Jan 30 2015

Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you’ve a date in Constantinople
She’ll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul, Istanbul
Istanbul, Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can’t say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can’t go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks

Istanbul

This piece is based on the song Istanbul (Not Constantinople) by They Might Be Giants. There are many versions, and they covered it…their version is my favorite. This is an old version, and I really like this one. Anyhoo, the song was a comic response to Turkey renaming the city of Constantinople in 1930 to the new name of Istanbul.


Jan 5 2014

When The Tigers Broke Free

It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black ’44
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn
And the generals gave thanks 
As the other ranks
Held back the enemy tanks for a while
And the Anzio bridghead was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives

And kind old King George sent mother a note
When he heard that father was gone
It was, I recall, in the form of a scroll
With gold leaf and all
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away
And my eyes still grow damp
To remember
That his majesty signed
With his own rubber stamp

It was dark all around
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free
And no one survived from the Royal Fusiliers, Company C
They were all left behind
Most of them dead
The rest of them dying
And that’s how the high command
Took my daddy from me

 
This piece is inspired by the lyrics to the Pink Floyd song When The Tigers Broke Free, which is in the movie The Wall. It’s the story of the British Army company that Roger Waters’ father served in during World War II. This song sets up the premise for The Wall movie. This song always gives me the shivers a bit.

Dec 26 2013

Dreamboat Annie

Heading out this morning into the sun 
Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin’ one 

Warm wind caress her 
Her lover it seems 
Oh, Annie 
Dreamboat Annie my little ship of dreams 

Going down the city sidewalk alone in the crowd 
No one knows the lonely one whose head’s in the clouds 

Sad faces painted over with those magazine smiles 
Heading out to somewhere won’t be back for a while

 

This piece is based on the Heart 1976 song Dreamboat Annie. The song is really short (2:02) but I love it. I actually remember the first time I heard it and where I was. I think a good song has the ability to affect you that way. I’m really happy with the way this one came out. Funny how pieces come about…I was listening to Sirius XM in the car the other day, and heard another obscure Heart song (Dog and Butterfly) and I thought, “I should do a piece to Dreamboat Annie.”

And so I did. :)


Dec 23 2013

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came earlyThe ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
With a crew and good captain well seasoned
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
Then later that night when the ship’s bell rang
Could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
When the wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too
‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashin’
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck
Sayin’ “Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya”
At seven PM a main hatchway caved in
He said, “Fellas, it’s been good to know ya”
The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her
They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams
The islands and bays are for sportsmen
And farther below, Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral
The church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early

This piece is based on the song Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot. I’ve loved this song since I was a kid. My dad is obsessed with it. :) It’s about the true story of the (you guessed it) wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a large Great Lakes freighter that sank in November of 1975 in Lake Superior, killing all 29 aboard. Having lived in the Midwest, I spent a lot of time around and on the Great Lakes…this song always pops into my head when the big waves come crashing in the late fall, accompanied by slate gray skies and the Witch of November.



				

Dec 19 2013

Fixing A Hole

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in 
And stops my mind from wandering 
Where it will go 

I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door 
And kept my mind from wandering 
Where it will go 

And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right 
Where I belong I’m right 
Where I belong. 

See the people standing there who disagree and never win 
And wonder why they don’t get in my door 
I’m painting my room in the colourful way 

And when my mind is wandering 
There I will go 
And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right 
Where I belong I’m right 
Where I belong. 

Silly people run around they worry me 
And never ask me why they don’t get past my door 
I’m taking the time for a number of things 
That weren’t important yesterday 
And I still go 

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in 
And stops my mind from wandering 
Where it will go

This piece is based on The Beatles song “Fixing A Hole” off of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. I think this is now the fifth song I’ve done off of that album. It’s definitely one of my favorite all-time albums.

