Music and Art Monday, July 23rd 2018: Angel of Needs

Here’s an ancient song of mine for you this week. Unfortunately, I have to external link to the video. (https://steemit.com/music/@driptorchpress/6865nqgg)

Go easy on me, it’s been easily 10 years since I played it last.

At least I can post the chords and lyrics here. The title and chorus come from a painting “Angel Of Needs” by Giles LeBlanc, seen above. I saw it in Nova Scotia when I was 12 and fell in love with it.

Angel of Needs
12/4/00-12/9/00

Intro and bridge: G Em C D7

(Chorus)
(C)You’re just an angel (F) of needs,
(D)An angel sent (G) to me,
(Em)Maybe someday (Am) you’ll be, (Em)What you seem (Am) to be.
(Bridge)

(C)You find it hard (D) to see,
(G) What I’ve (Em) realized,
(C)When I look (D) into your eyes,
(G)And I can see for (Am) miles and miles,
(G)And I can see (Em) your smile,
(C)You’re such (F) an angel (D) to me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)Beautiful when I (D) look at you,
(G)How I see (Em) the skies,
(C)When I look (D) upon your face,
(G)I can’t see (Am) another, no others,
(G)But I can see in (Em) this place,
(C)Nothing but (F) the angel (D) for me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)I know now how (D) to be alive,
(G)How to share (Em) your time,
(C)When I hold your (D) hand in mine,
(G)And I can feel your (Am) smiling heart,
(G)I can tell no (Em) other touch,
(C)That it compares (F) with the angel (D) for me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)You make me (D) so at peace,
(G)How I love (Em) your warmth,
(C)When I hold you (D) close to me,
(G)And I can feel your (Am) laughing hands,
(G)I can feel no (Em) other hearts,
(C)As beautiful as (F) the angel’s (D) for me.

Chorus:
(C)You’re just an angel (F) of dreams,
(D)An angel meant (G) for me,
(Em)Maybe someday (Am) you’ll be,
(Em)The angel you want (Am) to be.

MAM, July 9th,2018: Artpal

Due to some technical difficulties (WordPress claims I have too much media uploaded), today’s post is simply a link to my Artpal page.

On that page you will find prints (framed and unframed) and mugs with my photos and paintings on them.

The prices vary depending on the size of the print and the item type. If you buy something, I make a decent profit and you get something fun to hang on your wall. Or drink out of. Whatever suits your tastes.

Thanks!

MAM: July 2, 2018: A Waterfall is Within

I don’t know exactly when I wrote this or the circumstances, but it seems pretty descriptive of so many points in my life. Enjoy!

A waterfall is within,
But drying up before my eyes, I weep dry tears, I fear I am falling out of faith, I fear I am falling out of grace, I fear grace was never here.

Beating my head against a brick wall of my own sin, breaking through every barrier I have put in my way, endlessly tripping down the same path, when will it end?

I fear I may never be able to win this war, I lose battle after battle, I fight with no ally, I fight alone, I fight within, I fight myself to sleep and grieve with every broken promise made to myself and the ones I love.

Is there an end, a way to win, is there a battle I may be victorious in? Never alone will I win, never alone can I conquer myself, I am too frail, too deep in my own flood of desires and passions. I am consumed.

I am faltered, I am weak, I am weary, I have fallen. I can’t get up from this pit, I am endlessly lost in this grave, underground but still walking, dead but still breathing, I need help, I need life.

I need forgiveness, I need strength, I need a Hand to lift me up, I need to turn around, to make my way back to joy. I cannot win my battles alone, I cannot fight my struggles inside, I must bring the war into the open.

Lead me on, Spirit. Be my shield and my sword, be my horse that carries me through the sea of deadly temptations, wielding their bloody axes, hacking into those without You, killing those who mock You, not knowing of Your might.

Lift me up, turn me away, send me running far out into the open, far away from the death that is within me.

Forgive me, cleanse me, heal me, cause my heart to be apologetic, cause my life to reflect You, cause my mind to dwell on You, cause my body to desire You.

I have thirsted, I have drowned, I have hungered and been gluttonous with that which is deadly, I have been arrogant and I have been smashed to bits.

But my life is faith, my walk is delicate, my desires are few, for I am fulfilled by my salvation, I am lifted up and guided through hard times by the Spirit who is greater than I.

I am nothing. God is Everything.

