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

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

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
Other texture – CG Textures

Feb 1 2011

Surrender – ’11-#6

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is Surrender. I thought of a few songs that I could do, like Surrender by Cheap Trick, or I Surrender by Rainbow…but none of them really spoke to what I wanted to do. So I went straight up old school sci-fi/fantasy with this one. I used to be really into this genre when I was younger – D&D, Lord Of The Rings, etc. Kind of fun to do a piece like this.

Photo credits:
Horse/Riderkorosy istvan
Dark FigureMaria Li
Castlesusanne wunderlich
SkyJulia Starr
SkyDimitri Castrique
All other effects – CG Textures