Music and Art Monday May 21st, 2018: The Finished Works, New Works, and a Song For Good Measure

I finally finished my trio, here are the results:

I didn’t even notice the fly. Argh…

Hobby Lobby recently opened up in town, so guess who’s playing with oil paints? This guy!

Here is the first little bit of it:

Of course the kids had to paint:

The master at work…
“A Bird That’s Flying”
“A Zebra” or “A My Little Pony”

And just for a little filler here’s a song I wrote a billion years ago, somewhere I have a recording of it, but for now you’ll just have to settle for the lyrics:

Billy Joe 3/25/01

Billy Joe’s life was shattered when she was seven years old,
When her mother came home and she was told,
“Your daddy ain’t comin’ back no more,
Last night they found him drunk dead behind the general store.”

And she grew up thinking he was gone,
She never asked why at the break of dawn,
She’d seen him leave with a lady in red,
The morning before they said he was dead.

She’d seen him drunk many nights before,
But had never seen him leave from their front door,
There’d never been a night she hadn’t “fallen”,
When the man she feared came callin’.

Her mother said, “It’s okay honey”,
Told many stories to make life funny,
But he’d come home late at night,
Loaded up drunk and picking a fight.

She always said that she loved him,
She’d never think to even leave him,
Even after all those black eyes,
All the nights Joe could hear her cries.

But one day he was gone,
Packed up and left at the break of dawn,
Found himself a lady in red,
All mother could say is “He’s dead.”

South Alabama’s a lonely place,
All alone at night with her pale face,
Joe lies in bed every night,
To sleep with all the whispers she couldn’t fight.

Her mother had flung herself off a bridge one day,
The sheriff came all he could say,
“Your mother’s died of a broken heart,
Life moves on and has given you a fresh start.”

Billy Joe’s life was shattered when she was seven years old,
When her mother came home and she was told,
“Your daddy ain’t comin’ back no more,
Last night they found him drunk dead behind the general store.”

If you like any of my paintings or pictures feel free to pop over to my Artpal store here.

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Music and Art Monday, May 7, 2018: A Little Of This, A Little Of That

It was a slow week up here on the hill. Not much to report on the music or art front.

I finished up a trio of paintings that I started back in December. I didn’t spend all that time on them, I just got super distracted. They were inspired by an art challenge. I can’t remember exactly what the theme was but whatever it was inspired me to paint the biggest events in our life.

Edit: I was going to finish these over the weekend but I got sick. So the last one is not finished, I’ll put a finished pic up as soon as I can.

The first is a humorous take on birth. I obviously wasn’t born with a beard, though some may believe I was.

The second is an image of aging. It might be a bit literal.

The last is death. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the least bit creepy to paint myself as a dead guy.

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about how they came out. The technique seems to have evolved a bit during the process and I got more detailed as I went. They are on canvas which is not a normal medium for me. I think I learned some things about canvas which is good.

As for music, I turned a bit of a corner and went from the mellow tunes I discussed last week to some upbeat songs of my youth.

The current selection is Cornershop’s When I Was Born For The Seventh Time. This album originally belonged to my sister, who bought it as a curiosity. She was really only interested in the Punjab version of “Norwegian Wood”. After awhile it ended up in my collection. Of course that was 20 years ago, and now instead of popping in a CD I can stream it on Spotify. Still a good experience.

Also popping up is Sublime’s self-titled album. Also over 20 years old, it never really gets old. I do feel slightly conspicuous blasting it in Alamogordo. I am so white…

On the not so old side of things I have been listening to a playlist of The Raconteurs, The White Stripes, and The Black Keys. You wanna play a fun game? Shuffle that playlist and tell me if you always guess the band correctly.

So that’s been my week. Anyone have any favorites or recommendations for the week?

Music and Art Monday April 30th 2018: Pensive Tunes

Is there anything like music to set a mood? What happens if you’re already in that mood? The wrong music can totally kill it.

These are a few go-to albums for when you are in a pensive mood:

Linda Perry In Flight: my first girlfriend dumped me while this was playing in the background. From the very first chord of “In My Dreams” this album is a drag. But in a good way. You may know Ms. Perry for her Four Non-Blondes hit “What’s Up” or her feud with Pink, I know her mostly for this album. It’s the perfect background for any melodramatic mood. There is no way you can be cheerful whilst listening to “Success“. That bass line always gives me goosebumps.

I also recommend her second album, After Hours, though it’s a bit hard to find.

If you’re in a creative funk, Jon Hopkins’ album Opalescent provides the perfect ambiance. See what I did there? He’s an ambient musician… Well, I thought it was good. I was listening to this album when I decided to take an old job back. It was raining a lot and I was driving around. You would have to be there. It’s always a go-to on nights when I just have to stay up and paint, write, or Photoshop.

That and most of the album sounds an awful lot like the soundtrack to the original Maplestory.

Hopkins’ collaboration with Purity Ring is what piqued my interest in him. But Purity Ring is a great group on its own. another eternity is a tremendous album for when you’re in that mellow but optimistic mood.

