Just as I begin most musical compositions improvising at the keyboard until I find an idea I can expand upon, I begin most visual art works without a plan, sketching randomly with a pencil, often with my eyes closed. Then I search the resulting image for an idea I can develop, erasing lines lines that don't belong, and adding to those that do until the final drawing emerges. I usually finish with ink, adding texture and thickness to the lines and other details as required.
I rarely work from real life, relying more on memory and imagination. And just as musicians employ musical motifs to impart coherence to their creations, I look for visual motifs in the form of lines, shapes and textures I can build upon to imbue my work with unity, and what others have perceived of as a particular “musical quality.” Also guided by my composer's miniaturist sensibility, economy of thought is crucial. Color and unnecessary detail are frequently omitted.
My goal is to elicit a meaningful emotional response in the viewer through the creation of works that are evocative of reality, but not in themselves realistic.
Frank Levin, 6 February 2007.