|The final record cover artwork - this image will wrap the gatefold sleeve front and back |
~ please click for a larger view
THE WOMAN OF THE EARTH's back bends under the dark weight of tarmac and concrete, industrial civilisation catches in its global communications net the last wild creatures, and poisoned skies choke the leaves from the last trees withstanding.
A wind blows through those last branches and through the antlers of a fleeing deer, through the hair of the Woman of the Earth, and scatters old memories of things that once lived: twigs and bird bones, seed pods and bees wings, dead leaves and fish skeletons and thistledown.
The Woman of the Earth weeps. Her sorrow for The Dying is heavier than we can know. Into her garment are stitched the ghosts of extinct species.
But from her tears grows music: music to wail and sing out and bow and strum and beat out the thrum of our griefs. And from the music grow green leaves, spiralling their new life from the alchemy of tears.
And so goes the tale of my latest painting. This is to be a record cover, commissioned by the folks at The Dark Mountain Project (whom I have painted for before) - a global network of writers, artists and thinkers who aim to challenge the stories our civilisation tells about itself, and produce honest art and novel thinking for a culture in trouble and a world heading for the buffers.
They are bringing out a compilation record of music born of this thinking, and encasing it in a beautiful limited edition vinyl LP, with a gatefold sleeve adorned with my artwork.
|My initial sketch for the record cover design|
The title From the Mourning of the World was given to me by Marmaduke Dando - the record's curator, and then I was left pretty much to my own devices to respond to the idea in my own way.
You mightn't be surprised that I was inspired by the melancholy in the title and theme. Even my watercolour was weeping.
Slowly the painting evolved. It was large - I painted at record cover actual size.
As the ghosts of lost creatures whispered blue and green through the paint to me, I even started to see spirits in the paint palette, waiting wordlessly for me to tell their tale.
The image grew, in soft watery colours against the inky black of the oppressive city.
Lastly, once all the colour was there, I carved out the edges in pencil, put in the veins of insect wings, and the furrows on the brow, marked out the fingernails and bird bones, the lettering and fiddle strings, antlers and tresses and long falling tears.
And then it was done.
The record will be made once enough funds have been raised. There'll be a limited edition of just 500 of these unique and beautiful vinyl creations, so hurry along here to the fundraising page and pre-order yourself a copy! I'm particularly excited about the tracks from Jon Boden and Chris Wood and Julian Gaskell's Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, but listening to the tempting snippets on this little introductory video promises a veritable feast for wondering ears and uncivilised souls.