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Remembering Greg Lake

Merging Fantasy and Reality: art inspired by his last tour

Storytelling and song lyrics:

Eloquent songs woven of myth and magic, wondrous journeys through landscape of memory -vivid with images both sensual and sublime or dark as an ancient labyrinth of dreams. For Greg Lake was master of his art, bringing songs to life.

 

Inspired to create an illustration for Greg Lake built from visions, songs and legends of King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer throughout his career, I started with the portal of an enormous storm vortex that bends time and space as he plays his tune. The Lucky Man’s white horses leap forth, followed by many ghostly ladies by the score, swept along a river of time. The ELP white dove is the symbol of hope and ascendance, and the black queen heads the funeral march. The Lady of the Lake as High Priestess on his right wields Excalibur- she is his protection, his strength. The autumn leaves of C’est La Vie are scattered in the wind.

Read into it what you will, for many things intuitive and unintended will surface; the storm of his power illuminates many hidden memories. People often point out to me things I didn’t see or intend to bring to light, yet the unconscious mind works in unbidden ways.

There are characters I envisioned from so many of his songs. A visit to Peter Sinfield’s website revealed some meanings behind the first "Court of the Crimson King" lyrics; (after all, to find answers one must journey to the source) - all these swirled around in my mind begging to be added. His coat had to reveal some legendary role, more Merlin and less sport jacket. When I realized the visions might overtake Greg, as if I had opened a Pandora’s box, I had to pull back from them. I am a Moonchild who is easily enchanted by such things, nocturnal by nature.

So in the light of day, I edited characters out, leaving the more essential parts intact (version #2, below). This second version is more of a journey from the Lucky Man’s horses at age 12 to the moment ELP’s first dove (album) takes flight.

 

I never did send him any of these versions! He might have thought I was completely daft. Or perhaps he would have been amused by the surreal dreamscape. I’ll never know. These first versions were never posted until just now, as you see them. So in this final version, I brought in a stage, mic, and speakers, gave him back his sport jacket, and tamed the horses. I also put Greg in the spotlight . Is the final version the best one? I think it best portrays the original concept I was going for, but I leave it to the viewer to decide.

My original concept was Greg performing on stage and bringing his songs to life. (version #3, below)
Merging fantasy with reality is always a tricky business. Due to the nature of this kind of experimentation, this artwork was painted and drawn entirely in Photoshop, but given a canvas 36x48” or larger, I would be able to paint it in oils.

A shout out to Lee Millward, for letting me use one of his 2012 tour photos of Greg Lake as a photo reference for the painting. And another shout out to the "Ladies of the Lake" Greg's dedicated fangirls, for keeping the torch burning bright in their archival halls. Keepers of the flame.

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