Nothing says “mellow” quite like levitation.

Every song is written in such a way that you are almost not sure when one ends and the next begins. Despite the similarities I do have two favorites, “Begin Again” and “Bodyache” stand out to me and are particularly good for a bit of an uplift.

What are some of your favorite songs/albums for mellow moods?

Music and Art Monday April 23rd, 2018: As Promised

Well, as promised, although a week late, I finally sat down and recorded a few videos of my rusty guitar playing.

First up are two of my favorite John Prine songs: “Take the Star Out of The Window” and “Paradise”. You can definitely tell that I am rusty.

And here are two originals from almost 20 years ago. I was not the best lyricist back then, and I probably haven’t played these for 10 years. The first is called “Hold Me To Your Side” and the second is “Blue Bob Blues”. It was not written about my wife, I swear it.

It was fun taking a trip down memory lane, even if it was a bit bumpy.

Music and Art Monday, April 2nd, 2018: Art and Ennui

It has been awhile since I’ve written one of these. But I’m inspired, despite the fact that it is Wednesday night.

I just finished watching a biography of Eva Hesse. I had never heard of her before Netflix decided I needed to download her biography. While the art wasn’t exactly my taste, the life was certainly one of interest.

What is it about the slow, tedious times in life that inspire creativity? Why does it seem like the best artists are the ones who can capture the worst of emotion and pour them out painstakingly into works that last generations?

I will never be well known. Netflix will never tell you to download my biography (man, would that be boring). But I’d like to think that just a bit of me gets captured in these random spurts of activity driven by the slow and mundane hours of life.

Perhaps by the end of this week, before this appears on your screen, I might even pick up a paintbrush again and have more to show than just a series of long-exposure selfies.

Stay tuned, this feeling may not last…

Music and Art Monday, February 12, 2018: Soundtracks

How many times have you heard a song in a show or movie, only to have it get stuck in your head until you watched the show again or at least satisfied your brain with a listen on Spotify? Such is my life lately.

This past week was “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” by Irma Thomas. I got sucked into Black Mirror by Netflix’s great marketing. I swear this song is the only song they got permission for. It shows up in so many episodes you can’t help but wonder what exactly are the writers trying to communicate with this choice? Are we to assume all episodes of the show take place in the same horrific universe? Eek.

Before that it was yet another Netflix show, Stranger Things. The unmistakable sounds of the 80’s make this not just one of the most listenable soundtracks but one of the most memorable as well. It makes for particularly great driving music. And if you are the passenger you can enjoy Spotify’s “Stranger Things Mode”. Oooooo….

Ok, so it’s just a flash light… booo

The last song that gets stuck in my head all the time is the very first song from the movie Youth. Not only do they shove you right into the singers face for the first three minutes of the movie, they play the entire length of “You’ve Got The Love”, thereby placing it squarely in your subconscious, only to come back weeks and months later begging for a re-watch. While listening to this on Spotify I actually discovered the rest of the soundtrack is pretty darn good as well. Even the song sung by cows. If you never watch the movie (which you should) you should at least give the soundtrack a spin. Cows people, cows…

Sir Michael Caine directing cows in song, does it get any better than this?

Music and Art Monday, January 29th, 2018: Just a Few of My Favorites

I had a pretty blah week this past week. And after racking my exhausted brain I couldn’t come up with anything except the idea to share a few of my favorite paintings. Plus all I have talked about lately is music, it’s about time I start looking at art again!

This is Matisse’s “Seated Odalisque With Left Knee Bent”. I’m not completely sure he picked the name, but it is definitely descriptive. He did several “odalisque” paintings, and all of them are quite good, but this is my favorite. An odalisque is a Turkish concubine by the way. They were popular subjects in 19th century Orientalism.

The Bedroom in Arles”, or as van Gogh titled it “The Bedroom” was painted in 1888 to depict his bedroom in Arles, France. I bought a print of this when I went to the van Gogh exhibit in DC in middle school and it hung on my wall all the way through college and beyond. I loved the colors and the simplicity of the objects in the room. He didn’t waste time with all with an over abundance of details.

“Cycles Gladiator” is actually a work of commercial art. It was designed by the printer G. Massias to promote a Parisian bicycle company during the late 19th century’s golden age of cycling. There are apparently only four originals left, but copies are abundant enough that I was able to purchase one in college.

Lucas Cranach the Elder is one of my favorites (and was friends with Luther, so he had to be a cool guy). There are many to choose from but I really love “The Fountain of Youth” because he didn’t shy away from “non-ideal” beauty. Artists, especially in that day, rarely paint “ugly” subjects, preferring instead to depict ideal human figures. I think his depiction of old women is beautiful and respectful.

“The Feast of St. John” by Jules Breton is something I wish I had a print of. What caught my eye about this first was his great execution of fire, the realism almost makes you feel its warmth. I also enjoy the way the women almost float, his capture of their movement is flawless.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. What are some of your favorite paintings?