Music as muse: ‘Pictures of an Exhibition’ inspires artist |

Music as muse: ‘Pictures of an Exhibition’ inspires artist

Submitted photo

How music translates to color is a fascinating subject. And it was only natural that when Nevada City contemporary painter LeeAnn Brook first listened to “Pictures of an Exhibition” that a full image came to mind.

Sunday, Brook will paint live behind a partition on stage during the Music in the Mountains SummerFest concert while being projected via video onto a large screen for optimum viewing. The painting will take shape in front of the audience’s eyes while listening to pianist Alexander Korsantia along with Maestro Gregory Vajda and the MIM orchestra.

“After listening to this composition for many hours, the notes and phrases became colors and textures of paint in my mind.

The bold, forthright prelude became rich browns, siennas with undertones of purple and alizarin. The delicate passages of staccato transitions became soft cerulean blues and turquoise with accents of cadmium red, while I saw the ending crescendo culminating in brush strokes of the unexpected,” said Brook in preparation for Sunday’s painting.

With the entire composition being 35 minutes, the painting will be done in an expressionistic style in response to the music.

Loving the spontaneity of this performance, Brook has long dreamt of painting in front of a live audience.

Being a painter for more than 40 years and frequently doing demonstrations in her Nevada City painting workshops, along with being a seasoned public speaker, there are no holds barred.

“I know it sounds strange, but I love not knowing what will happen. Art is spontaneous as well as thought out at the same time, just like music. There is a certain amount of trust and magic that happens when interpretation takes place in the moment. I really look forward to the alchemy of this evening,” said Brook.

At the end of the evening there will be an artist’s reception where the painting may be bid on at a silent auction.

Brook will donate 40 percent of the proceeds of the sale of the painting to Music in the Mountains, in memory of longtime art lover and Music in the Mountains board member and patron Marion Gallagher.

Brook has a studio in Nevada City that is open by appointment.

Her work was most recently accepted by a statewide landscape competition at the Santa Cruz Art League as well as the 2013 California State Fair.

More of Brook’s work may be seen at

Tickets to the 3 p.m. Sunday concert at the Amaral Center at Nevada County Fairgrounds are still available through MIM’s Box Office and range in price from $5 for youth to $50, depending on location.

For information, go to

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