Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
  • Art Print
  • Canvas
  • Photo
  • Art Gifts


Submitted on
August 25, 2011
Image Size
532 KB


69 (who?)
John Finn's Wife by KateEthelLee John Finn's Wife by KateEthelLee
Well the night was deep and the night was dark
And I was at the old dance-hall on the edge of town
Some big ceremony was going down
Dancers writhed and squirmed and then,
Came apart and then writhed again
Like squirming flies on a pin
In the heat and in the din
Yes, in the heat and in the din
I fell to thinking about brand new wife of mad John Finn*

Well, midnight came and clock did strike
And in she came, did John Finn's wife
With legs like scissors and butcher's knives
A tattooed breast and flaming eyes
And a crimson carnation in her teeth

Carving her way through the dance floor
And I'm standing over by the bandstand
Every eye gaping on John Finn's wife
Yeah, every eye gaping on John Finn's wife

Now John Finn's wife was something of a mystery
In a town where to share a sworn secret was a solemn duty
I had brass knuckles and a bolo knife
Over near the bandstand with John Finn's wife
She got perfumed breasts and raven hair
Sprinkled with wedding confettis
And a gang of garrotters were all giving me stares
Armed, as they were, with machetes
And the night through the window was full of lights
Winking and awatching at John Finns' wife
Winking and awatching at John Finns' wife

Next came the cops, all out on the town
But it don't look like no trouble there
As they head for the bar in their lumpy suits
And I slip my hand between the thighs of John Finn's wife
And they seemed to yawn awake, her thighs
It was a warm and very ferocious night
The moon was full of blood and light
And my eyes grew small and my eyes grew tight
As I plotted in the ear of John Finns' wife

Enter John Finn in his shrunken suit
With his quick black eyes* and black cheroot
With his filled-down teeth and a hobnail boot
And his fists full of pistols in his pockets
Aiming at me and aiming at his wife
The band fall silent fearing for their lives
And with fear in my guts like tangled twine
Cause all I got is brass knuckles and a bolo knife
And mad John Finns' wife is all
And the three of us walk out of the hall

Now the night bore down upon us all
You could hear the crickets in the thickets call
And guns did flare and guns did bawl
And I planted my bolo knife in the neck
Of mad John Finn. I took his wretched life
Now I'm over near the bandstand
Every hand moving on John Finns' wife
Every hand moving on John Finns' wife

And John Finns' wife
Took all the flowers down
From her hair
And threw them on the ground
And the flies did hum
And the flies did buzz around
Poor John Finn
Lying dead upon the ground
Lying dead upon the ground

(Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds -- John Finn's Wife)

I underlined all of the motifs I used in the drawing.
* -- the face in the smoke symbolizes "mad John Finn". I suppose I could have come up with a better idea to portray him, but as I was working on this, I came to like the idea of John being an almost invisible, and sort of threatening-looking presence, hence the smoke.

At first, I preferred the lineart-only version [link] , for I thought this one looked kinda messy, but I'm starting to quite like all the colors here. :P

Still, I'd be very grateful if you could provide me with some constructive criticism and/or tips. Thanks in advance. ;)
Add a Comment:
Molkology Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011
oke, ovo je vech stvarno super. :D
KateEthelLee Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahhh! ^_^ hvala puno! :)
killerpine Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011
This song just begs to be illustrated, doesn't it? I swear I get a new idea for a picture every time I look at it. :D
But then I feel that way about a lot of his songs, haha.

Looking back and forth between the two, I thiiiink the messiness is mostly an emphasis problem. Because I like the color scheme a lot. The painting could be a little neater in places like the knife handle, but it's not really distracting.

But the lineart version has a lot more contrast between heavy elements (birds, musicians, her dark hair) and light ones (the tracery, knives in her hair, negative space in the window), so there's an obvious path for my eye to follow around the composition. But when it's all colored, it seems like everything is jumping toward me at once, and I'm not sure where to look first. I think how I'd test that, if it were me, would be to take off the eye-catching red from the knives in her hair, and lighten the moon a few shades, and see if that helps. If it doesn't, the problem is probably something else an I don't know what I'm talking about, lol :lol:
KateEthelLee Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ohh yes..! :) Same here, in fact, I'm working on a bunch of Nick Cave-inspired paintings at the moment! I wish my skills were better though, cause, ya know, my bad paintings don't do any justice to the brilliance that is Nick. :D
So I really, REALLYYY apprecciate your tips; and nooo, don't tell me you don't know what you're talking about, cause you obviously do, hahaha! :P But yeah, this is a good critique, so thank you!! :)

PS. Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been around here much lately! :P
killerpine Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2011
Hey it's no problem!

I guess I'm a little too shy about critiquing people, yeah. Sometimes you step on egos, though. D:
KateEthelLee Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Someone's ego actually got hurt?? Ahhh... it happens, yeah. :D ....Well, screw 'em, LOL!
killerpine Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011
Yeah, you're probably right. :B
Kirschpraline Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Hobbyist
Love it =)
KateEthelLee Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!! ^_^ :)
Susan-at-Deviantart Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011
This is amazing! Very original style. I love it.
Add a Comment: