A Riff on Blue - 2016
Solo show at Gallery 66 NY
Cold Spring, NY
A Riff on Blue's style draws on a series of paintings I did between 2010 and 2012 and in the 1990s.
A RIFF ON BLUE - For some time I had wanted to do a series of paintings in variations of blue. I was driving home from somewhere listening to “Real Jazz” on SiriusXM. Ella Fitzgerald was singing Blues in the Night. When I got home, my husband was playing Miles Davis’s album Kind of Blue. All these coincidences decided it for me. I would do the series based on jazz.
Jazz is my favorite music, whether it is swing, bebop, or hard bop. Jazz is both intentional and improvisational. A classical jazz musician starts with a theme. It is usually from a well-known source such as a Broadway hit or a popular song. After the band plays the chosen song through, each musician takes a turn improvising his own version over the original. When each member has had a turn, the band returns to the original.
The series is a group of three paintings and three drawings. The theme of this sextet is blue. The background of each painting is blue, and it is also the prominent color in the drawings. In each work, the shade of blue changes as does the hue, movement and number of accompanying colors, improvising on the original pattern. However, we are still able to recognize the theme that runs through each painting and drawing.
When I paint or draw, I usually start with an idea or theme and plan it out in detail, but as the work progresses I change or add colors and lines to refine or enhance.
Jazz terms used as titles of individual paintings and drawings:
Riff – Short repeated melodic phrases that function rhythmically
Jamming – An informal gathering of jazz musicians improvising together
Stride – A style of piano playing (c. 1917-1930) with a strong left hand pattern that rapidly moves between bass notes and chords, and uses a wide range of pianistics to create variations on themes
Licks – Short musical ideas that are regularly repeated in the improvisations of a particular soloist.
Blow – To improvise on an instrument
Solo – An improvised section of a piece of music by a single player