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The 4 Horsemen Paintings

Everyone has their Heroes.

Mine are musical.

The driving beat behind a good rock song, the extended sax note that hangs there like the player has weather balloons for lungs, the wailing cry of a high note from Ella Fitzgerald or the smooth tones of Johnny Mathis taking me back to another time. There's always the 80s with Duran Duran, or vinyl LPs I had inherited as a child like The Ink Spots or Mitch Miller, and The Chipmunk Christmas Album. Alvin, put that gun down!

Well, the 4 gentlemen that I painted in the photo above here are my top 4 musical heroes. No, I'm not gender-centric, it just so happens that these 4 are my favorite musicians because they have inspired me musically, and artistically, and quite honestly, they've also informed my beliefs. If you spent a week, just one week, listening to these 4 musicians only, every day, for all of your spare time like your art time, your workout, your drive, your meals...etc...and bothered to spend some of that time also reading the lyrics (there are probably fewer than 4 of their songs total where the lyrics aren't easy enough to get from listening anyway, so maybe not)...I would dare to say your life might just take a turn.

From left to right, they are Gene Eugene, Bill Mallonee, Michael Been, and Bruce Cockburn (CO-burn, like the girl at the concert corrected me the first time I saw him and pronounced his name like it looks).

Eugene and Been are deceased, Mallonee and Cockburn are still strumming. I would like to write an article on each one, so...I will, but first, about the paintings:

Each artist is very different in style, and so you can see, in the colors I've chosen. If, however, I was to do a painting of the essential "sameness", or similarities of these artists, it could easily boil down to one thing, and the colors that went with it would be black, and white: gut-level honesty.

These were the first experiments I have done in these styles, and one thing about them all was, they were quick! Less than 2 hours on any one of them. There are 2 styles represented here, similar, but not exactly the same. There is Monochrome, and Duo-Tone. They're just like they sound. Monochrome is just one color with white and black infused to spread the spectrum out, and duo-tone is the contrast of 2 colors, a light and dark. Gene is Ultramarine Blue (bluegene), Michael is Veridian, (greenbean), Bill is Cornflower Yellow and Violet (country colors...ok he's not a country artist FYI, he does rock and Americana), and Bruce is Cadmium Yellow and Vermilion. Out of the 4 color combinations I'd say I personally like Bill's the best, the light yellow and violet, and Bruce's is very striking. As you can also see, the monochromes are a bit less contrasty, more washed out. More pure white in these might make them come alive, but honestly that might ruin the concept. I'm not sure of that until I try more of these.

They are all connected together in a row right now, although they are indeed separate wood panels, 12x18 in. x 1in. thick (sides are truss-framed, hand made by me). All were given 4 coats of gesso, and painted in oils.

So, next article I write, I'll single these guys out one at a time and tell you more about them. In the meantime you can find all of them on Spotify in the following iterations I've linked for you:

Adam Again (Gene Eugene)

The Vigilantees of Love or Bill Mallonee

The Call or Michael Been

Bruce Cockburn


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