I have definitely been processing a lot of ‘stuff’ these past few weeks and I guess life is a a series of stuff to process. Sometimes music and painting are the perfect alchemy to help discharge feelings that need assimilating, transcending, shifting and moving. In particular sacred music for me is absolutely essential. Bach and Mozart are my beloved go-to composers and I find the Bach’s the St Matthew Passion, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Requiem are beyond anything I can describe. Music definitely exists in another realm, not of the physical or material, but of the metaphysical, etheric, transcendent, spiritual, non-local, sacred.
At Christmas my parents used to play Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and I made it something my kids listened to when we decorated the Christmas tree each year. My son and I listened to it yesterday as we untangled the mass of lights and he was very kind in his allowing. He towers above me now, and as I hugged him, the music held us, slowing time and I notice his breathing slowed to a calm even rhythm, as it did when he was a babe in arms. The Boar’s Head Carol by Steeleye Span reminds me of my Dad so much and watching him singing with his folkie friends in the Royal Standard in Hastings, where they would all take turns to sing a rousing or bawdy song, accordion or beer glass in hand. My mother sang madrigals and many times as a child I went to watch her and her group perform, perched on uncomfortable church pews.
In the current political climate, and the insidious age of social media which has caused so much polarisation, binary thinking and the demise of nuance, I feel very inclined to hibernate, reflect on what is important and let music carry me. I feel I am pulling back and retreating from the world a little. Pulling back to go forward eventually perhaps, but also to appreciate the space which I am holding for myself and loved ones. Winter is often not an easy time, but if I choose to, I can fully accept it and allow it to paradoxically be the time of great ease and acquiescence.
My painting, also available as a print in any size. Inspired by an Yves Saint Laurent wallpaper. In my etsy shop. Link here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AliceMasonArtist
What a wonderful night! Such a therapy. Sometimes music is even more important to me than art. But it really does depend on the music and what lifts me or inspires me, puts me in a state of bliss or rapture can be so many genres, but when it comes to dancing or hitting that sweet spot to get me moving it’s got to be the complexity, nuance and fusion of jazz chords and latin grooves, afro-Brazilian and jazz funk. My wonderful daughter Eleanor and her gorgeous Irish DJ friends Gavin O’Brien and Jeff Higgins have formed a collective called Beaten Track where they curate a night of young jazz dance bands, neo soul singers, and fantastic jazz, latin or Afrobeat tracks on vinyl to dance away our winter blues into the early hours. I love that idea of getting jazz out of the staid jazz clubs and onto the dance floor! Last night was people of all ages enjoying themselves together, taking a break from the current political climate and loving music together.
Wallpaper in Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s Apartment Rue Bonapart, Paris, France, 1970s.
I am going to paint a version of this as a large panel.
I had a dream I was living in Brighton and was inside some kind of grand theatre, (the last time i was in a theatre like that was taking my kids to a pantomime). I was alone and didn’t have a ticket but i was trying to find a seat in a labyrinthine arrangement of seats. Then i left and Peter O was outside and he was young, and had tattooed arms and face and riding a bicycle. I was riding a bicycle. I was riding my bike home along the night streets but wasn’t sure whether I should ride on the left or right side. The link between Peter, Brighton, bicycles is in my subconscious actually LA, freedom, youth and my dream was telling me to go there.
Cul de Sac
Stuck in a holding pattern
Like a plane over Gatwick
Waiting to land
Waiting to take off
Listening to music as I paint
I notice all the music is sad
Never liked November
It always seems so unreasonable of me to hate bonfire night and fireworks
Standing outside in cold damp leaf-strewn spaces
It was okay when it was just my Dad setting off a catherine wheel against the shed
Because everything was always alright
With my beautiful Dad
Who died in November 95
At only 55
Such a beautiful man
Handsome, tall, musical, adventurous, funny, mercurial,
He was sui generis
A rare soul