"Once" section 1 of diptych

Alice McMahon

Galena, United States

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  • Artwork Comments 37

Artist's Description

“Once” diptych section 1, charcoal on Stonehenge paper, 16 × 12″.

Marketa Irglova, from a photo by Patrick Glennon, http://www.myspace.com/patrickglennon

I discovered the Irish band “The Frames” this year, and it was love at first listen. Glen Hansard is the lead singer and guitarist with a powerful style, and influenced by some of my favorite groups, like Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. Wish I’d discovered them years ago, fantastic!

Soon after finding The Frames, I saw the movie “Once” filmed on a shoestring in Ireland. Once stars Hansard and Marketa Irglova, a pianist and singer from the Czech Republic. The couple (now also a couple in real life) wrote and performed all of the music from the movie, and even snagged an Oscar this year for the song “Falling Slowly”. Since Hansard started his career in the same way as the character in the movie, as a busker on the streets of Dublin, this is a wonderful story of success through determination and hard work. Glen and Mar are now on a successful concert tour with a show called “The Swell Season”, performing songs from the movie among others. I’m fortunate to have tickets for the Chicago Theater performance in June.

I was inspired by this couple enough to want to do a drawing of them as a gift, an idea that came to me after a myspace friend of mine told me about how she gifted Glen with a guitar because his guitar from the movie was on it’s last hours of usefulness. Thanks, Mary Beth, for your help and encouragement!

Since I had no way of taking my own photos, I contacted some of the photographers who have worked with Glen and Mar over the past few years to request using their photos for references. I found Zoran Orlic and Patrick Glennon here on Myspace, and they have been more than helpful and supportive during this process, cheering me on all the while. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity of getting to know them both better along the way. Thanks so much Zoran and Patrick! You are the best! And of course, with photo realism the result is only as good as your references, so any comments on lighting, composition, etc. should go to these fellows. I only changed the compositions slightly and removed a few unnecessary details like mikes and the like. The hardest part for me was choosing the photos that would go best together from the many great photos these photographers have taken over the years.

The results of the work fall short of my vision, but that’s always the way for artists, as Zoran reminded me. Charcoal on paper is really tough, and the smooth gradients are about as smooth as they will ever get. All in all a good exercise, and a great way to network and produce a co-operative work. Since most of my work in the past few years has been influenced by music, both rock and Irish music, it seemed like a good fit for me. It’s also nice knowing this one has a place to go outside of my studio. I hope they like it. :) ~ Alice

Artwork Comments

  • Lee Wilde
  • Pouzet
  • apjenkins
  • Philip  Rogan
  • Kaitlin Beckett
  • Bee Williamson
  • Leith
  • L K Southward
  • samos
  • Alice McMahon
  • Hidemi Tada
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