The DYAO Painted Violin Project, Denver

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My first violin, Scheherazade, from season 2011-12

Some of you might remember that several years ago, in late 2011-2012 I was asked to donate a painted violin to the annual Denver Young Artists Orchestra for their annual fundraising event. Visit here to learn more about it –  http://www.paintedviolin.com  or  http://www.DYAO.org and also my own WordPress Archives.

Every year a number of artists are invited to paint an old, retired violin, three-dimensionally of course, in whatever style, media and mood they desire, giving it a specific theme and title. The newest group of violins are introduced to the  public in the fall of each year with a lovely gallery opening, then they tour local Denver fine art galleries for several months on display and for sale, ending the season with a final gala event to honor them in April of the following year. As you might imagine, the finished violins are diverse and spectacular to see. It is quite an honor in the local Denver art community to be chosen to paint a violin, and I am especially proud to have been asked to paint one for the second time in the coming season of 2015-2016. I am included in a smaller group than in past years, of just 12 violins.

I have been working on my second violin for several months, and I cannot allow you to have even a peek, but I can tell you that it is something I am very proud of and for which I developed huge affection. This violin came to me from the violin committee almost a year ago, and she has been sitting here in my studio patiently (well not always patiently – some days she fidgets and almost speaks to me) awaiting her new identity. She came to me old and weathered – she has a history, and she looked like it with a beautiful, naturally weathered patina and the promise of a story to tell. I valued her long musical career and her time worn pride, and I decided not to obliterate that with any technique that would cover up her elegance and dignity. From the first time I saw her, I visualized one, and only one, way of adorning her. It seemed so appropriate and fitting – I tried as hard as I could to spark my imagination into a Plan B, even a second or third alternative, but I could not imagine anything else. So she and I completely agreed upon her new identity and it turned out very well.

In late September or early October she will be revealed. Coincidentally, or not of course, this particular violin had a past that coincided with my own at several junctures – in locations that are meaningful to my family and hers. That alone is rather goose-bumpy and pleasantly chilling; are there really any such things as coincidences?

The art Buddha was with me on this, for sure, and the Karma was right.

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Background Information and Announcements

 

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Mixed media Collage titled EMERGENCE, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott – copyright 2014

I would like to thank you all for visiting the blog and keeping up with the progress on the YEAR LONG CANVAS. I appreciate it very much!

I often get requests for more information about my art and requests to see a larger selection of my recent paintings.. Therefor I am offering a brief background and bio and some links. My website http://www.epiphanysfriends.com  is the best place to visit for more images and updated news.

For those of you in the Colorado area there is a show titled WATERMEDIA at the Evergreen Center for the Arts beginning this month; opening night is June 27th, 2014 from 4-7pm. You are most welcome to attend. Three of my paintings have been accepted for that event.

BRIEF UPDATE

Returning to the Denver area in mid-2013 after seven years in northern California has been motivating and renewing.  I am reconnecting with old friends, painting with a fresh, spontaneous energy and becoming active in the Denver art scene once again.

Artist’s  Statement

The art began with watercolor and developed a life of its own; it has evolved, grown wider horizons and added depth through the chapters of my life, almost without my assistance. Painting with acrylic provided new possibilities. I offer different takes or viewpoints now, while still using my same recognizable style as the common thread over time. Color, pattern and texture are my passion, the message in the art, my secret; yet there for all to interpret. I am motivated by the goodness of most people, my basic wonder at our existence, and the stunning beauty of earth.

Art Themes – Abstract Expressions Indicative of Universal Themes

Recent fascinations and preoccupations that scroll through my thoughts and spill their subtle messages from paintbrush onto canvas include the concept of times passage, ethnic cultures across the globe and the basic, primal simplicity of the days and nights we all share. In a world of chaos and random events, the spirituality of certain humble rituals common to all of our lives captures my attention. I celebrate the rituals that unite us, the hearts and minds that hold us together.

Brief Bio

I grew up in a large country home on eight acres of green hillside and dale in southern Ohio, outside of Dayton. During those early years it became apparent that art was my passion and I came west to the University of Colorado in Boulder to study art and never went back. I  emphasized painting and sculpture along with English Literature and psychology. I have been painting professionally ever since.

“I began professionally marketing my art at the suggestion of a much-admired instructor after college was over and I had begun living in Evergreen, Colorado. In 1984 I was personally invited by the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce to create an original painting – a snowy winter scene, reminiscent of Evergreen and the Christmas season – from which the very first Christmas in Evergreen Limited Edition Posters and Christmas Cards were printed and sold. That year began the tradition of the Evergreen Christmas Poster which in subsequent years became a contest open to local artists. It also became a pivotal moment in launching my own career to a higher degree.” 

