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.
Still, I'd be very grateful if you could provide me with some constructive criticism and/or tips. Thanks in advance.
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. 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
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. 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! But yeah, this is a good critique, so thank you!!
PS. Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been around here much lately!
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