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Backstory: 'Il Volo'

When music and art combined to help me create a painting in spite of myself

Il Volo (painting) - Tom Delamater

"Il Volo" is one of my earliest pieces, painted while I was in Texas on business and living in a hotel. Cooped up in such a small space for four months, I set up a small work area and started painting whenever I had a free minute. It was all small-format stuff, which is all I had room for at the time.


At one point I hit a complete dry spell; no inspiration, no direction. Finally one day I decided that, to push through it, I was going to force myself to complete a painting, start to finish, in the time it took for an album to play. I had been listening a lot to the Italian tenor trio Il Volo, so I chose one of their albums, queued it up on Apple Music, and got to work.


I had no plan and simply began painting, deciding to go where the painting took me. 

Sure enough, just as the music ended about an hour later, I added the finishing touches — and this was the result.

I was in the flow, didn’t overthink it and didn’t let myself stop to analyze anything. I just kept going. When I stepped back and looked, I loved it. It remains one of my favorite pieces. In a strange way, it was like the paint, brushes, canvas, music and I were all part of the same energy. What came out of the process wasn’t the point; the process was. It was an unusual and eye-opening experience, and very personal, and ever since I have hung it on my wall for that very reason — as a reminder to just go for it, whether in art or in life.


Of course, I named it “Il Volo” — which means "the flight" — as a tribute to the trio whose music inspired its creation.

Il Volo Sings Morricone - album cover
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