From the Studio: Riff

Welcome back to my piano art studio! Today I have a series of questions for you—their answers too, of course.

Patterns? or random?

What’s your preference? As for me, I believe random is beautiful in certain situations, but my inclination is toward patterns. “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” right? This is why patterns appear in so many of the things I create from piano pieces. There is order in nature, there is order in music, and there is order inside a piano. Why not create more order from the pieces I find there?

How big is it?

Measuring at 24 x 36 inches, “Riff” is the largest canvas piece I’ve created to date.

What was your process?

To begin with, I selected a variety of piano action pieces from among those I had previously cleaned, separated, and sorted. Then sitting on the living room floor, I arranged them in a three-foot circle. When I was satisfied with the arrangement, I placed them onto a 24×30 piece of plywood. I considered mounting them to the plywood, but changed my mind and went with the canvas instead.

Since the finished product would be rectangular rather than circular, I removed all the pieces that appeared beyond the boundary, leaving me with 196 pieces. The ones that lay along the edge were cut and sanded, to give the illusion of a continuous circle without having to show it in its entirety. I painted the gallery-wrapped canvas in a nice neutral tone, and also hand-painted every action piece. When the paint was dry, I glued the pieces down. To finish the piece, on the back I installed two sets of picture wire and D-hooks—one to use for vertical hanging, and another for a horizontal display. It truly looks good either way.

What does it mean?

The circle was divided in half, representing the two parts of a standard musical staff: treble and bass. To color the pieces, I used vermillion on side and turquoise on the other. The parts in the center of the circle bear the darkest hues of each respective color, and the “ripples” which extend from the center grow increasingly lighter in hue. Additionally, I created a wavy line of white running through one side and another of black on the opposite side, representing the ivory and ebony of the keys. These were accompanied by one piece each from the other side, to represent the harmony created by playing the notes together.

Where did the name come from?

This one was dubbed “Riff,” a term I came across while learning to play guitar. A riff is a repeated chord progression or refrain; a pattern of sound that forms the foundation for the composition. This piece is a pattern in the form of a circle, so the name fits, don’t you think?

How can I make it mine?

“Riff” is currently available for sale. If you’re interested in learning more, simply click here.

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

Thank you for joining me on this tour of the studio. I look forward to seeing you on the next one. Until then, I invite you to check out photos of my other work in the gallery. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Published by Angela Umphers Rueger

Hello. I am a joyful wife and mother of three, just turned loose the last of my little chicks, and getting ready to spread my own writing wings. Twenty-six years ago I earned a B.A. in English because my heart's desire was to write. Since that time I've worked as a teacher, musician, cleaning lady, tax professional, and artist, but never as a writer. In the past year, several friends have encouraged me to pick up the baton and run with it. By creating this blog, I took the first baby step toward becoming a published author. The journey will likely be longer than I can imagine, but it has finally begun, and that's all that matters.

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