Unplanned Collaboration to Create “Descent”

I am always thrilled to create a painting that is interwoven with the rich creativity of more than one type of artist.

The initial inspiration had been the song Descent by Steve Bell with lyrics from a poem by Malcolm Guite, poet/chaplain/teacher/singer from Cambridge, UK. The haunting melody is on Steve’s new Christmastide album, Keening for the Dawn. I knew I was going to “paint” this song, but it wasn’t until a certain photograph crossed my desk, that I knew what the starting content would be.

Wendy McAlpine is a Steve Bell fan from Kelowna, BC who happened to be at one of the opening weekend concerts for the Steve Bell Trio Christmas Tour. She volunteered to take photos at the concert and gave them to Steve as a gift. Her work was stunning!

It was her photo of Murray Pulver, one of the producers of the KFTD album, and multi-instrumental performer with Steve onstage, that begged to be a part of this painting. Murray has a kindly and compassionate face, matching his character.

The painting began with a rendering of Murray’s profile, and took a life of its own as I added actual written text from the song Descent.


Descent – Music by Steve Bell, Lyric by Malcolm Guite and Steve Bell

They sought to soar into the skies
Those classic gods of high renown
For lofty pride aspires to rise
But you came down
For lofty pride aspires to rise
But you came down

You dropped down from the mountains sheer
Forsook the eagle for the dove
The other gods demanded fear
But you gave love

Where chiseled marble seemed to freeze
Their abstract and perfected form
Compassion brought you to your knees
Your blood was warm

They called for blood in sacrifice
Their victims on an altar bled

When no one else could pay the price
You died instead

They towered above our mortal plain
Dismissed this restless flesh with scorn,
Aloof from birth and death and pain
But you were born

Born to these burdens, borne by all
Born with us all ‘astride the grave’
Weak, to be with us when we fall
And strong to save


Article “An Uplifting Descent” by Andrew Lazo

Read Faye’s article in the MB Herald, Creativity begets Creativity.

More about Steve Bell’s new album, Keening for the Dawn.

A New Sonnet by Malcolm Guite: The Feast of Christ the King.