In addition to painting I have taught interior design, published two books about life-changing epiphanies and taught mixed media collage to adults for three years in California and held positions in sales, marketing and gallery management, to name just a few of my other incarnations. Currently I am concentrating solely on my painting, enjoying the exhilaration of fresh inspiration, less driven by the demands of others and more in tune with my own priorities. My art is wiser in character, weathered by time, and unapologetically relaxed. The art reveals all, as it always has, and is better with some years on it.

NEWS AND LINKS

ADDITIONAL RECENT WORK can be seen at www.artspan.com – Jo is listed under ARTISTS, then MIXED MEDIA. When you find her name click on it and several of her paintings will appear -select any one of them to be taken directly to her artspan website.

THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE for author and artist Jo Ann Brown-Scott is http://www.epiphanysfriends.com

JO’S CREATIVE EPIPHANY BLOG – If you would like to follow Jo’s Blog,  go to: www.thecreativeepiphany.wordpress.com

On this blog site you will find archives of all previous posts, including many posts about the noteworthy YEAR LONG CANVAS challenge – nicknamed the YLC – about working on one particular canvas for an entire year. Photos included of course.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – Jo is proud to announce that for the second time in the past few years she has been selected to contribute a painted violin to the annual Painted Violin Fundraising Event for the Denver Youth Artists Orchestra.

For more information go to –  www.paintedviolin.com  or  www.dyao.org

Pictured below is Jo’s previous violin from the 8th Annual Fundraiser for the DYAO titled SCHEHERAZADE. There is more information about this event any my first violin in Jo’s blog archives.

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Honored for the Second Time…Denver’s Painted Violin Fundraiser

 

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I am honored and excited to announce that for the second time I have been selected to participate in the Annual Painted Violin Fundraising Event for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra of Denver, Colorado. Each year the committee selects (it is not a contest – artists are invited) about 20 artists to paint, 3-dimensionally, an actual  violin that has been put out to pasture,  all 20 of which are then displayed and available for sale  at a selection of Denver art galleries in a traveling show lasting several months, ending in a gala event. The violins are sent out to artists many months in advance of when they must be completed and delivered, all painted and transformed into a masterful work of art with a theme, back to the committee. They will then be photographed for publicity and introduced to the public at the opening gallery show in the fall of the year.

The Denver Young Artists Orchestra (DYAO) was founded in 1977 and performs at Boettcher Concert Hall in the heart of Denver’s City Center, home of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. “DYAO’s mission is to provide the finest possible youth orchestra programs, inspiring and educating young musicians through the performance of great works of music and offering valuable cultural opportunities to the community.” Excerpted from the DYAO Brochure.

My violin arrived today! It is like Christmas!

The anticipation of opening the shipping box, then the violin case, to meet my particular violin…artists are told to expect anything – including the possibility of pathetically broken pieces of an old violin screaming to be rescued and given a new life. You must be prepared to work with what you get. Some of the creations from past years are quite spectacular – you can see all previous years’ honorees by visiting http://www.paintedviolin.com and/or http://www.dyao.org.

My previous violin, titled Scheherazade, was displayed in the 8th Annual Painted Violin Fundraiser ( see “painted violin” or “Scheherazade” in my archives) several years ago. The circumstances of that occasion are unusual and have almost a fairy tale quality in the way they unfolded for me. I will fill you in on that in the near future because it is a story worth repeating.

This newly arrived violin has been requested for the 12th Annual Event of the 2015-2016 Season. Photographs of the 12th Annual violins will not be available until 2015, so it seems that I have another YEAR LONG PROJECT on my art agenda. (Read about my Year Long Canvas Project in my recent blogs).

The above photos of my BEFORE violin, delivered this afternoon by Fed X, were taken as I opened the box to see her for the first time. I found a gorgeously weathered and worn old, old violin, abundant with character, inside a beaten up black leather case that has tape holding the handle together. The case, lined with dingy, torn turquoise felt (my mother’s favorite color) and laced with cobwebs and sawdust-like material collected in the corners had long been home for my violin. It was love at first sight when I took her out and inspected her. She has been so lovingly used – obviously – proudly – she provided many years of heavenly music. She is not sad, but wears her history like a patina of honor. There is a compartment that opens with the pull of a tab on its lid, and inside is her resin box. Two people have printed their names on her interior felt – COMPTON and HERRMANN – mysterious violinists who obviously put her to rigorous use. And there were probably more that just the two…

I am not permitted, by painted violin rules, to show you my progress on this project. But I will let you all know from time to time what is going on, without revealing any secrets or photos. I feel so fortunate to have it ahead of me. Once again the Art Buddha is smiling on me and my work with this special, inspiring project. I can already feel it.

