Singing and Painting

I’m having a really interesting time with my teaching at the moment, because I am ‘bartering’ singing lessons with an amazing watercolour artist who is trying to teach me to paint! So we are sharing many ideas that creatively cross the boundaries of very different disciplines. Colour, tone, texture and timbre are perhaps the obvious words we can exchange but here are some more examples:

  • Preparing your paper and brushes – do you use a crumpled dirty paper to start working on – and when you sing you need to get your body balanced and not squashed with preconceptions?
  • When you mix colours, primary colours to create new colours, are there parallels with vowel sounds and mixing the vowel colours in our complex language?
  • Legato line in sound and flowing water from the brush
  • If you exaggerate the separate notes in a scale are you ‘scratching’ the beautiful surface of your expensive water colour paper
  • Using the whole body for singing just like an artist standing at the easel and using their whole body to create shapes and marks on the paper, or sitting crouched over the paper – getting very tense trying to make the image ‘right’! Do we get too focussed on little notes instead of the whole picture, the phrases in the music?
  • Thinking of creating colours in the voice can help unlock inhibitions of perceptions where we feel we want to make a ‘beautiful’ sound, when really it is more important to think about expressing meaning when we sing, it is NOT about you the singer on an ego trip of sounding amazing.
  • We can talk of timbre and tone quality but tone is different for an artist, but when I complimented her warm mezzo sound, she asked what I meant, so I said it is like your use of ‘transparent yellow a warm brown paint that when diluted had a bright clear yellow colour. And we went on to talk about working through our vocal range and changing the tone quality as we move up and own scales

All in all interesting and challenging discussions….more to follow


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