I painted this for Rodney Harrison who I had worked with in The Wild Bunch and the New Frontier and as a gigging duo and also as vocalist on recordings of his songs.
He’d become temporarily involved with the newborn Christian movement through musicians he’d met and asked me to paint an LP cover depicting a winged angel with an electric guitar fighting off a monstrous dragon. The theme was based around a decisive aerial battle between good and evil. Now that seems to ring a bell!
The album’s title was to be Revolutionary Angel. The artwork was supposed to be used for some theological purpose connected with the Baptist movement but nothing came of the proposed venture. After my artwork was viewed I was informed that the angel seemed too evil-looking and therefore inappropriate, yet as far as I was concerned, I’d merely provided what had been requested.
After all my effort I wasn’t about to toss the painting on the scrap-heap – I’m a bit of a hoarder anyway and tend to keep things even when they seem to have no practical use, though I also felt that to just throw it away would be a shameful waste, so I just added it to my portfolio, as I actually enjoyed painting it and considered that it deserved some measure of recognition.
I based the appearance of the dragon on the Jabberwock illustration that John Tenniel devised for Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem in his 1872 novel, Through the Looking Glass.
Ironically, I had painted a version of Tenniel’s Jabberwock Illustration previously and written a parody of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky poem and apparently, according to an entry in Wikipedia, it is suggested that Jabberwocky was actually a parody itself, being a send-up of an old German ballad, The Shepherd of the Giant Mountains, also that Carroll was inspired by a line of Shakespeare’s Hamlet quoted by Horatio citing, “the sheeted dead did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets,” Act 1, Scene 1. Talk about Chinese whispers!
The painting is rendered in acrylic watercolours on CS2* board and the lettering for the title was produced with Letraset** See ‘notes’ below.
Dave Draper – June 2014
*Colyer & Southey [printing] Limited is a dissolved private limited company incorporated on 15th August 1946 and dissolved on 16th March 1999. CS10 was smooth fine-line board, used for producing finished artwork – CS2 was mounting board used as backing in paste-up work and as picture-frame surrounds. CS2 also provides a good matt surface for painting.
**Letraset is a company known mainly for manufacturing sheets of typefaces and other artwork elements, which can be transferred to artwork being prepared.
Dave Draper – 2014