The Session, 34″ x 24″, oil on Belgian linen, painting in progress

My wife and I are in contract on a new home, here in Islip.  Our little family is growing into a medium sized family, and we’re not abiding by the Goldfish Rule.  What is the Goldfish Rule, you ask? A goldfish will grow only as large as the bowl into which it is placed.  Not so with Irish Americans.  We’re bursting at the seams in our little home, and so we’re purchasing a slightly larger house.

I have spent the past few days painting the walls of our current home.  I paint, I roll walls, I lift furniture, I scrub, I putty, I paint.  And as always, when have even five minutes free, I play the violin.

I always think to myself that, if I were to play just a little bit every day, in this extraordinarily busy season of life, then I will grow better as a violinist.  And then, I had the great fortune of starting up lessons again, with the all Ireland fiddle champion, Juilliard graduate, Sean Quinn.  He’s a wonderful violinist, and a really warm, kind conversationalist.  I took my first lesson with him, one month ago. Walking into his front door,  my excitement to study music again was mixed with trepidation, as I haven’t taken a lesson in fifteen years.  He asked me to play a tune, at the beginning. I did, and I braced myself, as I was sure that my playing was rife with problems.  He lit up into a smile, and praised my technique and intonation, and exclaimed his excitement to teach me.  He went on to recommend a number of things to better my playing, a number of things I was doing wrong.  By simply placing the bow on the string in a better way, I could get a much richer tone.  It was amazing, my playing was so much richer than I’ve ever heard come from my fingers.  It’s a privilege to study with Sean Quinn, and it’s given me a new love for not just music, but art.

I love the violin.  That is what this painting is about.  I love the rich glow of the wood, the flow of its line, the brownish timbre of its low earthy notes, the elation of its higher register.  Wood from a tree, strings spun from metal quarried from mines, varnish pressed from seeds, nothing more.  From dust it comes, to dust it will return.  And so this I give to you, my audience- my love for the violin, and my love for paint, and the joy that God given to me on a quiet day, while I paint the walls of my house and eke out a few tunes in between.