Jesse Jones



Art Inspiring Art: Music Made Visible

The Onomatopoetic project is the collaboration between the University of South Carolina School of Music faculty and artists from the prestigious Trenholm Artist Guild in Columbia, South Carolina. The project grew out of the desire to enrich the September 2014, North American premier of Dr. Jesse Jones’ work “In Dulcet Tones” (the work was commissioned for and premiered in Chiang Mai, Thailand in February 2014).

The mission of this collaboration was to create a show of visual representations of “In Dulcet Tones,” which was then juried by the composer. The chosen works were displayed on-stage for the September premier at the USC School of Music.


Recorded by Dr. Rebecca Hunter and Dr. Lynn Kompass, visual artists, mostly of the Trenholm Artist Guild, were given a copy of “In Dulcet Tones” which they used for inspiration as they created works in their individual studios. Two months later, the show opened during Columbia’s renowned First Thursdays on Main Street Event. Nine out of 35 juried works were chosen to represent the newly composed piece, “In Dulcet Tones.” The chosen works range from amateurs to international renowned artists. All of the participants in this venture held a deep passion for both music and art and were significantly inspired by this project.

* To view a slideshow of the nine chosen works with the music, click here.




While listening to In Dulcet Tones, my interpretation was of something all too familiar to me; however, it became an uneasy healing for me during a grieving process. The music had a wonderful intensity and at the end, a definite lowness to a quick dramatic breath of life and then, it was over. My painting is in honor of my mother, Virginia Louise Williams.



Sara Louise Winsted    Virginia

“Seeking Serenity”

The title, In Dulcet Tones, brought to mind the lyrical voice of acclaimed Russian soprano Olga Orlovskaya. I usually paint to classical music and wondered how Olga’s portrait might be affected by this contemporary work. Olga’s red hair reminds me of Mary Magdalene, traditionally painted as a redhead. Listening to the music, I initially visualized the Magdalen’s state of mind, especially during the chaotic, uncertain period after Christ’s crucifixion when his disciples hid in fear-grieving, nursing shattered hopes and dreams, longing for peace and security. Gradually this image faded, and I heard the violin as the voice of the soul as it journeys through life, which was represented by the surrounding instrumentation. At times the soul experienced frantic, fearful moments; at times, more peaceful passages. Buffeted by uncertainty and confusion, it finally reached a state of quiet tension. Ultimately, the music and painting represented for me the soul’s search for serenity amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life.


Seeking Serenity

Tish Lowe     Seeking Serenity
Contact: Tish­­

“An Untitled Work”

I normally paint with bright colors but when I heard In Dulcet Tones it inspired a darker side of me. I felt the intensity and the sweetness with this piece. I felt moved to paint something dramatic And, intense.

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An Untitled Work

Vicky Whitaker     An Untitled Work

“Through the Rain”

The poem that lies beneath the painting is portraying the need to live life and being ready to let go of a relationship, if two people can’t seem to grow in their lives together… In Dulcet Tones seemed to raise so many feelings of other sentimental areas in my life too. So, for me, when all seems heavy and crazy or even good, light and happy, the ups and downs of it all … There are those times the little things that remind you how it is to feel free, laugh just because, not take for granted the beauty around you – whether it’s the people in your life or the sensation you have being outside in nature.. Feeling sand through your toes when walking on the beach, soft grass when it finally gets warm enough to walk barefoot outside when spring arrives, or walking outside in the rain – feeling the drops come down on you, as you tiptoe through the puddles – carefree letting go, but Being in that Moment.

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Through the Rain

Lisa Gray     Through the Rain

“Flowers in Dulcet Tones”

As I listened to the musical composition, In Dulcet Tones, I began to visualize colors that flow. I squirted paint from bottles onto the paper in a swirling manner. As the paint started to settle, I immediately saw a delicate hibiscus begin to form. I picked up a brush, and as the musical composition progressed, I felt zigzag highs and lows that became a type of coreopsis flower that is full of motion and vibrant color. Throughout the piece, I used sprays of water and color to capture the melodious feel of In Dulcet Tones.

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Flowers in Dulcet Tones

Barbie Mathis    Flowers in Dulcet Tones

“Music of the Sea and Sky”

…melodic arpeggios;  energy;  a journey; something enters and agitates; quiet comes but questions remain; richness as questions are examined; answers presented in brief aria; playful agitation; pushing; melodrama followed by maturity; resolution followed by fluttering release.

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Music of the Sea and Sky

Sharon Matchett    Music of the Sea and Sky

“Moody Reflections”

When listening to In Dulcet Tones, the first few times I felt confused as ideas were jagged, split-second visuals I could not interpret. As I began to drip Prussian blue down the canvas, I was liking the depth the richly colored drips provided. So I then began dripping Cerulean blue, played with some pink-to-peach colors (don’t know why pink-to-peach colors) and began to feel the music was sending me somewhere…?

This short musical piece provided for me an entirely different method of painting. Instead of what I wanted to paint, the music led me in the direction of creating an idea out of drips and colors! Experiencing a new way to paint through music was awesome! I didn’t control the painting, but rather the music seemed to lead me in the direction I should follow. Painting in such a truly creative manner gives the artist the true meaning for why we paint!

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Moody Reflections

Glenda Keyes    Moody Reflections


As mostly a landscape artist, while painting to the incongruous melody of In Dulcet Tones, I was traveling to places both comfortable and familiar… and places not.



Karen Jamrose   Traveling

“Lotus Dance”

Ethereal melodic tones waft across the misty pond blanketed by lily pads while rain drops nourish the lotus blossoms. The delicate music emanating from the composer’s hand flows gracefully with a meditative spiritual quality that captures the imagination.

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Lotus Dance (Quilt)

Patty Gamburg    Lotus Dance
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Original works and prints are available upon request from the artist.