THE OLD BRIDGE
Paper 140 lb’s (300 gsm) Moulin Du Roi
Paper Size 30” x 22” (760mm x 555mm)
Image Size 23” x 15.5” (585mm x 395mm)
Edition Size 200 plus 20 artists proofs
© Roger Dean 2006/2018
There are two parts to the story of this painting, starting with the ‘Bridge’. Bridges are a theme I keep exploring as they play a major role in the choreography of both real and metaphysical pathways as in the ‘Way’ ‘Do’ or ‘Tao’. Floating Islands are also a theme that I keep wanting to explore, usually in these paintings I am exploring both the ability of these landforms to convincingly ‘float’ but also be capable of ‘intentional’ movement. However unlike many of these paintings, with ‘The Old Bridge’ I also wanted to convey a sense of permanence and stability, notwithstanding the fact that the bridge, over millennia is gradually breaking up and drifting apart. It is still there, it can still just be used and forms both a physical and spiritual ‘gate’ on the path.The second part of the story concerns the owl; the guardian of the bridge, again this is both a real creature and a symbolic one. The owl featured is a European Eagle Owl living in Carla Lane’s animal sanctuary in Sussex, where I sketched, photographed and eventually painted it. The Bridge needed a guardian, a sentient, being but not necessarily human, so it is here that the owl takes on its symbolic role as ‘Gatekeeper’. In the painting the owl is looking towards the Bridge but in the print it is turning towards the viewer.
Whilst I was producing this painting I kept Alan (White), drummer with Yes, informed of my progress sending him sketches and images of the painting as a work in progress and he kept his record label informed. But to our dismay they released the album with the unfinished cover—without the owl. He asked them to immediately reprint with the correct cover, which they did but for those who are interested the album now exists with and without the owl. My preference is very much for the Japanese version with the owl but with a very much better made cover.
Painted for the cover of Alan Whites solo album “White”