Thursday, August 29, 2013

River Dreams

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous speech this week, I thought I'd show a little illustration I recently finished. This piece will accompany a poem by another famous African American author Langston Hughes. The text of the poem will be printed in the golden waters of the winding river. It's always a little tricky to allow space for text in situations like these, but I think I solved the problem well and have created a nice mood. It will run in a prominent children's magazine in the next few months.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

by Langston Hughes
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


Amy said...

This is a beautiful painting! I love the colors and the light on the water. It seems like a simplified palette, that really works with the poem. And I love Langston Hughes, so thanks for sharing!

Greg Newbold said...

Thanks Amy- I did try to use a limited palette- mostly warm oranges and yellows with a few purples and neutrals to balance the warm/cool aspect. Glad you like it!