the song became the inspiration for the painting now posted here on my Home page. Each of the paintings in the new show were inspired by a particular jazz song. I am so thrilled to be hosting the show at the wonderful Craig Gallery in downtown Dartmouth on the waterfront. Hope to see you there on June 29th!
Anna Horsnell SCA
Canadian painter of contemporary abstract art