Sorry for very little blogging of late - truth is we have been rather busy.
Firstly, there was finishing the final artworks for Michael Moorcock’s Stormbringer – a deluxe limited edition of the book to be published by Centipede Press (quite soon I believe).
Then Jeff Scheetz flew in from the US to work on the mixing of our album ‘Trinity’ at M2 Studios with Sheena Sear and Mark Stuart. While we still have much to do, i.e. final mixing tweaks, mastering and album graphics, the project is gradually coming together. The complete album line-up is now as follows:
- Jeff Scheetz (Jeff Scheetz Band) – guitars
- Rodney Matthews – drums
- Oliver Wakeman (Yes) – keyboards
- John Payne (Asia) – bass guitar and vocal
- Tony Clarkin (Magnum) – bass guitar
- Pete Coleman (Film composer of Ahockalypse) – multi-instrumentalist
- Steve Amadeo (Aynsley Lister) – bass guitar
- Sarah Prothero – vocal
- Charles McNeal – alto sax
- Plus the mighty Rick Wakeman has played a cameo on the title track!
Track titles (not necessarily in this order) are as follows:
- The Heavy Metal Hero
- The Hop
- The Leavetaking
- Extract from Night on the Bare Mountain
- The Granite Curtain
- November Wedding
- Stop the Slaughter
Sarah and I are also currently organising two events: ‘Mythopoeia – The Art of Literary Legends’ and ‘Electric Rock’. Mythopoeia is an exclusive two-day event being held near Cheltenham on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August 2018. Invitation was extended to all those who are signed up to our ‘Rodney Matthews Mailing List’. Response has been phenomenal – thank you. No matter how hard we try, we cannot fit one more body in on the Saturday, however, there may be a space or two on the Sunday. If you are interested, please let Sarah know at email@example.com and she will sort out a ticket.
On display will be my illustrations inspired by the following Great British authors:
- J.M. Barrie
- Lewis Carroll
- Arthur Conan Doyle
- Kenneth Grahame
- Edward Lear
- C.S. Lewis
- Michael Moorcock
- Mervyn Peake
- J.R.R. Tolkien
- H.G. Wells
On the Saturday, a drinks reception will be held before Oliver Wakeman takes to the Steinway grand piano to deliver another captivating performance. Then on the Sunday it’s my turn! In the morning, alongside Sarah, we are taking part in a live version of our blog ‘An Anatomy of Artwork’ and then in the afternoon I will be giving a talk on Tolkien.
‘Electric Rock’, to be held at Highbury Hall in Birmingham on the 19th and 20th January 2019, will be dedicated to my complete repertoire of album cover artworks. I am hugely excited that Praying Mantis have agreed to perform a live acoustic set on the Saturday for our VIP Night. Tickets cost £20. Click here for more info. Admission is free on the Sunday as we open the doors to the public.
We have also been hard at work publishing a new rock art calendar, also titled ‘Electric Rock’.
We are awaiting delivery from the printers. The calendar contains 12 landscape proportioned rock album images and a special page of descriptions of what each of the images mean to me. We are offering bundles to go with the calendar, which include a limited edition print, a T-shirt and a beanie hat.
I also finished off a pencil drawing titled ‘Waiting for the Flood’, a private commission that had been waiting in the wings for several hundred years – thankfully the client had plenty of patience.
The image, a surprise for his wife, was her own concept, but I was given scope to illustrate it in my own style. It was a pleasure to meet up with the couple and their son to hand over the framed artwork. Well done Sir, for keeping the whole thing a surprise until the very last second!
Then in the thick of it all, I received a commission from Record Collector magazine for a front cover image to be completed from pencil sketch (for approval) to finished colour artwork in 10 days!
Some midnight oil was burnt. That said, it was a most enjoyable job that called for images of two of my prog heroes – Ian Anderson and Jon Anderson, from Jethro Tull and Yes respectively. I placed them in a fantasy background, divided into separate halves – the gnarled and woody for Ian and the serene and ethereal for Jon. The image has been reproduced as a limited edition print. Click here for more info or to buy one. I recommend nipping out and getting a copy of the magazine, which features an interesting and detailed interview, etc. with Ian and Jon.
Now for a stiff cup of tea and a sprawl on the sofa … for half an hour!