A duet from one artist to another

Lisa Goudy
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Jennifer McRorie paints her baby's hand as Ramses Calderon responds by playing a melody on his guitar at the Artists Duet: In Light of Presence event at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre on May 31, 2014.

A hand started to take shape as a soothing guitar melody bounced around in the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.

Ramses Calderon watched carefully as Jennifer McRorie extracted the lighter colours on her eraser drawing of her newborn baby’s hand. In response, he improvised a melody on his guitar as she worked.

After a 10-minute break, the process was reversed and McRorie painted in response to Calderon’s song that he wrote for his newborn daughter. It was a live presentation of two different types of art at Artists Duet: In Light of Presence.

"The music was wonderful. It was great to keep me going. I had to work fast,” said McRorie. “It kept me focused because I kept thinking everyone’s watching me and then the music kept pulling me back in.”

Calderon said the collaboration between the two of them was excellent. Watching her paint evoked ideas of birth, motherhood and moments of pain the baby experiences while coming into this world, he said.

“You are not isolated when you collaborate. You see the dialogue,” said Calderon.

As she painted, he said it helped him focus on his music as well.

“Art like anything else is so related to each other. When I see paintings, I see music. I see frequencies. I see vibrations. I see waves,” he said. “So when we incorporate in such a way … I think it’s very emotional and it should be shared with other people. It brings you into the moment.”

McRorie, a visual artist, curator and writer living in Moose Jaw, has a master of fine arts degree from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand and a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Regina.

Calderon, born in San Salvador, El Salvador and currently resides in Regina, started his music career when he was 11. As a guitarist and composer, he has been living and performing in Canada since 2000.

There were several kids in the audience of about 30 people. 

“It’s great to see kids here because that’s the main theme that we are doing,” said Calderon. “It’s about our babies, but … we relate now to other parents who have exactly the same ideas. This is the future of the world, how we shape it, how we nurture it.”

McRorie said when she was first approached about doing the event she saw it as an opportunity.

“We both are new to parenthood and I’ve been wanting to do this painting. I heard that Ramses had composed a piece for his daughter,” she said. “I thought this would be a great way to come together and interact. It’s part of our personal lives that we don’t normally show professionally.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: University of Canterbury, University of Regina

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Christchurch, New Zealand San Salvador El Salvador Canada

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