Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Çumbus Player

Anon. Çumbus Player (Turkey)
17" x 17"
oil on ceramic tile, 2011

There are so many instruments in the world, there's no way I'd be able to know them all let alone paint them all but new ones are added to my repertoire every once in a while. The çumbus is the latest. Advertised on the liner notes to Songs and Dances from Turkey as a modern lute, the çumbus looks more like a giant 12 string banjo. The çumbus player above, anonymous, is most likely the player featured in the dance tune Nihavent Longa as the image appears on the back sleeve of that record. The player is not identified in neither image nor recording. The producers of 'field' recordings in the 1950s and 60s typically omit this kind of information. In recent times this would be disrespectful, but back then it seemed that the circumstances and geographical location were more important  to the ethnomusicologist than the name of a player or singer. The çumbus on Nihavent Longa is accompanied by a clarinet as well as a darabukā player. I've painted clarinets before but never a darabukā. A missed opportunity here because an image of the darabukā, a goblet drum, is also featured on the same back sleeve.
But a painting is a painting and not a platform for instrument indulgence (even though it could very well be). The more I learn about painting the more of a purist I become. In this painting on ceramic tile (the purity of which is debatable) my palette consisted of the three primary colors and white, and I've used only one medium sized brush. I use no mechanical techniques whatsoever, no tape, rulers, transfer techniques, no additional application techniques. I've painted wet in wet without any color mixing on the palette. Ideally I finish one in a four to five hour session but typically I go back into it the next day. The çumbus player was executed over the course of three days.

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