Embedded Thoughts, Embedded Song

I saw a quote today from a very published art critic, Jerry Saltz, who is also a Pulitzer Prize Winner. His quote:

“An artist needs to embed their thought in material.”

This quote caused me to reflect on what thoughts I put into my art.

I couldn’t come up with any specific message and I started to look for one. I realized I don’t have a specific message. Because there are many different messages. I title my art with song titles. Not because they’re easy to come up with, because believe me, sometimes it’s a challenge to get the right fit. Each song title is researched not only for its musicality but for its lyrics and how I perceive them to effect the emotion of the painting. Sometimes they are titled after I’m done, sometimes I choose a song to paint. Either way,

I do not create without listening to music. Ever.

As I listen to different musical artists, in most all genres, each song can evoke a special meaning to me. Steven Tyler and Aerosmith (those who know me know that Steven T and this band are my obsession) can get me dancing and rocking out in a heartbeat. The lyrics or partial lyrics of a song can tell my story so eloquently. This is especially true with a piece such as “Amazing”. This art recently sold and I cried. Literally. (Although I do know it went to someone who loves and appreciates it like I do.) I still tear up when I listen to the lyrics and realize that this was my flagship large piece. It is also the piece that evokes strong emotions not only about my entire life, but feelings of pride and accomplishment as well. I stepped back and knew it would always retain a special place in my heart.

Who knows what Aerosmith had in their minds when they wrote this, but just as abstract art is what each individual sees in it, so these lyrics have been interpreted for my life. Enjoy them..



~Aerosmith - (songwriters Richie Supa and Steven Tyler)


I kept the right ones out
And let the wrong ones in
Had an angel of mercy to see me through all my sins
There were times in my life
When I was goin' insane
Tryin' to walk through
The pain

When I lost my grip
And I hit the floor
Yeah, I thought I could leave, but couldn't get out the door
I was so sick and tired
Of livin' a lie
I was wishin' that I would die

It's amazing
With the blink of an eye, you finally see the light
It's amazing
When the moment arrives that you know you'll be alright
It's amazing
And I'm sayin' a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight

That one last shot's permanent vacation
And how high can you fly with broken wings?
Life's a journey, not a destination
And I just can't tell just what tomorrow brings

You have to learn to crawl
Before you learn to walk
But I just couldn't listen to all that righteous talk, oh yeah
I was out on the street,
Just a tryin' to survive
Scratchin' to stay alive

It's amazing
With the blink of an eye, you finally see the light
It's amazing
When the moment arrives that you know you'll be alright
Oh, it's amazing
And I'm sayin' a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight

Desperate hearts, desperate hearts


These lyrics tell my story of many years of hardship and struggle and not knowing what I was supposed to do or be.

The lyrics of that song speak of life being about the journey and not the destination. “It’s amazing with the blink of an eye you finally see the light” and “it’s amazing when the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright”. Becoming a full time artist was hard for me as I was so used to a technical world for so long. It was hard to let that go and “Amazing” helped me do it. I know I’ve talked a lot about this piece but it truly speaks from my heart.  Always having a love for the vibrant colors and the stunning beauty of sunsets, the audible and visual image were a perfect pair.

Many times, music motivates me to get into the studio. It has saved my life on those occasions when I’ve fallen into a slump or I’m having a hard time believing in myself. It has caused me to dance and feel the greatest joy in the world as I realize how lucky I am to be doing what I feel I was born to do in the gorgeous light of my hijacked 4 seasons room. And it guides me as I do what I love, creating in color and blending stain with my hands. Painting with emotion, yet also painting for the process as I watch the gorgeous colors blend into the expected and unexpected, just as our lives blend in similar ways.

I’m letting the titles of my art convey what I’m trying to say.

It could be that the song brings out so much emotion in me from a past memory of love or sadness. It could be because it’s a motivating song that reminds me to stay true to who I am when I’m creating, such as “I Make My Own Sunshine”. It could be a classic rock song that fires me up to do something a little rebellious such as “Rock The Casbah” or Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. It could be a heartfelt memory such as “Walking on Sunshine” which was the song they played at my wedding as we made our entrance into the reception and a reminder of the beach vacation we took on our 10th anniversary. Or it could be a soft, romantic song creating a soft, ethereal piece such as “One and Only”. Whether it’s the lyrics or the tune, the emotions evoked are always intense.

The beauty of abstract art is that although these creations may be from my visions and my emotions, the viewer will always have their own interpretation. And that’s fabulous. My art is for me, and it’s for you. Want to know more about any title or piece? Just ask me. I can promise you that I’ve got a snippet from the book of my life for every piece I’ve done.