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It is not difficult to imagine a fresh running stream from a musical composition designed to describe it, as there is a similarity in sound. But Debussy’s success in portraying the passing of the moon behind the clouds in his “Clair de Lune” defies explanation.
Blackwell’s work falls into this category. “Sonism” is a term he has coined for the visual description of all sounds. As in most forms of art, there are certain basic rules. In “Sonism” these are obvious and natural: with regard to pitch, a high sound would be thin and pale in colour; a low sound would be broad and deep in colour.
With regard to quality, a hard, abrupt sound would be indicated by a sharply defined edge; an indistinct sound by a soft feathered edge. There is, of course, scope for variation in texture between these two extremes. But these rules are often broken by the artist because of the atmosphere and emotion created by the sound, particularly with relation to music. This is where his instinct takes over.
Another aspect of Blackwell’s works is the inevitable need to condense a period of time onto a static canvas, which he does by stripping away repeats and variations and working with the few remaining sounds. This is the basis of Laurance Blackwell’s unique visual descriptions of sound. It is pure art straight from the heart with no consideration for any other art that has been produced before.