Oct 18 2013

Undun

She’s come undun
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when I found what she was headed for
It was too late

She’s come undun
She found a mountain that was far too high
And when she found out she couldn’t fly
It was too late

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
She wanted truth but all she got was lies
Came the time to realize
And it was too late

She’s come undun
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when I found what she was headed for
Mama, it was too late

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun
She’s come undun

Too many mountains, and not enough stairs to climb
Too many churches and not enough truth
Too many people and not enough eyes to see
Too many lives to lead and not enough time

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
Doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, un doe, doe, doe, un doe, doe, doe
Doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, un doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe
Doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe, doe

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when I found what she was headed for
It was too late

She’s come undun
She found a mountain that was far too high
And when she found out she couldn’t fly
Mama, it was too late

It’s too late
She’s gone too far
She’s lost the sun

She’s come undun
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Doe, doe, doe, doe

I once read that Stephen King was so disturbed by the manuscript he had written (Pet Sematary) that he wasn’t going to publish it. Then he finally did, and it was a huge success (but still very disturbing – a definite read if you haven’t).

This piece is kind of the same way for me. It’s based on the Guess Who song Undun. On the surface it’s not that disturbing…unless you know the story behind my other inspiration for the piece. It still haunts me – you can read about it here if you’d like. It literally happened the next street over from us – about a block away.

I had an extremely hard time finishing this piece. I guess maybe it was kind of cathartic, in a way.

The style of this piece is an homage to one of my new favorite artists, Daniel Danger. Check him out – he’s fantastic.

 

Rest in peace Liam and Madigan.


Jun 30 2013

Major Tom (Space Oddity)

Standing there alone,

the ship is waiting.

 All systems are go.

“Are you sure?”

Control is not convinced,

but the computer

has the evidence.

No need to abort.

The countdown starts.

Watching in a trance,

the crew is certain.

Nothing left to chance,

all is working.

Trying to relax

up in the capsule

“Send me up a drink.”

jokes Major Tom.

The count goes on…

4, 3, 2, 1

Earth below us

drifting, falling.

Floating weightless

calling, calling home…

Second stage is cut.

We’re now in orbit.

Stabilizers up,

running perfect.

 Starting to collect

 requested data.

“What will it affect

when all is done?”

thinks Major Tom.

Back at ground control,

there is a problem.

“Go to rockets full.”

 Not responding.

“Hello Major Tom.

Are you receiving?

Turn the thrusters on.

We’re standing by.”

There’s no reply.

4, 3, 2, 1

Earth below us

drifting, falling.

Floating weightless

calling, calling home…

Across the stratosphere,

a final message:

“Give my wife my love.”

Then nothing more.

Far beneath the ship,

the world is mourning.

They don’t realize

he’s alive.

No one understands,

but Major Tom sees.

“Now the light commands

this is my home,

I’m coming home.”

Earth below us

drifting, falling.

Floating weightless

coming home…

Earth below us

drifting, falling.

Floating weightless

coming, coming

home…

home…..

This piece is based on the 1980′s song Major Tom, by Peter Schilling. But strangely, it’s also kind of based on the David Bowie song Space Oddity, which is, of course, the original Major Tom that Peter Schilling used as inspiration. When I first started the piece I was thinking the Bowie Space Oddity version, but then the Schilling Major Tom lyrics seemed to fit better. You may listen to either song when viewing this piece. :) I used photos I took at the Abrams Plane-arium. Bonus points if you get that spelling/reference.

The Bowie lyrics:

Ground Control to Major Tom Ground Control to Major Tom Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom Commencing countdown, engines on Check ignition and may God’s love be with you
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Lift-off
This is Ground Control to Major Tom You’ve really made the grade And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare
“This is Major Tom to Ground Control I’m stepping through the door And I’m floating in a most peculiar way And the stars look very different today
For here Am I sitting in a tin can Far above the world Planet Earth is blue And there’s nothing I can do
Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles I’m feeling very still And I think my spaceship knows which way to go Tell my wife I love her very much (she knows!) Ground Control to Major Tom Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear me, Major Tom? Can you hear… 
Am I floating round my tin can Far above the Moon Planet Earth is blue And there’s nothing I can do?


