Got the travel Bug, blue and green Earth is just a rest stop on a heroic woman's surreal acrobatic landscape of moon sun and space. Charcoal comets paint fire overhead, a rainbow colored dove briefly greets a cosmic traveller on her high wire, a soulful brave and seemingly effortless journey, across the Universe.
Painted in Oil.. Across the Universe
Albuquerque's BeBe LaLa Debut HighWire Album Cover
A rainbow colored fruit dove ascends into the stratospher for a momentary greeting to the heroic high wire walker, a woman embodying a confidence that gracefully walks across a tighrope stretching across worlds. Below her is our own Mother Earth, with its stages of civilizations from the Mayan Pyramids to the great cities and pioneering ships. Even an Albuquerque Fiesta Balloon makes its way between the ribbon waving woman and the rugged mountain tops below.
Two amazing women needed an album cover, and one of them had a particular vision and sense of feeling about their project taking them across worlds. BeBe La La's founding member wanted a work of art to fit her feeling just right. In Alicia Ultan's mind's eye she saw an acrobat, she saw a tightwire, but she knew there was more to the vision of their music.
Across the Universe wasn't originally going to be a painting. HighWire's cover would be something beautiful, the conversations with the band, about their visions, brought about a creative work that embodied their beautiful voices and inspiring sounds. A simple design evolved naturally from Alicia's sense of adventure, into traversing entire cosmic worlds. Alicia and her music partner, Maryse LaPierre, the other half of the amazing Albuquerque French-Folk-Americana singer & songwriter duo BeBe La La, had over twenty meetings connecting the Jungian and emotional dots that they had imagined for her debut album, Highwire.
Albuquerque's Indie Folk Americana Duo
wanted to have something incredibly special for Highwire, and they dropped me line on facebook and asked if I would help. I already loved Alicia's music and voice from her previous work with Charmed, and she was the first person I met in Albuquerque who knew so much about the arts and had offered great advice for where to find my first few shows. Ever so grateful, I was happy to help her and Maryse with the design of BeBe's debut cover.
Over countless teas and chais and espressos, (and yes, the occassional glass of red wine!), we looked over various sketches. Different types of acrobats and tightrope images from both Google Images and my growing number of sketches amassed. Compositional studies for their CD, which I sketched at my studio while listening to rough outtakes of their album, still in pre production and existing on solely the budget of their GoFundMe page, were the very sounds I sketched my ideas by, until we found the perfect ones.
How High a Tightwire Would BeBe La La Be On?
The most challenging part of the composition was the height of the rope. There was nothing on Google that even showed the perspective that resonated amongst us all from my rough sketches. First the camera angle, so to speak, had to be just right. I wanted to convey the sense of true vertigo, really how high the main character was on. Would this be stage fright? Would this be the sense of unknowing and newness a musician feels going out on stage for the first time? Would this speak to the listener who was collecting or checking out BeBe La La's music for the first time?
Ultimately, we all loved the highest wire possible, something that I envisioned as literally, going across the universe. There was something perfect in that, since I already knew that my paths as an artist are all about entering not just new roads, but new roads and sometimes skies in completely new universes. And having BeBe La La's HighWire stretching across the unverse itself, freed up so much room for Jungian symbolism to emerge.
Rainbow Doves, Comets, Myan Pyramids
What I loved the most about BeBe La La's album cover painting, Across the Universe, was the level of symbolism that was invited to enter and surround its main hero character, the brave acrobat while she traversed with absolute confidence, this thin high wire rope stretching from a story filled past, into a wondrous future. Her partner is a Rainbow Dove, which I sketched in charcoal but didn't yet know the color with which to embody it. Once we discovered that rainbow doves are real, the composition was halfway complete with that sense of earthly realism that can strenthen our dreams.
Since space itself was the true background, I chose to complete it with a very old drawing style, the scratchboard. I had already made the underpainting in charcoal, so this part needed only to take the tip of a studio x-acto knife, and draw the stars, comets, planets, sun, our moon, and stars of the milky way, by scratching into the brushed charcoal to reveal the white lines of each galactic and dreamy phenomenon.
Conversations with artists of different forms and media are probably some of the most amazing creative experiences, especially when they both share a similar sense of possibility and adventure. These coffee and tea chats led to imaginitative evolotions at each meeting that built on top of each other, connecting little pieces of a vision of something completely invisible, until its beauty was sought and brought forth.