PAINTINGS: Fugue

fugue

Richard Bledsoe “Fugue” acrylic on canvas 20″ x 16″

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No matter what the subject matter is, for the intuitive artist every painting is a self portrait. It’s not contrived or forced, it’s just the natural result of rummaging around in your own subconscious. Your situation and story gets intertwined in the imagery you create.

I still manage to be surprised by what appears. This was definitely the case in my newest painting, “Fugue.”

It started kind of like one of my earlier paintings I wrote about, “Inspiration.”  I was painting black all over an unsuccessful image to cover it up, when I saw the new content appear in the random brush strokes: a nocturnal scene of a solitary organist.

As a big fan of Bach, I immediately thought of one of my favorite pieces, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Over the next few weeks as I worked on bringing the imagery out of the darkness and into greater resolution, I contemplated a generic title like “Organist,” but it didn’t seem adequate. I kept coming back to “Fugue.”

Finally I looked it up. I knew the word, but never having been trained in music, I didn’t know its technical meaning. In music, it means when a short melody gets introduced, and then built upon through variations.

But there is another meaning for fugue, a psychological one. It’s a state of turning away, memory loss; actions taken in a state of forgetfulness.

I knew this context too, but had not thought about it at all until I saw the definitions next to each other in the online dictionary. As I looked at my painting of the isolated musician, his back to the viewer as he plays against the silence of the night, I recognized it was the story of my life as it is right now.

Painting is such a gift, it can make anything beautiful.

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