Music and Art Monday, June 11th 2018: Evolution

Sometimes I am a bit hard on myself. OK, much of the time I am a bit hard on myself. This goes for all things performance related. Life is performance based. We all strive to perform the best we can, at whatever we do, and sometimes we tend to beat ourselves up if our performance does not match our expectations.

Some things are easier to compare than others. If we are lifting weights we can see progress from lighter weight to heavier weight. If we are running we can watch our mile times shrink. Other things aren’t so tangible. Some things are so gradual that we hardly notice the change at all.

Painting is one such thing. Skill growth is so gradual that you won’t see changes over a short span of time. But if you look back you will see drastic differences.

Nicole, Acrylic on Paper, 2016
Nicole, Oil on Canvas, 2018

Or you may see no difference at all..

After the Bath, Acrylic on Paper, 2014. My first painting.
The Room, Acrylic on Paper, 2017

Sometimes you just have a change of perspective.

Fine Cigars, Acrylic on Paper, 2016
Fine Cigars Revisit, Acrylic on Paper, 2017

Sometimes your details get sharper.

Selfie, Acrylic on Paper, January 2014
Selfie, Acrylic on Paper, June 2014

Frequently you change the way you see yourself.

Self Portrait, Acrylic on Paper, 2014
Self Imposed, Acrylic on Paper, 2016

The evolution of our abilities isn’t always linear or perfect. We ebb and flow in our talents. Sometimes we meet our own expectations, sometimes we fall short. But we should always keep going…

Stop Fearing Your Own Voice

Kids aren’t afraid of their own voice.

I got an email the other day about writing in your own voice. We grow up being told in school how to write, and writing in your own voice is a big no no. You must write through a filter, just like good speakers talk through a filter. I can’t tell you how many “great” speakers truly grate on me with their speech patterns (Hillary Clinton and Obama both have a cadence that runs me up a wall).

It’s much the same with writers, there are some bloggers who I read once and think “never again.” Sometimes it is because they are too long winded. Sometimes it is because they are too stiff and formal, sometimes they are just trying to sound too fluffy for my tastes.

That article really got me thinking though. I filter a lot. (My 12th grade English teacher would kill me for using “a lot.”) I hold back so much out of fear. Mostly fear of the audience and what they might think, but also just fear of really being myself. (And “really”… she really hated that one.)

Whether it is writing or painting or picking a picture to post (don’t get me started on my guitar playing) I hold back. I don’t put my all into anything, I am afraid of it. I am afraid you will see me for what I am. You will see my flaws, my lack of talent, my lack of ability, or my ignorance. I fear that you will chuckle at me or walk away confused by me. I fear you will think I am a fool or a dork or any number of other pejoratives.

Perhaps I am all too aware of my flaws. Knowing them makes it all the more difficult to show my best. I am not the aloof kindergartner who actually believes his recorder playing sounds good (it never sounds good), I am a grown man who knows what he is trying for and exactly how far off the mark he is.

But just because I am not quite on the mark does not mean that I can’t show off my progress. I am getting ever closer to the mark, when I put in the effort. Whether it be in painting, in writing, in taking pictures, in playing music (that one’s in a holding pattern) or any of the dozen or so things I attempt to do in life, I am progressing.

Not sure if better…
Or just a change in style.

I need not fear my own voice or my own hand, for both are bound to improve with exercise.

And neither should you.

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.

Quantity and Quality

Have you ever met one of those people who just seem to always churn out perfection? There are people out there who produce not just a quantity of good, but a quality good, every. single. time…

I’m not going to come on here and say that I despise those people. I honestly don’t. Different people are gifted in different ways and it does no good to begrudge them.

If I had to describe my productivity model it would probably be best described as a crap shoot. Sometimes there is quantity. Sometimes there is quality. Occasionally there are both.

When life is slow I might shoot off a few random thought posts about nothing in particular. When life is busy I might post nothing at all. Quantity lacks when there is no time to devote to quality.

I participate in a daily photo contest on my Steemit blog. Each day I have to post from two categories of subject. This is one way to keep yourself on your toes. I have to constantly search my archives for not just quantity (two a day is a lot) but quality as well.

I know people who do writing contests which are similar. I doubt that I could ever keep up! People who can are a truly special lot. More power to them.

As for me, I will just keep playing my craps. Maybe I will post a bunch. Maybe I won’t. Maybe it will be hard hitting and high quality. Maybe it won’t. You’ll just have to keep tuned in to find out.

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 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…