As a trained musician and passionate artist I feel incredibly fortunate that I have been able to combine my two worlds. On the one hand, music provides a seemingly endless resource of inspirational content and painting is the perfect channel for my discovery therein. I would say my paintings oscillate between measured order and spontaneous chaos; mirroring music’s ability to possess the duality of the secular and spiritual realms simultaneously.
In terms of my process, when working on an abstract piece, I intentionally avoid a predetermined narrative or formulated idea of imagery but prefer to allow the energy and essence of a work to emerge organically. If during the process of creating, the painting loses its spontaneous essence, or I find it no longer resonates with meaning or purpose I will dramatically alter the image with a stark line or geometric shape, thus disabling my assumption of control. I find this act to be a very necessary component of my creative process because it reminds me of my humble position as participant rather than instigator. Of course I am not implying that I take a passive approach to my artistic output, but in fact mean just the opposite. I make a conscious effort to release my thoughts and enter into a fully present state where my body is now open to listen and respond. My intellect no longer serves me in this realm. I must allow for the intuitive creativity to come forth and guide my artistic hand. It doesn’t always work however, and I sometimes fall into that incessant pattern of critical thought; overanalyzing and projecting, hence the need for desperate and drastic measures in the form of shape or colour. I am always searching for musical works that confound and inspire me; that push me out of my comfort zone. The Rite of Spring is the perfect conduit for this type of creative growth, it pushes me to the edge. It allows me to stand on the frontier of my primordial expression. I look forward to sharing this collection upon its completion.
The Rite of Spring is my current collection which will not be exhibited until all 13 works are completed. This collection is a graphic interpretation of the infamous composition by Igor Stravinsky entitled “Le Sacre du printemps” written in 1913 for the Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company. Stravinsky’s score for the ballet consists of 2 parts. Part 1 – L’Adoration de la Terre, consisting of 7 short movements & Part 2 – Le Sacrifice consisting of 6 movements.
“Introduction to the Rite of Spring – Part 1”
I began this work appropriately at the thaw of our dreary long winter in May of 2014. With only a few crocuses pushing their way through the frozen ground, I understood all too well the desperation for life to immerge again. “The swarming of spring pipes” – Stravinsky this movement is approximately 3 minutes and 22 seconds.
“The Rite of Spring – Nude Study”
The “nude study” is a culmination of ideas I was toying with for my series “The Rite of Spring”. I was experimenting with process, imagery emotion and form; trying to find a way to embody the musical texture in the continuous process of growth without limiting it with objective imagery. Here you see the juxtaposition of subdued, submissive forms working harmoniously amongst aggressive gestures of color.
“The Augurs of Spring” (Dances of the young girls)
The Augurs of Spring is one of the most iconic and widely recognized excerpts from any of Stravinky’s compositions. Its jolting asymmetrical rhythm contrasted with the repetitive polytonal chord left an indelible impression of modernity on music and art. I have intentional painted the vibrant and relentless outbursts of color and shape, layered upon itself as if to mimic the dissonance and polytonality heard in the music. Violent and surging gestures are articulated with disoriented and random order all with the purpose of elaborating the primordial birth of spring; pulsating with life desperately trying to erupt from a long and motionless slumber. The young maidens immerge out of the cacophony, intertwined in the melding body of color, gesture and shape. At the highpoint of the painting you see an ominous figure, representative of the “mother of spring”, deep with ancient wisdom. Sharp connecting lines gesticulate outward from this “motherly” figure as if to pass down the primordial wisdom to the maidens as they move into their places in the unfurling drama. This movement lasts approximately 3 minutes 28 seconds.
“Ritual of Abduction”
In this painting I utilized the rhythm of the music as imagery. Carrying over thematic shapes and colors used from “the augurs of spring” and “the introduction” ,as well as illustrating the linear movement of thematic material repeated within the orchestral voices; in particular the horns and the woodwinds. While I was weary to create too much of a recognizable narrative, I imbedded within this tableaux foreshadowing by introducing the “virgin”. Borrowing imagery from Caravaggio’s “The Taking of Christ”, I elude to the primeval need for appeasement through sacrifice. This movement lasts approximately 1 minute and 18 seconds.
All Images Are © Paula Arciniega
Paula Arciniega Artist Bio
Born and raised in Portland OR and now living in Toronto ON Paula has been weaving together two artistic paths; one as a vocalist and the other as a painter. Paula holds her Master Degree in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and has performed with many San Francisco Bay area opera companies. As an artist Paula has sold her artwork across 4 continents and has installed “art-scapes” with several musical organizations including Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra with Maestro James Sommerville at the art gallery of Hamilton, in Toronto with Group of 27 and music director Eric Paetkau, and in New York with the New York Piano Quartet. Paula interlaces her love of music with her distinctive style of painting. She delves deeply into the musical form of a composition and translates the essence of a work into a visual panorama. Paula moves effortlessly between the aural realm of musical gesture and the visual realm of shape & colour.
Blog / Website: PaulaArciniega | Painter & Vocalist