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Music was my first love...

While I was painting for the 100 Day Project last year, which was Hare and Snail paintings inspired by books I'd read, I was thinking to myself, I should do this to music. I was quite excited when the time came around again and I began putting ideas together about a month before. I created a playlist of a hundred songs that I could possibly translate into little illustrations. To be able to do this successfully, that is to get to the end of 100 days with 100 usable, possibly sell-able paintings, and a view to selecting a few to put together a portfolio for literary agents, I needed to make it as easy as possible. But, I listen to a wide variety of genres. (yeah, you should know be by now, it's never straightforward).

For example, I could do them all in a sixties style to fit with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Foxx, but it wouldn't translate with the darker stuff, Marylin Manson, Gary Numan, or the heavier music like Faith No More or System of a Down, or the classical music, or post rock/prog rock, or traditional music. I needed a running theme.

Dance Like A Goose - Arno

In moments like these, it's always best to stick with want you know, and what I know best is nature. I've spend years and years developing the loose watercolour style that I use in all of my Hare & Snail illustrations, that bit was easy. Now, could I find 100 songs that could be translated into nature illustrations? If there wasn't an obvious link in the title, was there a lyric I could use? I spent a whole weekend, totally immersed in music (I know, sucks to be me!). Scribbling down ideas, lyrics, reasons behind animal choices for certain songs. Some came easy, like the on above and others were more challenging, like the one below.

Little Sister - Your Favorite Enemies

I decided that I wasn't going to explain my paintings, it was too time consuming. I would only have two hours in the morning before work, and although I had some idea of what the painting would look like, they were drawn, painted and posted online within that time (mostly), and sometimes the idea would have completely changed when I came to listen to the song/music again in the morning. Instead, I decided to create a Spotify playlist, maybe if the viewer could listen to the song at the same time as viewing the painting, it would all become clear, or it could just be appreciated for what it is.

Blue Spirits - Klaus Schulze

Some of the paintings don't feature Hare and Snail, but because 'Hare and Snail' is as much my style of painting as the characters themselves. The style is a kind of loose watercolour, layers of pigment wash, allowing each layer to dry in between.

Towards the end of the project I began asking other people for requests, it made the last quarter of the project a bit more bearable, I remember struggling by day 70 last year and had to really push to keep going, so wanted to keep in interesting. Plus work was getting busier, both day jobs and painting commissions and the garden takes up a lot of free time during the Spring season. It's also a good way to find new music to listen to and finding out what's being listened to in other countries.

Redneck Gigolo - Terrell

Music has always been my crutch, since I was a child, I had difficulty sleeping, so I was given a radio and headphones to listen to music until I eventually went back to sleep. Radio Luxembourg was usually airing at that time of night, as recommended by Atlantic 252 (remember them?) and they played all sorts of stuff. I have a personal genre, that I call '2am music', gentle, slightly eery, weird music that just reminds me of those sleepless nights. Even now, if I'm feeling down, or bright and cheerful even, I will turn to music, I find it inspiring, mood changing, and comforting. It taught me during dark times that I wasn't the only one, that it was good to be different from the rest and things will eventually get better.

I was also lucky enough to be born to a couple who loved music, there were tons of vinyls, albums and singles, from most genres...not so much the really heavy stuff, (but I discovered those through compilation albums). I remember, vividly receiving my first record player, with disco lights on the speakers! The volume would only lower to a certain level so I was banned from playing anything before 8am, which is where the radio and headphones came in (as this was before the invention of CDs).

Pale Moon, Guide Us Ashore - I Hear Sirens

Nowadays, the internet is my saviour for finding new music. I live in a tiny rural village and even in the next town, there are only two, possibly even just one tiny record shop and although he is good, he's rarely open when I'm in town. I have a rule when listening to Spotify or Bandcamp, if I want to download the album, I have to physically buy it first, that way, the musician gets their money too. Podcasts are something I've only recently started listening to, I'm not sure how I stumbled across VerseChorusVersepod from across the pond, as they say, who are great fun and well worth listening to and I have recently discovered Let Me Put This On who are this side of the water.

These are all bands that I listen to on a regular basis, some more than others, apart from a few who I discovered along the way, like MØSI. While I was working on this project, I submitted a painting to a friend in Normandy who was curating an exhibition in order to raise funds for the French Red Cross, to help in the war against Ukraine. On the night of the launch, this band were playing and after seeing the video my friend had posted on Facebook, I had to add them to my playlist. And then there were birthday and anniversary requests and special days, such as March the 25th "Tolkein Reading Day" I had to go and find a song inspired by Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings' to celebrate!

A New Power's Rising - Summoning

(no. 100 is also sold)

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this project, it makes it so much easier knowing that people are interested and enjoying my paintings. Hare and Snail will still be around. For now, my day job and the garden need more attention and I've got a couple of other things up my sleeve, but more on that later...

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