Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Art Lesson From the Beatles

This week, in fact in four days, those of us who are old enough will remember the Beatles and the British Invasion of the 1960s.
Why is this important? Well why are the Dutch masters important to Western Civilization’s Art?
Both are important for the very same reason. They were and continue to be seminal influences on the generations of artists that came after them. I heard one commentator say that on February 8th 1964, nobody knew who they were, and that on February 10th, every kid wanted to BE them. Such was the power of the Ed Sullivan Show In those days. Every kid had a garage band and everyone wanted to sound like them.
But the interviewer for CBS had a far more profound observation than “they looked so happy and they were having such fun”. If you are old enough to remember, you hear their music and even today it puts a smile on your face. They were smart, they were energetic, they were happy, and they were fun. And we needed it.
The really smart musicians thought through the imitation and developed their own talents, using the Beatles as their unknowing mentors. But even as they did that, the ones in the know noticed that they no soon as got the sound down, than the Beatles’ sound changed. That’s right they kept reinventing themselves. They even went to India to study and learn Eastern instruments well after their fame and fortune had been insured. They never stopped changing their sound while keeping their focus of producing great and often thought provoking music. They continued to change and redefine themselves even after the group's disbanding and the death of two of their group. I'll never forget the day when one of my girl's asked me if I knew that Paul McCartney had belonged to another group before he was in Wings!!!
I think as a listener and definitely a fan of the four young men who needed a haircut, I knew what they were doing from an artistic standpoint, even though what I know about music is minimal.
They consistently REINVENTED themselves. They learned. They grew. And they took us along for the ride. Whether you like the Beatles or not, you have to admit that John Lennon’s “Imagine” is about as far as you can get from “It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night” and their early sound bites. They evolved.

What better lesson for artist or musician than that?

For a prospectus to take part in a great Plein Air Event in Southern New Mexico, this October 2014, please go to

Favorite quote:
·        People can relate to the musicality of shapes... Painting is 'silent music'... Soft and hard edges are similar to loud and soft notes... Harmony, chords, pitch, rhythm, syncopation and timber can all be translated to the visual arts.
     Clyde Aspevig 

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