Magical night in Birdsong

My good friend Danny Tulk popped by Birdsong Studio last night to chat, play and sing.  One of my side gigs is freelance writing for YMM Magazine, and I had been given the enviable task of crafting a feature story on three local musicians who are doing some pretty wonderful things with their art.


I came up with the idea of doing something a little different for the interviews.  Each of the artists is going to hang out with me in the studio.  I will paint; they will play; and we will talk.


To describe the sound that emerged in that creative space last night would be an absolute injustice.  Dan's voice and the warmth of his trusted guitar resonated in a way that was just beautiful.  I recorded the hour long visit and the four or five songs he dived into when the conversation compelled him to do so.  I'll try to figure out how to share that in the next couple of days.


I kept thinking of the late Jim Dorie as Dan played.  Jim built the place and would write, play and sing within these four walls with various friends, including the talented Mike Plume.  It was such a privilege to sit there drawing and listening to the gorgeous sounds that Dan was making.  Wow!


It felt magical in the studio last night, which made its way into the painting of 13 year old Drayden Fontaine from La Loche, one of the victims in the recent school shooting.  I had been asked to paint him earlier in the day and every bone in my body said that his canvas needed to be on the easel last night.

Drayden and his older brother Dayne, also killed, are roughly the same ages as our two sons, Ben and Dylan.  I just made that connection a second ago.

I can't even begin to imagine the grief, hurt and abject horror that Alicia (their mom) must be feeling.  This painting, and the one to follow of Dayne, will be a gift of love and support from our family to hers.  

I'm grateful to Melissa for asking me to paint these portraits. I'm grateful to Dan Tulk for being with me last night, sharing his passion for music, his love of family, and his generous spirit.  I'm grateful to the spirit of Drayden who seemed to be present, too. It was a night in Birdsong Studio that I'll cherish forever.


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