This is my first airbrush painting (acrylic), and was done in my garden apartment above the Hollywood Bowl in 1976 and is 36" square. The address was 6941 Camrose drive (it since came down in a landslide). I was just learning how to use an airbrush, working with top illustrator, Peter Lloyd, who was living in North Hollywood at the time and showing me the airbrush ropes. He loaned me a Paasche airbrush, I bought Sears' cheapest compressor and I got on with it. The original painting looks a lot better than this bad photo of the album...the printers couldn't get the separation right, because the tones were too subtle for an 8X10 camera to capture on Ektachrome.

When I came up with the "Long Misty Days" concept, an image of an autumn leaf instantly appeared in my mind when Robin Trower gave me the title of the album. I had a key element for the design from the getgo. I then had to come up with an overall design for the cover which would incorporate the autumn leaf, and which would satisfy my desire for contrast and ambivalence, plus create an image that looked three dimensional on a two dimensional surface...a basic premise of all my work.

Since I like spirals, circles, holes, star fields, nebulas, and galaxies, I came up with the swirled hole in grey (to give the bright orange leaf a fighting chance for design element survival amidst the overpowering swirl; the leaf had the only real color in the piece) beyond which were stars. I've been told many times by women that the hole is a pussy and to those who expressed that view it obviously was, and I can certainly see their point. But I never consciously intended to render a big pussy leading to the Universe (though it's not a bad idea), I just drew a shape that was geometrically compelling, would accommodate the bright orange, but dead leaf, contrasting the dead biologicalness of it with the cold, impersonal, otherworldly and non-biological physical geometry of the swirl, whilst satisfying my three dimensional requirements as well. I may have ended up with the Great Pussy and the Universe, but that isn't what I consciously set out to do.

As I was leaving Peter's with his airbrush in tow, I picked up a sycamore leaf on his front lawn and used it as the model. This painting is now in Robin's attic (is someone trying to tell me something????).

As opposed to For Earth Below, this painting was a joy to do...I hated to let it go (but Robin made me an offer I couldn't refuse!).



original thumbnail sketch for cover design