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


Apr 27 2011

Please Mr. Gravedigger – ’11 -#14

There’s a little churchyard just along the way
Used to be Lambeth’s finest array
Of tombstones, epitaphs, wreaths, flowers all that jazz
‘Til the war come along and someone dropped a bomb on the lot

And in this little yard, there’s a little old man
With a little shovel in his little bitty hand
He seems to spend all his days puffing fags and digging graves
He hates the reverend vicar and he lives all alone in his home

“Ah-choo, excuse me”

Please Mr. Gravedigger, don’t feel ashamed
As you dig little holes for the dead and the maimed
Please Mr. Gravedigger, I couldn’t care
If you found a golden locket full of some girl’s hair
And you put it in your pocket

“God, it’s pouring down”

Her mother doesn’t know about your sentimental joy
She thinks it’s down below with the rest of her toys
Her Ma wouldn’t understand, so I won’t tell
So keep your golden locket all safely hid away in your pocket

Yes, Mr. GD, you see me every day
Standing “Ah-choo!” standing in the same spot by a certain grave
Mary-Ann was only 10 and full of life and oh so gay
And I was the wicked man who took her life away

“Very selfish, oh God”

No, Mr. GD, you won’t tell
And just to make sure that you keep it to yourself
I’ve started digging holes my friend
And this one here’s for you

“Lifted our girl, she apparently doesn’t know of it
Hello misses, thought she’d be a little girl
Bloody obscene, catch pneumonia or something in this rain”

This piece is based on the song (poem really) by David Bowie called Please Mr. Gravedigger. I remember first hearing this song on Dr. Demento when I was a kid. It’s such a great song because it’s, well….creepy.

I’ve been a slacker lately, and now I am behind in my self-imposed timeline. I’ve had kind of an artists block. I couldn’t think of a good song to do. Hopefully this will kick it into gear!

Photo credits:
Graveyardslallison
ManSteve Gertz
ShovelDave Dyet
Textures – CG Textures


Apr 4 2011

Two Silver Trees – ’11 -#13

There are code breakers with lines well tapped
Traces sweeping out across the static night
You are drapped in white like the blossoms of the tree
Looking down a glass elevator
At your father signing the papers for
Two silver trees, two silver trees
Two worlds in need, two silver trees

Branches falling down
From sources underground
False identities
Stranded in each single seed

False sense of warning no poisoned cup
Just deception crawling up like a snake
Decay of the blossoms and roots well hacked
Spoil the hidden waters dying at the base of
Two silver trees, two silver trees
Two worlds in need, two silver trees

Branches falling down
From sources underground
False identities
Stranded in each single seed

I’ve been on a little hiatus the past few weeks. We were on vacation in Arizona near Tucson. Calexico was playing a festival while we were there, but I didn’t make it to the show. I’ve seen them before in Chicago, and they are fantastic. This piece is based on their song Two Silver Trees. Calexico is from Tucson, and I saw a lot of the places that are in this video on the trip and past trips there. Very cool band – a lot of their songs sound like they are straight out of a 60s Spaghetti Western, with a Ennio Morricone sound…like this one that I love. Or this one….awesome band!

I got a lot of good reference photos in Arizona, so some of them may be finding their way into some future works.

Photo credits:
ForestKarol Wiszniewski
Silver treesKriss Szkurlatowski
GirlMar Boy-Schmidt


Mar 4 2011

Midnight Rider – ’11-#12

Well, I’ve got to run to keep from hiding,
And I’m bound to keep on riding.
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let them catch me, no,
Not gonna let ‘em catch the Midnight Rider.

And I don’t own the clothes I’m wearing,
And the road goes on forever,
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let them catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the Midnight Rider.

And I’ve gone by the point of caring,
Some old bed I’ll soon be sharing,
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,

(Repeat three times and Fade)
But I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let them catch the Midnight Rider.

Well, since I’ve been listening to this song quite a bit the last few days, I decided I might as well make a piece on it. The piece is based on the lyrics to the song Midnight Rider, by Gregg Allman. This song was originally done by the Allman Brothers, and then Gregg Allman redid it a few years later. I like his version better – it’s slightly slower than the original and has an added horn section. Willie Nelson does a pretty awesome version too.

