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…


Dec 6 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever – ’11 -#23

Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right, that is I think it’s not too bad.
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.

Always, no sometimes, think it’s me, but you know I know when it’s a dream.
I think I know I mean a ‘Yes’ but it’s all wrong, that is I think I disagree.
Let me take you down, ‘cos I’m going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real and nothing to get hungabout.
Strawberry Fields forever.
Strawberry Fields forever.

This piece is based on Strawberry Fields Forever, by The Beatles. Classic song. I think I could do a piece on every Beatles song. Well, I’ve done quite a few so far!

All photos were taken by me this past summer – the building is from Dublin, Ireland – the background mountains are the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, and the sunset and ship are from South Haven, Michigan. In case you were wondering. :)


Dec 1 2011

Kashmir – ’11 – #22

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed

Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear
But not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear
Oh, oh.

Oh, I been flying… mama, there aint no denyin
Ive been flying, aint no denyin, no denyin

All I see turns to brown, as the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand, as I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find where Ive been.

Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My shangri-la beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high and true, when movin through kashmir.

Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails, across the sea of years
With no provision but an open face, along the straits of fear
Ohh.

When Im on, when Im on my way, yeah
When I see, when I see the way, you stay-yeah

Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when Im down…
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well Im down, so down
Ooh, my baby, ooooh, my baby, let me take you there

Let me take you there. let me take you there

This piece is based on the lyrics to the Led Zeppelin song Kashmir. If you’ve never heard it, well…it’s probably one of the best songs ever.  Sure it’s eight minutes and 32 seconds long, but as far as I’m concerned it could keep going well past that mark.

Photo credits:

Background - enrico nunziati

JunkAlexander Warnolf

TextureBilly Alexander

TextureRobert Linder


Oct 31 2011

Eight Miles High – ’11 – #21

Eight miles high, and when you touch down
You'll find that it's stranger than known
Signs in the street that say where you're going
Are somewhere, just being their own
Nowhere is there warmth to be found
Among those afraid of losing their ground
Rain gray town, known for its sound
In places, small faces unbound
Round the squares, huddled in storms
Some laughing, some just shapeless forms
Sidewalk scenes and black limousines
Some living, some standing alone

This piece is based on the lyrics to the song Eight Miles High by The Byrds.  This song is kind of the quintessential Sixties sound for me. Kind of sinister, kind of trippy, kind of happy.

I probably should have done a piece with the lyrics “Hello it’s been awhile…” :) I’ve been pretty busy lately, and have been working on this one for awhile. I decided I’d better post it, since it’s been two months since my last one! I’ve started and stopped a couple of pieces since then – maybe I’ll finish them.

All photos are from ones I’ve taken.


Aug 31 2011

Fireflies – ’11-#20

You would not believe your eyes
If 10 million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
Cause they fill the open air,
And leave teardrops everywhere,you’d think me rude but I would just stand, and stare

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
Cause everything is never as it seems

Cause I get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they try to teach me how to dance
A foxtrot above my head,
A sock hop beneath my bed,
A disco ball is just hanging by a thread

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
Cause everything is never as it seems

Leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
Cause I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep?
(Please take me away from here)
When I’m far too tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ’cause I hate good-byes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell
(said farewell)
But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
Cause everything is never as it seems
(when I fall asleep)

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake (when I’m asleep)
because my dreams are bursting at the seams.

This piece is based on the song Fireflies, by Owl City. (it’s a pretty cool video too – very retro) I thought it was only fitting that I include my kids in the piece, as this song kind of has a child-like feel. Plus my three year old son always sings along to it in the car…if he happens to hear it, he says, “Can you turn this up?” Funny.

All photos in the piece I took – the fireflies are fireworks on the beach in South Haven, Michigan. The kids were looking out at a waterfall in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This piece has been in the works for awhile…finally got around to finishing it.


Aug 5 2011

Somewhere Only We Know – ’11-#19

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?

Oh simple thing where have you gone
I’m getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you’re gonna let me in
I’m getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

So if you have a minute why don’t we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
So why don’t we go

This could be the end of everything
So why don’t we go
Somewhere only we know?

Wow, I’ve been away for awhile. You look up, and the summer’s almost gone. (there’s a Doors song in there somewhere…might have to do a piece on that!) So since we last visited I’ve been on an incredible trip to Ireland with my family to retrace our roots. We had an awesome time, and I took over 1200 photos! One of them is the basis for this piece, which is loosely based on the lyrics to Somewhere Only We Know, by Keane. I actually had almost completed this piece, and wasn’t using any song lyrics as inspiration. But then I heard this song on a commercial for the new Winnie The Pooh movie, and thought it fit perfectly.

