Christopher Kovacs - Fine Art
May 22, 2024   12:15 am NL Time

Mussels in the Corner

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Mussels in the Corner


Status of Original Painting – Private Collection

Size: 9 x 14 inches

Medium: Watercolour on 300 lb d’Arches

Newfoundland not only has picturesque scenery (captured in many of my paintings) but it’s also a very musical place because everyone here seems to sing and play at least one instrument (except me, the mainlander by birth). A guitar, accordion or other instrument is likely to make an appearance at some point in the evening when Newfoundlanders get together in someone’s home. I was inspired recently to take a change of pace and to try to capture both the place and the music in a series of paintings that will focus on musical instruments being played in some recognizable Newfoundland setting (whether indoors or out). The focus will be zoomed in on the instrument and the hands or mouths playing it, and these will not be portraits.

This first painting features an accordion and is entitled “Mussels in the Corner” to acknowledge that part of the inspiration for this series came from the recent setting of a world record by 989 people who played that classic folk tune together on accordions in Bannerman Park, St. John’s. For details and photos of the event, which occurred on August 6, 2005, click here.

The setting in the background of this painting is a wharf in the quaintly named town of Dildo (yes, it’s called that, and no, that’s not what it means). Dildo is located near other places with fascinating names such as Heart’s Content, Heart’s Delight, Come By Chance, Spread Eagle, Backside Pond, Conception Bay… Of course, listing these names will probably attract and frustrate web surfers who were looking for something other than this painting…

For helping to quickly move things from intangible inspiration into the reality of a series of reference photos for me to work from, I am indebted to Janine Woodrow who orchestrated, to her father Richard Woodrow who patiently played the accordion and modeled different outfits, to her mother Marie Woodrow who directed a series of photo shoots, and to her sister Jennifer Woodrow whose camera captured a creative collection of shots that turned out to be exactly what I wanted (even though I hadn’t been quite sure what I was looking for until I saw it). What I ultimately used is just a small cropping of a very picturesque photo, and that will probably surprise both the photographer and the model. And my thanks also to Richard Woodrow for providing the perfect title for the painting. The second choice was “Squeeze Box”, a title this Pete Townshend / The Who fanatic had trouble resisting, but “Mussels in the Corner” is simply perfect.

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