Petra Tool is an artist who examines…artists.
A gifted portrait artist, she explores the personalities of gifted performers, interviewing them about their talent, passions, the problems they face, their insecurities and secrets of their success.
Under her intense gaze, vocalists may find that the wisdom to pursue their dreams is inside, waiting to come out.
Amber Gomaa really stands out on the stage.
With her black curly hair and delicate blue dress, she immediately caught my attention. (See full sized image below.)
And when she ended her solo with a perfect long high note, her arms open wide and a radiant smile, I knew I wanted to depict that mesmerizing moment.
But does a vocalist always live in that moment?
During our conversation, sitting on a tiny café terrace on a hot summer evening, I noticed longings and uncertainties beneath the surface.
She shared her feelings with me: “I can get frustrated from time to time. Especially when I’m writing my own songs. When I try a few lines and it’s not as good as I hoped for, I quit. That’s not because I’m undisciplined, it’s because I’m unsure. I should continue and pass judgments later. I want to focus on writing music, learn to play the guitar and the piano, and improve my singing.”
Every talented person is critical of his own creations. You might call it self reflection—until it causes you to procrastinate.
Then we start believing there will come a better time for our projects in the future…and sometimes we may be right.
But most of the time we have to accept the fact we have to create in the middle of our not-so-ideal circumstances, accompanied by our own negative thoughts.
Was Amber procrastinating?
I didn’t know. But I also noticed that, although she was a bit anxious, she knew what she wanted. She had her priorities right:
“I’m a backing vocalist to Alain Clark, who is very successful right now. I’ve learned so much from him—he is authentic, remains close to who he is. Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson: they may be eccentric, but are also authentic. If your success comes from authenticity, then it will last.
Until I met Alain, music was not my priority. I didn’t think I was good enough and was afraid to dream about a future in music. Now I know I’m a good singer. I want to have my own album in five years.”
When we said our goodbyes, I had no idea what she would do.
Would she find someone to help her to write songs, take some classes, take a different career path?
Recently she surprised me with the news she had applied for the Conservatory! She was excited about it.
It might satisfy her need to learn, and make her more sure of herself.
And yes, other solutions might also have worked, like co-writing with someone she really trusts.
There are many roads to your dream, and one shouldn’t get lost finding the ‘right’ or ‘best’ one. After all, every choice has its pros and cons.
You’re on the right track when you’re moving towards your goal and are enthusiastic about your journey.
Just like Amber…
Petra Tool is a Dutch artist and talent expert. She’s specialized in interviewing and painting talented and passionate people. Most of her models are dancers and musicians. You can find more information on her website: www.petratool.nl/
Painting: Blue Lady Sings (Amber Gomaa) – 70×100 cm – watercolour- Petra Tool
The Art of Petra Tool