I've always found the connection between music and the visual arts to be a powerful one, and more often than not, have music playing in as I paint. Pretty much everything finds it's way into the CD player, from classical (baroque mostly) to classic rock, to folk music, to reggae to world music...With the exception of rap and country (sorry, but nails on a chalkboard, hehe) my musical tastes are pretty diverse.
All this said, I do play favorites, and Celtic music tops the list. Steeped in history, rich, evocative, and filled with vivid imagery, it often makes it's way into the work. In fact, the current work in progress draws both inspiration and title from this traditional Irish folk song, performed here by the very talented Susan McKeown (and if you love Celtic music, her "Bushes and Briars" CD is a serious must-have)...
Here are the lyrics, written from the perspective of the hare:
On the first of November on a bright autumn's day
To the hills of Dromela I chanced for to stray
I was feeding on green grass that grows on yon ground
When my heart was set a beating by the cry of the hounds
Musha right tallyho, hark ye over high ho
Hark ye over cries the huntsman hark ye over high ho.
They hunted me up and they hunted me down
The bold huntsmen of Stratham on my trail sent the hounds.
Over highlands and lowlands moorlands also
Over hedges and ditches like the wind I did go.
There was Ringwood and Rouser they gave me a close brush
But they soon found me hiding twas in the rush bush
For better or worse I know I must die
But I'll do my endeavor these hounds to defy.
And now I must die and I know not the crime
To the value of sixpence I ne'er harmed mankind.
I ne'er was brought up for to rob or to steal
Unless for the croppings some tops of green kale
Then up steps the huntsman to end all my strife
Saying let the hare go giver her play for her life.
Wouldn't it be far better you killed Raymond the fox
Who killed all your chickens, fine hen and game cock?
The first time I heard the song I found it distressing (NOT a fan of hunting in any form), but the more I listened, the more I loved the hare's spirit, and of course, there's the somewhat ambiguous ending in this version, where the huntsman lets her go (other versions switch the two last verses). At any rate, the imagery of the hare running over hedges and ditches and moorlands, on a bright autumn day is just crying to be painted. ;)
For those of you on facebook, I'll be posting in-progress photos on my King of Mice Studios page every few hours, and offering the finished piece for direct sale here on the blog before listing on eBay.
(VERY excited about this one!)
UPDATE - Here's a photo of the work in progress - a few clouds, and the hills blocked in...
PS - If you scroll down on the right, you'll find a new playlist full of Celtic tunes. :)