Desire’s a Terrible Thing

Aloha! In this post I’d like to talk a bit about this work and what inspired it — The Sundays’ ‘Can’t Be Sure’.
Love the artwork? Buy it here: my store . Prints also available !
thesundays
Source: Spotify

– A little intro about the band –

The Sundays were (and still are!!) a great alternative rock band from the 90s. Starting in 1988, the band consisted of members Harriet Wheeler (vocals), David Gavurin (guitar), Paul Brindley (bass) and Patrick Hannan (drums). In 1990, they released their debut album “Reading, Writing and Arithmetic”.

I like them because of the band’s perfect combination of Harriet’s sweet voice, the jangling guitar is remarkable and reminiscent of The Byrds (another band I like), the drum beats are always fresh, not monotonous or overly repetitive and the bass has this melodic quality to it that’s very interesting to listen to.

Harriet and David mainly composed their songs, and to me, the lyrics are clever and thoughtful, and like they have something good to say.

Take for example Can’t Be Sure – you’ll find the lyrics below. I’ve always liked the line “It’s my life” – because to me, no matter what people say about how you should live, ultimately your life is yours and it’s up to you to live it as best as you can, to live happily.

After reading up on the Internet, other people also pointed out how it’s about taking the good with the bad, being satisfied with what you have and living life simply. There are things we cannot control, such as England’s miserable weather, or that people naturally desire things – ‘love, luck and money’. But ‘England’s as happy as England can be, why cry?’ – there are still a lot of good things around us that we can find happiness in.

– End of intro –

VID_25340514_165103_412_1

This is my first painting of Harriet in watercolor. The lines “Did you know desire’s a terrible thing, the worst that I can find. And did you know desire’s a terrible thing, but I rely on mine” kept playing my head, and I had this image of her, so obviously I needed to put that on paper!

The main color here is Prussian Blue. I used it for two reasons: 1) I didn’t want to use black, and 2) this is my favorite blue so far. I just adore this blue. For the composition, I imagined her in one of their small shows, where it’s mostly dark. I added a violet at the bottom to give a sense of depth, and the vermilion hue is there because it looks boring if it’s just two dark colors (lol), and also to give a sense of life – like blood flowing through the veins.

The end result makes Harriet look a bit gothy, and reminds me of Dream’s sister, Death in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, but I like how it looks. Yay!

This just dawned on me now, but I just found out that there are two versions of the music video!! The UK one is minimalistic and dark, while the US one is bright, they are bathed in light and obviously polished to appeal to the US market. I guess that darkness in my artwork is justified? 😀 And the vermilion hue is probs my subconscious’ response to the US music video. Or whatevs.

 

 

UK version:
US:

Lyrics:

Give me a story and give me a bed
Give me possessions
Oh love luck and money they go to my head like wildfire
It’s good to have something to live for you’ll find
Live for tomorrow
Live for a job and a perfect behind, high time
England my country the home of the free, such miserable weather
But England’s as happy as England can be
Why cry

And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
The worst that I could find
And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
But I rely on mine, a-ah

England my country the home of the free, such miserable weather
But England’s as happy as England can be
Why cry

And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
The worst that I could find
And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
But I rely on mine
Did you know desire’s a terrible thing
It makes the world go blind
But if desire, desire’s a terrible thing
You know that I really don’t mind

And it’s my life
And though I can’t be sure what I want any more
It will come to me later
Well it’s my life, and it’s my life
And though I can’t be sure if I want any more
It will come to me later, ah, yeah

Thank you for reading, and please let me know your thoughts below!

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