Painting & Internal Singing

I am often asked whether music plays a part in my painting. Well, I never listen to any at that time because I want to respond to, be moved by, what is inside me, not what is outside.

However, I often find myself singing inside while painting. I’ve sometimes wondered if that should be the title of the picture. Then the last four titles would be “O Sole Mio,” “Finlandia,” “Beethoven 7 Second Movement” and “I Could Be Happy With You.” It’s not that I set out to sing them internally, but I suddenly realize that I am.

Why not sing aloud? Because those vocal movements may restrict the free movements of my hand. I’m painting, not singing. And at other times, I sing without painting.

There is another reason why, when painting, my singing is silent.

At the front of the palate behind the central teeth you will feel several ridges, called rugae. The martial arts teach that the tip of the tongue should press against these rugae for then the chi is greatly enhanced. It is a position of strength throughout the body, for it is the normal resting position for the tongue. Unfortunately, in most people the tongue instead lies loose and flatly on the floor of the mouth – and the Life Energy is always diminished.

A basic problem with all speech and singing is that the tongue is not in its position of strength, and therefore the speaker and singer must overcome this negativity by the intention of the communication.

When painting, my intention is not on the singing but rather on the painting. So I keep silent, my tongue on the rugae – but still singing, inside. And that singing reinforces my intention: to give of my strength that others may be strengthened.

I’ve long maintained that music and free movement are essential concomitants. I look at all the walkers and runners on the beach: none seem to have music flowing through them. Some are listening to iPods, but that’s passive. Somebody else’s music, not coming from inside them.

I look at, I admire, those rare people who move with grace. Whatever they are doing – walking, talking, or painting – it is obvious that they are moving to, being moved by, an inner Music: the Pulse of Life.