Writers and artists, from every genre, thrive on inspiration. It is the fuel in the tank of every novelist, painter, songwriter and musician. The seeds of inspiration have given fruit to some of humankind’s greatest achievements particularly in the arts. Often these seeds come from surprising places, are sometimes unexpected but however they come the true artist cannot ignore them. The artist has to act on that seed of inspiration.
And so, as I considered my next painting project, I was watching a choir on a well known video platform, a choir I know much about having watched most of what they post multiple times. Their music , over the last year, has moved and inspired me to be my best, to be the better version of myself, whatever I turn my hands to. The choir is called One Voice Children’s Choir based in Utah, USA.
For this reason I was inspired to paint ‘Director and the Choir’ in pastels, the scene is taken from one of their videos ‘I believe’ filmed in France as the choir participated in the Normandy Centenary celebrations in 2017.
I am new to portraits, this being only my third portrait I have ever painted, the first two being my children, which I was happy with. This piece, however, proved to be even more challenging as it features a group shot, so many portraits. It is the director, Masa Fukuda, who I wanted to focus on with the choir in the background. I’m sure Masa would have preferred it to be the other way round but what can I say, Masa really inspires me. Besides, the children shine through their voices so much more and better than I can paint them.
What grabs me the most in many of the videos they produce is the intent, joyful, mesmerising and enigmatic look on the directors face, whether out front, arms waving, directing those wonderful voices, or sat at a piano nodding his head and using his voice to lead the choir. I hope I have captured that look.
And so, this painting is a tribute to this choir, a way of saying thank you for entertaining and inspiring me. For inspiring many as the choir has a huge fan base. One Voice Children’s choir sing all kinds of songs, many are covers from international artists such as Pink!, Maroon 5 and Linkin Park. They are known for singing songs with powerful messages particularly with a religious or faith filled theme. One such song moved me last year (2019) when I was feeling a little unsure about myself and doubted my abilities and usefulness in the world. The song ‘One More Light‘ highlights the struggles we often have in life especially in times of loss. In the video, cards are held up by choir members, one which read “There are great days ahead”. It moved me to believe just that. I think I am still here today thanks to that song and that video. Their latest, a cover of Maroon 5’s ‘Memories’, evokes feelings of loss mixed with a hope that we will see our loved ones again and as it was filmed during lockdown due to Covid 19 it makes those feelings and this song extremely poignant.
I hope you like the painting but even more so I encourage readers to click on the links and check out the choir.
Remember, I am an amateur artist, still learning his craft, but I enjoy what I do. Given that I can mix this ‘talent’ with my writing is a blessing.