When I saw this hill and trees (which was on a pathway up to Dundrum Castle…if you open this link there’s a panoramic view…the trees I used are between the Mourne Mountains in the background and the round castle turret) it immediately looked like a place where fairies might live. I took quite a few pictures of this area, and knew one would end up as a piece.

So, I’m way behind if you do a count for the year of pieces – this is number 19. I’ve got some catching up to do! I needed a little time off to recharge the batteries.


Jun 24 2011

Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall – ’11-#18

Through the corridors of sleep
Past the shadows dark and deep
My mind dances and leaps in confusion.
I don’t know what is real,
I can’t touch what I feel
And I hide behind the shield of my illusion.

So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I’m not sure at all it’s my reflection.
I am blinded by the light
Of God and truth and right
And I wander in the night without direction.

So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

It’s no matter if you’re born
To play the King or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn ‘tween joy and sorrow,
So my fantasy
Becomes reality,
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.

So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

This piece is based on Simon & Garfunkel’s Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall. I was listening to this album (yes album – the actual record on a record player!) the other day, and really liked this one. It sounds happy and upbeat, but the actual lyrics are kind of depressing. This piece went through many iterations before it ended the way it looks now.

The main photos that it is based on are from pictures I took at a butterfly house at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. I really like how this piece came out, especially since I was this close to scrapping the whole thing.


Jun 2 2011

Then Came The Last Days Of May – ’11-#17

Parched land, no desert sand
The sun is just a little dot
And a little bit of water goes a long way
’cause it’s hot (it’s hot)
Three good buddies of mine were laughin’ and smokin’
In the back of a rented Ford
They couldn’t know they weren’t goin’ far

Each one with the money in his pocket
To go out and buy himself a brand new car
But they all held the money they had
Money they hoped would take them very far

Sky’s bright, the traffic light
Now and then a truck
And they hadn’t seen a cop around all day (what luck)
They brought everything they needed
Bags and scales to weigh the stuff
The driver said, “The border’s just over the bluff”

Wasn’t until the car suddenly stopped
In the middle of a cold and barren plain
And the other guy turned and spilled
Three boys blood did they know a trap had been laid?

They’re ok the last days of May
But I’ll be breathin’ dry air
I’m leaving soon
The others are already there (all there)
Wouldn’t be interested in coming along
Instead of staying here?
It’s said the West is nice this time of year (that’s what they say)

This piece is based on the Blue Oyster Cult song “Then Came The Last Days Of May,” which is on their first album from 1972. This is such a great song, and the whole album is solid. The song is about… “According to Buck Dharma, “(Then Came The) Last Days Of May” is the true story of three collegiate drug dealers who went to Tucson to score for the fall semester. They were ripped off and shot. While two of the guys died, the other survived to testify against the perpetrators, who were two young men from a notorious wealthy local family. They apparently served about ten years in prison before being released.”

I think the best part of this song is how you can interpret the last lines

“They’re ok the last days of May
But I’ll be breathin’ dry air
I’m leaving soon
The others are already there (all there)
Wouldn’t be interested in coming along
Instead of staying here?
It’s said the West is nice this time of year (that’s what they say)”


You can interpret them as if the storyteller is the one who set the trap, and is trying to lure you, the listener, into another trap…“Wouldn’t be interested in coming along…Instead of staying here? They say the West is nice this time of year.” Spooky!

I saw Blue Oyster Cult play this live in concert on May 31st several years ago. One of my favorites by them.

All photos in this piece were taken by me, which is a first I think. Also, ironically, many are from the Tucson area, which is where the real life subjects of the song were killed. But the truck was taken in Sedalia, Colorado.


May 20 2011

Build God, Then We’ll Talk – ’11-#16

It’s these substandard motels on the (lalalalala) corner of 4th and Fremont Street
Appealing only because they are just that un-appealing
Any practiced catholic would cross themselves upon entering
The rooms have a hint of asbestos and maybe just a dash of formaldehyde
And the habit of decomposing right before your very (lalalala) eyes

Along with the people inside
What a wonderful caricature of intimacy
Inside, what a wonderful caricature of intimacy

Tonight tenants range from: a lawyer and a virgin
Accessorizing with a rosary tucked inside her lingerie
She’s getting a job at the firm come Monday
The Mrs. will stay with the cheating attorney
moonlighting aside, she really needs his money
Oh, wonderful caricature of intimacy

Yeah (yeah)