Aug 23 2012

Heartbeat City

Oh heartbeat city
Here we come
And happy days
Count on thumbs
And nothin’ really
Gets us down
As long as Jacki’s
Back in town

I’m glad you made it
And I can’t complain

Oh Jacki (echo) What took you so long
On just a holiday
Oh Jacki (echo)
What took you so long
I thought you knew the way
(Heartbeat city)

The noise electric
Never stops
And all you need
Is what you got
And there’s a place
For everyone
Under heartbeat city’s
Golden sun

(Jacki)
Oh Jacki
(What took you so long)
What took you so long
On just a holiday
Oh Jacki (echo)
(What took you so long)
What took you so long
(So long)
I thought you knew the way

Oh, yeah yeah yeah

You know? (unintelligible)
I’m glad you made it
And I can’t complain
I missed you so badly
When you jumped that train

(Jacki)
Oh Jacki
(What took you so long)
What took you so long
On just a holiday
Oh Jacki (echo)
(What took you so long)
What took you so long
(So long)
(Thought you knew the way)
I thought you blew away

(Heartbeat city)
Oh heartbeat city
Lights at night
(Heartbeat city)
Keeps getting closer
Out of sight
(Heartbeat city)
Heartbeat city’s
On the loose
(Heartbeat city)
Better catch
The blue caboose
Oh, huh, heartbeat city
It’s my life, uh
(Heartbeat city)
(Heartbeat city)
(Heartbeat city)

Well, it’s been way too long – time to get back into the swing of things! I actually have a lot of time right now, as I have been searching for a job for the past three months after being let go from my previous gig (along with my entire team).  So no excuses, other than procrastination of course!

This one is based on Heartbeat City, by the Cars. I’ve been listening to this album (yes, the actual vinyl album) a lot lately – reminds me of high school. The photos are ones that I took this summer – the main one is a model railroad scene.


Apr 4 2012

Return (Sole Survivor) – ’12 – #1

There walked a lonely man,
silent, mute, the only man
not knowing how, not knowing why
was he the sole survivor

why should he be alive,
breathing still while others died
and the only question
why was he the sole survivor

Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted saviour, cried into the night
Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted saviour, cried into the night

Wind blew across the sand
He stood alone and he had no plan
And with the last rays of the sun
He screamed aloud, began to run

In his tears he sees his face
“I am the end of the human race
When I’m gone there’ll be no trace
For I’m the sole survivor”

Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted saviour, cried into the night
Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted saviour, cried into the night

One night when years had passed
The skies shook from a fiery blast
And there a starship – saved at last!
To come rescue this survivor

They beckoned him inside
but only man, he would not ride
instead he found a place to hide
for he’s the sole survivor

Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted saviour, cried into the night
Sole survivor, cursed with second sight
Haunted saviour, cried into the night

Welcome back Constant Reader. For some reason, the Muse of Inspiration finally awoke in me, and I decided to check out the Illustration Friday website to see what this week’s word is, and it is Return. Very fitting, as one of the definitions is “to go or come back, as to an earlier condition or place.”  I’m returning to creating my art again.

The first thought of a song to inspire this theme was the Blue Oyster Cult song Sole Survivor. This song reminds me of college – specifically one summer I stayed up at school to work.

The photos are pictures I took recently at the Biosphere 2, near Tucson AZ. The spaceman is a stock photo.


Jan 27 2012

Just a bit outside, or a recap of 2011

For anyone keeping track, my goal for 2010 (and 2011) was to do 52 pieces of art per year, or what would average out to one a week. 2010 I achieved that goal. 2011…well, not so much. I believe I finished up with 23 total pieces. Still not too shabby for someone who up until 2010 hadn’t done much of any (personal) art in the past 15 or so years.

I did manage to sell a few pieces in 2011, which was a nice bonus. And I donated a print of Two Silver Trees, which I made into a triptych, for a charity silent auction at work which ended up selling for $145!

I’ve decided for 2012 to not put a set goal on the amount of pieces I do. I do have a few goals for this year. I’d like to start up doing some actual painting again, which is what I originally set out to do at the beginning of this blog. I’m also going to take a new twist to my digital art. I’m going to keep doing pieces based on songs, but I am going to pick songs that have had some sort of impact on my life. I find that music is a big part of my life, and I associate a lot of major life events that I’ve had with certain songs. So I’m going through some of them now, and hope to have a new piece soon.

Stay tuned…