Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bridges & Balloons

This piece is inspired by the song "Bridges and Balloons," written by Joanna Newsom. I love the Decemberists version also. Here are the relevant verses: 
We sailed away on a winter's day
With fate as malleable as clay
But ships are fallible, I say
And the nautical, like all things, fades and I
Can recall our caravel:
A little wicker beetle shell
With four fine maste and lateen sails
Its bearings on Cair Paravel 
The sight of bridges and balloons
Makes calm canaries irritable
They caw and claw all afternoon "Catenaries and dirigibles
Brace and buoy the living-room
A loom of metal, warp woof wimble"
And a thimblesworth of milky moon
Can touch hearts larger than a thimble
I've had the idea of illustrating this song with a cityscape like this for some time, but was struggling to find a composition I was happy with. It was also a challenge to keep the space looking inhabited without going crazy with the details. I finally landed on focusing the composition on a person with the small canaries and a number of birdcages.

The original is 18"x24", gouache and watercolor on watercolor paper with some color adjustments in the computer.

Here are some details:

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