The background of this piece is a photo I took in Rocky Mountain National Park here in Colorado. It’s a picture of Longs Peak, in case you were wondering. :)

Photo credits:
Background – Me
Midnight RiderSelma Dredge
MoonAnn- Kathrin Rehse
Other textures – CG Textures


Mar 1 2011

Jar Of Hearts – ’11-#11

I know I can’t take one more step towards you
‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret
Don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live, half alive
And now you want me one more time

[Chorus:]
Who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

I’ve learned to live, half alive
And now you want me one more time

[Chorus]

It took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
‘Cause you broke all your promises
And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back

[Chorus x2]

Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?

This piece is based on the lyrics to Jar Of Hearts, by Christina Perri. I love her music – she’s got a lot of depth and life experience for being as young as she is. Her whole EP is great…check it out!

Photo credits:
JarChristine Weddle
HeartBilly Alexander
Lightsp4d
Other textures – CG Textures


Feb 22 2011

Sugar Magnolia – ’11-#10

Sugar Magnolia blossom’s blooming
Head’s all empty and I don’t care
Saw my baby down by the river
Knew she’d have to come up soon for air

Sweet blossom come on under the willow
We can have high times if you’ll abide
We can discover the wonders of nature
Rolling in the rushes down by the riverside

She’s got everything delightful
She’s got everything I need
Takes the wheel when I’m seeing double
Pays my ticket when I speed

She come skimming through rays of violet
She can wade in a drop of dew
She don’t come and I don’t follow
Waits backstage while I sing to you

She can dance a Cajun rhythm
Jump like a Willys in four wheel drive
She’s a summer love in the spring, fall and winter
She can make happy any man alive

Sugar magnolia
Ringin’ that blue bell
Caught up in sunlight
Come on out singing
I’ll walk you in the sunshine
Come on honey, come along with me

She’s got everything delightful
She’s got everything I need
A breeze in the pines in the summer night moonlight
Crazy in the sunlight yes indeed

Sometimes when the cuckoo’s crying
When the moon is halfway down
Sometimes when the night is dying
I take me out and I wander round
I wander round

Sunshine daydream
Walk you the tall trees
Going where the wind goes
Blooming like a red rose
Breathing more freely
Light out singing
I’ll walk you in the morning sunshine
Sunshine daydream
Walk you in the sunshine

Ok, so there’s a bit of a back story on this one. My mom has been begging me to do a painting of a magnolia for her for years. It started when I lived in North Carolina, where we had magnolia trees everywhere. I think there are different kinds of magnolia trees, but the kind we had in North Carolina were evergreens, and the waxy dark green leaves stayed that way all through the winter. The big white blossoms came out in late May early June I think.

So this is my take on Sugar Magnolia, a song by the Grateful Dead. It’s such a happy little song. Hope you like it Mom! (if not I guess I’ll have to paint you one with real paints and stuff. :P )

Photo credits:
MagnoliaDiane Robertson
Background & TextureManu Mohan
TextureHilde Vanstraelen
Other textures – CG Textures


Feb 18 2011

Thistle And Weeds – ’11-#9

Spare me your judgements and spare me your dreams
Cause recently mine have been tearing my seams
I sit alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind
Alone in the wind and the rain you left me
It’s getting dark darling, too dark to see
And I’m on my knees, and your faith in shreds, it seems

Corrupted by the simple sniff of riches blown
I know you have felt much more love than you’ve shown
And I’m on my knees and the water creeps to my chest

But plant your hope with good seeds
Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds
Rain down, rain down on me
Look over your hills and be still
The sky above us shoots to kill
Rain down, rain down on me

But I will hold on
I will hold on hope

I begged you to hear me, there’s more than flesh and bones
Let the dead bury the dead, they will come out in droves
But take the spade from my hands and fill in the holes you’ve made

But plant your hope with good seeds
Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds
Rain down, rain down on me

This is my second Mumford & Sons piece – this one is based off of the lyrics to the song “Thistles And Weeds.” It’s the first Mumford & Sons song I heard, and I love it. It’s got a chord progression in it that is very similar (if not the same) to The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon (listen and see – it’s almost exactly the same!)

