TOTAL NOISE CULTURE


There are people to whom silence is odious. The radio and/or TV must be on or they become uncomfortable. The art of conversation is not lost on them; for to them silence is not golden. If TV should fail them, they talk.

A man friend of ours is devoted to classic jazz, which he cranks up to the decibal of a B-17 bomber. He is also an antique clock collector, and each of his many beautiful clocks chimes the hour, the half-hour, and some even announce the quarter hour.

But we are so overburdened with data, rhetoric and spin that it is difficult to absorb, much less try to make sense of. We are entertaining ourselves to death.

A friend living alone and with a slight hearing loss, was fitted for a hearing aid, thinking it would give her twenty-five year old hearing once more. Not so. She thought it would be a little “pre-old-age” touch to prepare for for the inevitable. Now she is aware of the slightest creaking of her house in the dark of midnight, the rhythmic pulse of the refrigerator, with it’s periodic glassy crash of the ice-maker disturbs her sleep. The rustle of the leaves in her garden sound like a freight train rumbling through the yard. You begin to hear sounds you heard before but weren’t aware you were hearing, and they aren’t always pleasant.

We are failing in our efforts to pin down this increasingly incomprehensible reality. The ubiquitous cell phone ring tones, the lyrics to contemporary pop music, the sounds of today’s everyday life of course skipped our ancestors, and have left us envious of the “quiet life” people speak of.

We can recapture that delicious “aloneness” when hiking in the wilderness, running a well-known trail, or fishing a solitary stream, or walking beside a quiet sea at sunset. During the War, to get a little peace and get away from the pounding of the engines, my husband used to sit at the fantail of his ship and listen to the sound of the screw while watching the phosphorescent wake pealing out behind.

Peace and tranquility are what we sometimes need for our own well-being.

ALL THAT JAZZ


Jazz is a musical style first seen at the beginning of the 20th century. Born from a mix of European and African music it is a restless mix of improvisation, syncopation and blue notes. It is spontaneous and mirrors the vitality of the performer who never plays the same composition twice.

A visual artist never develops a subject twice the same way for similar reasons. A lovely landscape or still-life can be painted hundreds of times and be different each time. Even a portrait will never be the same again. Certainly the light will never be quite the same, but the intensity or desire of the artist will not be the same either.

The most satisfying works in music or art need the concentration and love of the artist.


“Jazz Nights” Oil painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

The inspiration for any form of art frequently comes unbidden, and results in something entirely different from the original thought. The painting above came about from remembering the little “band” my grandsons and I formed after I taught them to play guitar. Strangely enough, there isn’t a guitar in the painting! It’s original title was “Bammie and the Boys” which was a little “too cutesey” for comfort!


“A Tip of the Hat” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

This painting popped onto paper after a Christmas shopping trip to Harrod’s in London, where I bought a derby for Dr. Advice. It looked very nice on Julianne!