 

The Creative Epiphany – The Scheherazade Violin

2vioThe violin Scheherazade by Jo Ann Brown-Scott

While we are on the subject of creativity, let me tell you a story within a story. Just a little personal experience of sadness, discovery, healing and joy. A recent chapter in the biography of my art – a true tale, unembellished, able to stand firmly on its own merits. It has always seemed to me that my long career in art has provided me with more than enough fascinating stories – enough for a lifetime of enlightenment and inspiration. Stored in my mind are humorous anecdotes, disturbing happenings, brilliant realizations and numerous other categories of true occurences that have enriched and enhanced the initial act of creating a piece of artwork. Let me begin with this one…..

In the fall of 2010 while living in northern California I received an honored invitation to create a piece of artwork – a painted violin – for the DYAO – Denver Young Artists Orchestra. This long established, prestigious, charitable project involves the yearly selection of about 20 artists  who are invited to paint an actual violin (one that has been put out to pasture) in whatever flavor and style they are comfortable with. The violins then tour galleries for viewing, over several months in the Denver area, culminating in a gala event in the spring, where the violins are auctioned, thus funding the youth orchestra for the next season. www.paintedviolin.com   www.dyao.org

In that fall of 2010 my husband was very ill. I was thrilled with my violin invitation, and yet it was placed in my mind on the very back shelf of priorities…  As December arrived with holiday preparations and obligations, my husband worsened and finally died on December 7th. A week or so later the violin arrived at my door by UPS in a lovely case….at first I had no idea what the DYAO could possibly be sending me, and then I remembered. I made a mental note to notify them that I could not possibly participate in the violin event, as honored as I was to have been selected. I did not have it in me to paint.

After holiday season spent in Tahoe at my family’s gentle insistence, while recuperating from cataract surgery on my first eye and grieving the death of my husband, I arrived back home to face the hard reality of dealing with nasty insurance issues, ugly Social Security issues, clearing out my husband’s closets and office and trying to not have a meltdown. Trying very hard not to lose it, when I ran across the violin. The violin committee was expecting that it be shipped to them, all finished, by April 1st. They requested that it reflect my characteristic mixed media collage technique. I was convinced I could not possibly muster the artistic inspiration and strength to accomplish that. I had only emptiness where the creativity used to be.

As the weeks passed I began to wonder what I would, theoretically, do to the violin if I somehow could do it….if I decided to accept its challenge. Ideas gradually came to mind, creeping in under the  blanket of my sadness. Sort of warming me up. I reminded myself of other circumstances when my art had been my solace and my escape. As a diversion from the sad tasks I was dealing with all day long, I thought about the violin. I remembered when I was young and Mom used to play Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade on Saturday mornings; music inspired by the ancient Persian Tales of the Arabian Nights. The music was haunting and exotic, and told the poetic fable of the handsome Sultan who demanded a different virgin be brought to his tent every night, then killed them the next day so that they could not be unfaithful to him. Enter the beautiful Persian Princess, Scheherazade, who made love to him, then told him an intriguing tale and promised to finish the story the following night. She returned, continued the tale night after night, and kept herself alive for many thousands of years, bearing his children and making him very happy.

I approached my collage papers and my paint with doubt and trepidation, wondering what would happen as I attempted to pull my creative gestures and thought processes up from the depths of my misery. I decided to incorporate meaningful mementoes and papers into the collage as omens of good will and peace of mind. I collaged the violin with the same coral and gold leaf paper I had used for the cover of my handmade wedding invitations as a tribute to my husband,  I used a gold circle, a link from a broken necklace of my mother’s. Then some polished stones that my daughter had given me were used to circle the arm of the violin like a bracelet. I added a hunk of clear crystal for good karma. I antiqued the  entire violin with gold paint, made a keyhole design on the backside as a symbol of entrance to a new life, used an East Indian paper around the edges…and I was quite happy and amazed with the results. I titled the violin Scheherazade, in honor of the Persian Princess, and nicknamed her “Scher”.

The story does not end there – with the violin project I was taken through a door to a new place in my life. A place where I was reassured that my life was going to begin again and there was still much to look forward to. As of this day I am still entering that door, leaving soon for my move to Denver where both family and some special friends await me with open arms.

Scher and I have been telling tales for years and years…..but mine are all true. People ask me often if I have any new stories. And I always do. This particular story is one of my best and will always be remembered as a pivotal point in my long life of change, resilience and renewal, three conditions upon which creativity thrives. The violin and my continued enthusiasm for life are my proof positive of that. I live, I love, I paint.

To see the 2010-2011 season of painted violins in which I participated, plus archives and the current season, visit www.paintedviolin.com or http://www.dyao.org