Hearing Colour, Neil Harbisson, artist, part two.


Hearing Colour- Neil Harbisson, Artist, part one

Neil’s talk is very interesting and full of humour- he is witty and so positive!  His jokes made me laugh out loud- such as  references to eating his favourite songs and maybe if teenagers had Lady Gaga salads they might eat their vegetables!

He is aware that his eyes don’t show him what most of us see- a bright world bursting with colour and vitality.  As an artist myself who loves flowers I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to only see shades of grey. I’ve always been into colour and even did a colour therapy diploma a few years ago. Colour is a big part of my life. But yet, Neil presents his world in such a way that my reaction is not of pity as I expected to react, but wonderment- he HEARS colour with his device and uses it to create music and art; he can even hear infra red.

This device has become part of his life and changed how he experiences the world so much that he now sees himself as a cyborg:

Neil Harbisson is a Catalan-raised, British-born contemporary artist and cyborg activist best known for having an antenna implanted in his skull and for being officially recognised as a cyborg by a government.

The antenna allows him to perceive visible and invisible colours such as infrareds and ultraviolets via sound waves. The antenna’s internet connection allows him to receive colours from space as well as images, videos, music or phone calls directly into his head via external devices such as mobile phones or satellites.

Harbisson identifies himself as a cyborg, he feels both his mind and body are united to cybernetics. He doesn’t feel he is using or wearing technology, instead he feels he is technology. His artworks investigate the relationship between colour and sound, experiment the boundaries of human perception and explore the use of artistic expression via sensory extensions.

 In 2010 he co­-founded the Cyborg Foundation with Moon Ribas, an international organisation that aims to help humans become cyborgs, defend cyborg rights and promote cyborgism as a social and artistic movement.


I have to admit to having  a negative response to the idea of cyborgism- the images if scary sci dystopias, loss of human warmth and connection to nature, creatures like the Borg in Star Trek TNG coming to mind, but in the case of Neil Harbisson I see how this implanted device has changed his world for the better.


Beauty and sadness

Love this artwork by Zlatkomusicart.

Zlatko Music Art

abstract-portrait-woman-beauty-and-sadness-contemporary-art-painting-by-Zlatko-Music.jpg Beauty and sadness, abstract portrait (acrylic on canvas). Art painting by contemporary artist Zlatko Music

I was out of inspiration so I decided to clean up my workspace.
I’m a pretty messy, and often not very well organised so there are always a lot of sketches and drawings all across the floor.
So in this process of trying to organise things a bit, I came across this drawing of a woman’s portrait. It was something I draw just for practice and left it there.
Suddenly, as I’m looking at this drawing inspiration kicks in! There was something in that pose of a woman, it was beautiful, but she looked so sad. Sometimes sadness can be really beautiful in a strange way.
I don’t know if I managed to capture that sadness in a painting, but nevertheless it looks very interesting to me, and on a bright side I started painting…

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The greatest analogue of Chopin’s Nocturne In D Flat in painting, Laughter in the Rain, and Sunrise over Water by Ian Barton Stewart

These paintings are just..stunning!!….wow..!! They move me incredibly; just to look at them is like entering a beautiful dream. I am hugely impressed by this artist’s talent.

Laughter in the Rain, Sunrise over water – themes that remain some of mankind’s most dreamed of subjects… And Chopin’s Nocturne in D Flat is the quintessential nocturne. It is dreamy but restless, just like the painting below. These three paintings show what can be achieved with a predominantly grey palette. These paintings show grey at its most lyrical and evocative.

Nocturne in D Flat by Ian Barton Stewart


Nocturne in D Flat by Ian Barton Stewart


This work is 1.7m by 1.4m and painted in oils on linen. The painter James Whistler painted several “nocturnes” and like this one they were great in tone to suggest nocturnal themes. But this painting also suggests a nocturne as a musical composition, and more specifically Chopin’s Nocturne in D Flat op 27 no 2. I have played and recorded this work at the piano, and it features in my novel, Love and The Art of Painting. The D Flat key of the nocturne is consistent with the colour scheme of this work. More importantly most of the work is placid and tranquil, but this tranquility is interrupted by turmoil in the lower centre of the painting. That is consistent with Chopin’s great musical composition which begins smoothly and calmly but wanders through a field of fiery emotions…


Laughter In The Rain, by Ian Barton Stewart artist


Oil on linen 1.8m by 0.9m 2015 

by Ian Barton Stewart

A beautiful painting showing how the colour grey can represent a remarkable poeticism and diversity. The title is drawn from Claude Debussy’s piano work of the same name, which I have played and admired for many years. If I had to choose a particular passage in Debussy’s work that mirrors this work, it would be the middle section beginning in the key of G Major, which I think is one of the most remarkable passages of music ever composed. Here, the rain is suggested by the verticality of brush strokes,  while laughter is evident in the patches of of white and dark grey in the lower half of the painting. But of course, each viewer sees a work himself, and not necessarily how others see it. The photo of course does not do the painting justice, so you will have to imagine what it looks like in real life and size, for it is a large and breathtaking painting, and the modulations of grey, white and darker hues form a single unified conception in the painting, that a photograph simply cannot capture…

Sunrise by ian barton stewart


Oil on linen 1.7m by 1.4m by Ian Barton Stewart

This painting shows the sun commencing its arc across the sky, bringing forth blazing light and warmth on which nearly all life on Earth depends. The work has something of an old master quality about it, and the sun rises over a seascape of mystery. If I think of analogues in the realm of music I think of Claude Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque, Richard Strauss’s Sunrise from Thus Spake Zarathustra, and maybe even Chopin’s Barcarolle. Of course I did not paint this work to emulate these composer’s works. Nor did I paint it to emulate Manet’s Sunrise painting that heralded Impressionism as a style in the history of art. This painting  can be seen as influenced by all of these works and themes, but you will not find another painting like it anywhere (unless someone has copied this painting). This painting reminds me of one of my favourite artists, JMW Turner, with its washes of colour over moody water, but also with a warmth that makes the painting appear illuminated from behind.


To see more amazing artwork visit the artist’s website: