Day and Night - Portrait

Day and Night is a portrait of a modern flute player.  The flutist’s vocation is one that has shifted significantly from a male-dominated profession to one where women occupy positions of authority.  Flutist Erin Murphy asked me to paint her portrait for her forthcoming album Day and Night, which is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2018.  

 

The phrase “day and night” describes a marked contrast between two things.  In flute pedagogical circles, the most common flute repertoire consists almost exclusively of works composed by men.  In an effort to expand the repertoire that is performed and taught, Murphy has explored compositions by women composers from the 20th and 21st centuries.  Her album Day and Night exclusively features works by women composers.  These composers include Nancy Gailbraith, Lita Grier, Melanie Bonis, Lili Boulanger, and Germaine Tailleferre.  

 

When considering the composition and palette for this portrait, I sought to find visual tools that would convey the concept of the Day and Night album.  In regards to the composition, the flute player occupies less than 60% of the picture plane.  Warm yellows, that represent Day, fill the negative space.  In the lower right hand corner and throughout the figure, the colors indigo and mauve embody Night.  The flutist is primarily immersed in Night and has only been partially touched by the warmth of Day.  

 

This portrait tells the story about the standing of women musicians and composers in contemporary society.

Ben Murphy7 Comments