Fun fact: this descending bass line featured in the song, or variants of it, has been used in a lot of popular songs over the years. Here are just a few (listen to them and see if you agree):
“Summer In The City” (Lovin’ Spoonful)
“Tales Of Brave Ulysses” (Cream)
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (Led Zeppelin)
“Temptation Eyes” (The Grass Roots)
“25 or 6 to 4″ (Chicago)
“Bert’s Blues” (Donovan)
“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” (Beatles)
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (Beatles)
“Dear Prudence” (Beatles)
“Brain Stew” (Green Day)

I knew when I found this photo, I had to somehow incorporate it into a piece. I was originally going to use it in “Little Lion Man” (another Mumford & Sons song). It ended up working best with Thistles And Weeds. The photo is of a Bulgarian Kuker, which is part of an ancient Bulgarian ritual (Kukeri Festival) to scare away evil spirits. A good explanation is here.

Interestingly enough (which I had no idea when creating the piece – I found it when researching what a kuker was afterwards), part of the Kukeri festival involves seeds (which is in the lyrics…But plant your hope with good seeds…Don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds):

Once the people are assembled in the center of the village, a replay of the death and rebirth of the Kuker is performed. After the Kuker takes three bites from the bread and three sips from the wine, he is tied onto a plow. The villagers pull the plow and Kuker falls down, as if dead. The women of the village cover him with seeds, and immediately he jumps on his feet and starts to ring his bells, as in the beginning of the Kuker’s day, symbolizing his re-birth. At the end of the day, the seven animal skins of the Kuker’s leader are buried in seven different wheat fields outside the village, to insure fertile soil and a great harvest.

This piece took a lot of twists and turns along the way – enough so that there may end up being at least two other pieces that came out of the work I did on this one.

Photo credits:
Man (Kuker)Kronin30
LakeBrian Lary
TextureDavid Ritter
Other Texture – CG Textures


Feb 15 2011

I Gave You All – ’11-#8

Rip the earth in two with your mind
Seal the urge which ensues with brass wires
I never meant you any harm
But your tears feel warm as they fall on my forearm

But close my eyes for a while
Force from the world a patient smile

How can you say that your truth is better than ours?
Shoulder to shoulder, now brother, we carry no arms
The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home
If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won

But I gave you all

Close my eyes for a while
Force from the world a patient smile

But I gave you all

But you rip it from my hands
And you swear it’s all gone
And you rip out all I have
Just to say that you’ve won

Well now you’ve won

Lately I’ve been loving Mumford & Sons. This is a take based on the lyrics to one of their songs – I Gave You All. I’m going to make a prediction here – I think these guys are going to be huge. I hope it doesn’t ruin their sound, because their music is incredible.

Photo credits:
BackgroundNicole N
Other textures – CG Textures


Feb 3 2011

Blind – ’11-#7

I see reflections in the water
Autumn colours, summer’s daughter
And as as the year is growing older
I see winter on my shoulder
I stand in the haze
Watching stormy ripples grow on my own
Never knew you were needed
Till I found myself standing here alone

And in the water, such a sad face
Slowly drowning, such a sad face
If only I could change the seasons
Like a poet, I’ve my reasons
It started to snow in the middle of July
Wonder why
Never did understand you
My sorrow is hanging in the grey sky

In the summer days we flew to the sun
On melting wings
But the seasons changed so fast
Leave us all behind
Blind

But then the stone fell on the water
Putting end to summer’s daughter
And me, I turn away remembering
All the seasons, such a sad thing
It started to rain in the middle of the sun
Winter’s begun

Never did understand you
My sorrow is hanging in the grey sky

In the summer days we flew to the sun
On melting wings
But the seasons changed so fast
Leave us all behind
Blind

This piece is based off of the lyrics to Blind, by Deep Purple. This one came about in a strange way. I was looking through my archived pieces, and have several that I started and never finished. One of them is April, by Deep Purple. I started thinking about the album that April is on – “Deep Purple” (released in June 1969, a month before I was born…probably my favorite Deep Purple album), and wondered why I hadn’t done a piece on the song Blind, which is on that album. So here we are. Plus looking outside today reminds me of this piece – it’s snowing like crazy.

I love the harpischord in this song. This whole album has a lot of orchestra on it, (especially the song April) which is pretty cool for a rock band.

Photo credits:
Waterconstantin jurcut
WomanAndrew Beierle
ChildJose Bernalte
SnowJason Lemay
Texture
Cernasite
Other texture – CG Textures