Title: The Color of Smoke: portrait of Neil Young
Material: oil on canvas
“Sometimes when I’m writing a song I can feel there’s other things in me that are not me. That’s why I hesitate to edit my songs. If it’s something I have to think about and contrive, work at, it’s usually not that good. My best work just comes through me. A lot of times what comes through me is coming from somewhere else … I think we’re all vehicles for each other.” — Neil Young
Neil Young takes leave of himself when he charges off on a guitar solo. In this painting, I resisted the cliche of depicting a guitar hero with abstract splashes, smears and slashes. I instead chose the arcane autobiographical and anthroposophical details and tendencies that Neil himself might use, including here a classic Americana decorative motif (cube quilts, Whitehall glass etc), in this case colored as sky, sepia and psychedelia. The title comes from a note I made to myself on one of my color studies.