12 - Jim Carpenter

The Art 

“The Eternal Heart-To-Heart” by Jim Carpenter   

Acrylic on Paper, 17″ x 22″   Collection of the Artist  

 Jim Carpenter’s comments 

My qigong teacher, Sifu Anthony Korahais, speaks of the importance of the “heart-to-heart” transmission when it comes to teaching the ancient Chinese art of qigong.  Something intangible and essential is transmitted from the teacher to the student. I have no doubt that my practice of qigong plays an essential role in my ability to be open to painting intuitively, and this painting in both title and concept owes much to that practice. 

I see this painting as a manifestation of my gratitude of all those who have gone before me.  Ancestors whom I’ve never met have transmitted something to my genetic makeup; ancestors recently departed whom I carry in my heart, have taught me how to see the world and have instilled in me a love for beauty.  In that sense they are eternally present in me, and are perhaps the wellspring of inspiration.

That is one personal and limited view of the painting. But I think that it also has a broader meaning. I think it can also stand as a representation of the creative process and of inspiration.  In some intangible way we are inspired by all that has come before us – we are a product of all the artistry and knowledge that has come before us – and in a sense the great philosophers and writers and artists of the past (as well as the present) continue to influence us and add to our understanding of the world and affect the way we respond to it.

*Helen adds, Jim Carpenter, 1947 - 2016, was a dancer, choreographer, actor, diector, writer, prize-winning teacher, and painter. To say Jim touched peoples lives in profound ways, including mine, is an understatement. I feel so privileged to have worked with him, albeit so briefly. 

The Music

Heart to Heart

Helen Davey

Heart to Heart (for voice, plucked piano strings, piano keys, warm pad & strings) is a sound-painting in response to a painting by Jim Carpenter called "The Eternal Heart-To-Heart" It is part of my "Project 52 Sound-Paintings". more info: https://helendavey.com/blog/week-12-jim-carpenters-the-eternal-heart-to-heart/
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  1. Heart to Heart

The richness and layers of meaning  in Jim’s artwork offers so many options for interpretation. We discussed some of his works at length and I was inspired to try musicking to them all!  When I chose this painting, I decided to work with Jim’s comment that “The Eternal Heart-to-Heart” could represent the creative process and inspiration that is transmitted from our ancestral past… This is the main voice in my music.  

Perhaps your astute ears heard whisperings. I was trying to evoke info that Jim shared with me. There is a very moving story behind this painting and I would say it encapsulates a seminal moment in Jim’s creative life. Like many Artists, Jim likes that the art speaks to individuals in a personal way. I decided that although it wasn’t  the main essence I was trying to convey, that I couldn’t withhold that knowledge in my sound-painting; so I have alluded to it musically with some clues, as Jim’s revelation stems from the Netherlands… I overdubbed two vocal tracks, one in Dutch, one with the English equivalent/translation. These are those whisperings:


Detail from The Eternal Heart To Heart by Jim Carpenter.