This is a post I have been meaning to write for some months now. Way back in December 2015, yes a whole year ago, I visited Pullen’s Yards Open Studios where I discovered some wonderful artists and designers. One of the artists I was most intrigued by was Camilla Lee. Camilla’s studio was strung with the most beautiful paintings. Circular bursts of brush strokes and colour which immediately appealed to my ascetic leanings and I was fascinated to understand more. Camilla told me her paintings were all created whilst listening to music. Listening to music inspires the colours and the direction of the brush strokes. I have since learnt that relating sound to colour is known as ‘Chromesthesia’. Each painting on display was the result of listening to a particular piece of music.
“Whilst a song is playing, colours are picked out from the music. With the brushstrokes being directed by the rhythm and accents in the music”
Both myself and my husband were fascinated by this process and idea and enjoyed chatting to Camilla who was utterly engaging and charming. I took one of her cards away with me feeling fairly sure I would come back to it at some time. Christmas 2015 came and went and in early February 2016 I picked up Camilla’s card and made contact with her. I emailed her asking if I could commission one of her paintings. Camilla immediately replied saying she would be delighted and did I have a particular song in mind.
The commission was going to be a present of my husband’s birthday and I had already decided that I was going to choose ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers. We were childhood sweethearts and many summers of our youth were spent listening to Bill Withers greatest hits. This was a particularly favourite tune! Camilla also asked if I had colour preferences. I didn’t. For me, the beauty of these paintings is Camilla’s interpretation of the music in whatever colours sing out to her.
Just a couple of weeks later and Camilla emailed me to say the painting was ready. With great excitement I arranged to meet her at Holborn Tube Station to collect my painting. It was wonderful to meet her again and felt so much more personal than having it delivered. As I carried it home on the tube I was desperate to see the final piece.
I was thrilled and perhaps more importantly as it was his present , so was my husband. We felt that Camilla had captured the joy of the song. The colours are sunny and it coveys the exuberance of the carefree summers we shared listening to that song.
The name and artist of the song is handwritten at the edge of the painting
If you would like to know more about Camilla Lee’s work you can find out more here.