And not to mention, the constable, and his proposition, for that “virgin”
Yes, the one the lawyer met with on “strictly business”
As he said to the Mrs. Well, only hours before
After he had left, she was fixing her face in a compact
There was a terrible crash (there was a terrible crash)
Between her and the badge
She spilled her purse and her bag, and held a “purse” of a different kind

Along with the people inside
What a wonderful caricature of intimacy
Inside, what a wonderful caricature of intimacy

There are no raindrops on roses and girls in white dresses.
It’s sleeping with roaches and taking best guesses
At the shade of the sheets and before all the stains
And a few more of your least favorite things

Raindrops on roses and girls in white dresses
It’s sleeping with roaches and taking best guesses
At the shade of the sheets and before all the stains
And a few more of your least favorite things

Inside, what a wonderful caricature of intimacy
Inside, what a wonderful caricature of intimacy

Raindrops on roses and girls in white dresses
It’s sleeping with roaches and taking best guesses
At the shade of the sheets and before all the stains
And a few more of your least favorite things

Raindrops on roses and the girls in white dresses
And the sleeping with the roaches and the taking best guesses
At the shade of the sheets and before all the stains
And a few more of your least favorite things

This piece is based off of the song Build God, Then We’ll Talk by Panic! At The Disco. I love this song, as it has a great play on “My Favorite Things” from The Sound Of Music. If you haven’t heard this group, they’re excellent. They combine theatrics with great melodies. A lot of their music sounds like something Danny Elfman would do, and the band has named him as an inspiration. (they did a cover of his “This Is Halloween” from “A Nightmare Before Christmas”)

The Hotel St. Cloud photo is one I took, actually less than a week ago, in Cañon City, Colorado (about 85 miles from where I live).
We were visiting the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is pretty scary. At least it was for me, as I hate heights. Plus walking across a swaying bridge that’s 1000 feet above a canyon is a tad bit frightening.

Photo credits:
Hotel – me
RoseVastag Tamás
TexturesRachael Towne
TextureRachael Towne


May 10 2011

Terrapin Station – ’11-#15

“Terrapin Station”
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia

LADY WITH A FAN

Let my inspiration flow
in token lines suggesting rhythm
that will not forsake me
till my tale is told and done
While the firelight’s aglow
strange shadows in the flames will grow
till things we’ve never seen
will seem familiar
Shadows of a sailor forming
winds both foul and fair all swarm
down in Carlisle he loved a lady
many years ago
Here beside him stands a man
a soldier by the looks of him
who came through many fights
but lost at love

While the storyteller speaks
a door within the fire creaks
suddenly flies open
and a girl is standing there
Eyes alight with glowing hair
all that fancy paints as fair
she takes her fan and throws it
in the lion’s den
“Which of you to gain me, tell
will risk uncertain pains of Hell?
I will not forgive you
if you will not take the chance”
The sailor gave at least a try
the soldier being much too wise
strategy was his strength
and not disaster
The sailor coming out again
the lady fairly lept at him
that’s how it stands today
you decide if he was wise
The storyteller makes no choice
soon you will not hear his voice
his job is to shed light
and not to master
Since the end is never told
we pay the teller off in gold
in hopes he will come back
but he cannot be bought or sold

TERRAPIN STATION

Inspiration, move me brightly
light the song with sense and color,
hold away despair
More than this I will not ask
faced with mysteries dark and vast
statements just seem vain at last
some rise, some fall, some climb
to get to Terrapin
Counting stars by candlelight
all are dim but one is bright:
the spiral light of Venus
rising first and shining best,
From the northwest corner
of a brand-new crescent moon
crickets and cicadas sing
a rare and different tune
Terrapin Station
in the shadow of the moon
Terrapin Station
and I know we’ll be there soon
Terrapin – I can’t figure out
Terrapin – if it’s an end or the beginning
Terrapin – but the train’s got its brakes on
and the whistle is screaming: TERRAPIN

AT A SIDING

While you were gone
these spaces filled with darkness
The obvious was hidden
With nothing to believe in
the compass always points to Terrapin
The sullen wings of fortune beat like rain
You’re back in Terrapin for good or ill again
For good or ill again

This is probably my favorite Grateful Dead song – Terrapin Station, from the 1977 album of the same name. It’s technically three songs in one, and is 15 minutes long. This piece is made up mostly of pictures I took at Old Tucson Studios, or in and around Tucson, Arizona.

This actual piece, if it were printed, is huge. I think it’s 33 inches long by 14 inches wide. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I was going for a Stanley Mouse / Alton Kelley feel.

Photo credits:
Train, station, turtle, skulls, skeleton, moon – Me
WaterMartyn E. Jones
BackgroundCarmen Cordelia