The brain loves to have multiple senses fed at once.
For three years, Wild Horse Gallery has hosted events to integrate art and music. The intellectual pleasure that comes from listening to a live chamber music performance while an artist creates a painting of the scene has made the evenings very popular.
¤ Integrated Art and Music with jazz pianist Paul Potyen and artist Rich Galusha ¤ 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday
¤ Wild Horse Gallery in the lobby of the Sheraton Steamboat Resort
¤ RSVP to 879-7660. Reservations recommended, as space is limited.
It started in 2003 with John Sant'Ambrogio's Arts for the Soul summer retreat. Sant'Ambrogio was the principal cello of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for almost 40 years before retiring to Steamboat Springs. He played the cello while Rich Galusha painted his portrait.
"Not many people have seen a painting done from life," Galusha said. The easel is positioned so the audience has a view of each brushstroke. Their minds wander from music to canvas. "It adds more to the experience of listening to the music. There's this performance art factor to it.
"I have the skills where I can pull off a painting in the course of a concert, but I also enjoy it."
The music and the art feed off each other.
"As I paint, there's this energy in the room that I'm tapping into," Galusha said.
Since that first experience of integrating art and music with Sant'Ambrogio, Galusha has participated in such events whenever possible.
On Sunday night, he will paint as Paul Potyen plays the piano. Usually, at the end of the night, the completed painting is auctioned off to members of the audience. At this performance, Galusha will gift the final painting to Potyen.
Having time to stage such events is a pleasure of his recent retirement as the art teacher at Steamboat Springs High School. He retired in June 2005 and has been trying to find his rhythm as an artist since.
Even after all these years as an artist, he still is honing his craft -- spending his retirement buried in art books and experimenting with new techniques.
"Look at the great masters and what they were able to accomplish," he said. "I think that's what life is about -- to get better at what you do."