Live sound adds life to artist’s experience

Workshops include soothing sounds

Caelen Starblanket La Rocque and Gillian Redwood add live music to artist’s workshops this month.

Aural and visual meld in a series of workshops across the region starting this month.

After a decade as a couple, Gillian Redwood and Caelen Starblanket La Rocque experimented blending their brands of art.

“In the past I’ve always had some good things around to help people relax. A nice environment or CDs with music, creating a relaxing situation so people can get into their art and into their creativity,” explained Redwood, a painter. “I think people’s creativity is most free and most expressive when their body and spirits are relaxed and happy.”

Common sense led to her acoustic guitarist husband accompanying art sessions, a concept they explored during a couple of residential courses in the Kootenays before moving to Victoria last summer.

Redwood has long used music to soothe artists and “provide a more fertile ground for creative expression.”

“I think live music has a much more immediate and direct connection to the spirit. That’s important and that’s what will connect with people,” she said.

At the Da Vinci Centre in Victoria, there will be five one-day workshops starting next Wednesday (Feb. 27). A more in-depth series of two-day workshops at The Coast Collective in Colwood started Monday and feature Redwood’s personal approach to expressive acrylic painting.

Sessions include the live soundtrack thoughtfully provided by La Rocque.

“I just choose my music really at the moment. I can really react and customize things to how I see things going. Some of our groups are more stressed than others,” he said. “I really notice, and I pay attention, because I want to know that my music is having a great effect. … I want them to be in their own creative space.”

Feedback from previous performances shows his selection of jazz, folk and new age provides a renewed appreciation for live music.

“Music is all around us and most of it is recorded. So we know the value of music. … There’s no denying how important music is to our lives,” he said. “It’s like a rediscovery of live music for a lot of people. We’re used to listening to recorded music on our devices. People found it so easy to slip into what they’re doing and relax and not think.”

The workshops start this week at the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre, 195 Bay St., and the Coast Collective Arts Centre at Esquimalt Lagoon, 3221 Heatherbell Rd.

Visit to book workshops.

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