This is a little story of a commissioned painting I did for Darryl Purpose but it’s also a story of meeting Darryl, his music and how it’s touched me.
When Darryl Purpose approached me to paint a commissioned painting to go on his upcoming new CD, I was thrilled! I immediately said yes!
I’ve known Darryl from way back when I was living on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington. That would be around 1996.
I first met Darryl when a friend of mine in New York City let me know that Darryl was playing a house concert on Queen Anne Hill. He encouraged me to go hear Darryl’s music live. The concert was within walking distance of my apartment. How could I say no?
So my best friend and I walked up to the concert.
When we got there, we didn’t know any one in the group of people congregating and we were wondering if it was actually okay that we were there. My friend had said, “Just tell Darryl, Steve sent you.” Sounded good to me.
The concert was in a lovely house that overlooked the city. There was a large picture window in the living room with a sweeping view of Seattle and the space needle against the sky. There were chairs set around for people to sit in. A lot of those were filled. We sat in the back.
When the concert began, Darryl stood in front of the big picture window with his guitar and played for the small crowd of music lovers.
We were mesmerized with Darryl’s music and his storytelling of black jack playing and being on the great Peace March. It was enchanting and the setting just right!
During a break in the concert, people were mingling, others getting something to drink. I headed for the restroom. When I came back to the group, I found my friend hugging Darryl with tears streaming down her face. She had been so touched by Darryl’s music and was telling him how much she loved it. It made me smile. His music brought her to tears! That’s how soulful and touching Darryl’s music is!
It’s a great memory of a beautiful evening of fabulous music and company!
I immediately bought Darryl’s CD, Right Side of Zero.
His music inspired me to paint this piece titled “Blue is for River.” It’s a painting of Darryl (when he used to wear a cowboy hat during his performances) whipping up the sky with his music.
My painting title is taken from Darryl’s song titled “Paint the Sky.” Darryl graciously let me use his Paint the Sky song in my art showcase video on Youtube.
Purchase an archival print of Blue is for River here.
Fast forward a few years and a few DP concerts later. I’ve seen Darryl play in Washington, New York City, and Oregon. I have all of his CDs! Can you tell I’m a fan yet?
I will always remember a road trip I took once with my late husband, Peter. I had introduced him to Darryl’s music when we lived in Portland, OR.
I think it was sometime in the summer of 2005. Peter was very thin from fighting colon cancer. He also had bought a new (used) car and wanted to take a road trip with it.
Peter’s brother, Larry, was visiting so we took that road trip. We had Darryl’s music in the CD player. Peter wanted to share Darryl’s music with Larry and there was one song Peter especially loved. It is titled, “The Island Song” from the Right Side of Zero CD.
I just remember cruising along with the sun roof open, a beautiful summer day, Larry stretched out in the back seat, Darryl’s music playing, Peter driving…we stopped to pick blackberries on the side of the road. All was well.
Sadly, Peter didn’t win the battle. He died from colon cancer that October.
Whenever I hear the Island Song, it brings me back to that day. I remember how Darryl’s music had lifted us up! How eager Peter was to share the music and the times we played Darryl’s music to make us feel good.
I’ve been sharing Darryl’s music since that first CD I bought in 1996. So you can see I felt honored to be asked to do a custom painting for the new CD.
So, I talked with Darryl about the commission.
What did he want it painted on…paper or wood? How big? What feeling did he want portrayed from it? Darryl sent me a few lyrics from some of the new songs on the CD. We exchanged thoughts about the painting and then I began.
It started out like this…
and then turned into this…
and then this…
and… so it went. Adding more layers and more layers.
Then at some point I noticed the earring. It’s funny how one can paint and not really notice the elements until much later.
Where did that come from? The earring had to go.
So I took it out and turned it into Buddha’s ear. I almost thought that “Buddha’s Ear” might make a nice title. It had a lyrical quality to it. 🙂
But the words “Still the Birds” kept repeating in my head. I almost didn’t want to title it that because it was the title being considered for the new CD. Yet, it seemed to fit perfect, so that was what I titled it.
There is a lot of symbolism in this painting. I don’t often like to talk about what a painting means to me as I like the viewer to make up their own story about my art. But I will tell you that the hand symbolizes the guitar player in Darryl and how a musician uses his hand to play an instrument. The raven looking up at the moon and the swallows flying above is about time and the passing of it.
If you’d like to purchase one of your own commissioned paintings, go here.