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The Story Behind the New Comic Book

Illustrator Rick Destree has created something special: the world’s first comic-book-video.

Using the lyrics of “Paint Your Tigers Gold” as an esoteric launching point, this comic features the trials and tribulations of “Lucy the Mouse”. Will she be able to face her fears and take on the cat that stalks her home? With the help of her friends and great courage she just might.

You can support the work of the Coons Family (Giants & Pilgrims) by picking up a booklet or two of this new project here:
http://giantsandpilgrims.com/store/

Here’s the full story of how this comic came about and what’s at it’s heart:

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Bedtime is filled with rhythm and routine at our house.

Every night that we put the kids to bed is a liturgical cadence of repetition-
bathroom, bath, brushing teeth, jammy-fying, gathering comfort objects, stories, lights out,
a hug,
a kiss,
and a high-five,
and a verbal goodnight paragraph that is a benediction in and of itself:

“Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.
I love you for always and forever.
No matter what, no matter when, no matter where,
I will always love you.”

In the thick of the litany there was a year or two when I told “Lucy the Mouse” stories. This little mouse found a home in the body of an acoustic guitar and every time she left for an adventure she would pluck a couple of the strings on the way out and make the instrument sing.

When our oldest daughter started having night terrors, these stories were filled with moments of courage and bravery for Lucy the Mouse.

It seemed fitting that when artist Rick Destree pitched that we make a comic book for the song “Paint Your Tigers Gold” we should simply tell a “Lucy the Mouse” story.

The song “Paint Your Tigers Gold” was written in the same year, when our daughter, Lucy (then 2 years old), was having these night terrors. She would erupt into screaming and crying anywhere between midnight and 4 AM. And we couldn’t wake her up to calm her down.

Being in that helpless place and not being able to fix the problem was extremely hard for me as a dad. Exhausted, I would hold my frantic daughter and be completely unsure what to do.

After several weeks of trial and error, turns out she just had to go to the bathroom as a part of the bedtime routine. That was a tiring lesson to learn and best remedied at 7 PM rather than 2 AM.

I wrote the song as a prayer- processing what it means to come alongside someone (when that’s really all you can do… just be with them) when they experience darkness. There’s such strength in coming alongside them to tell them you are with them; that they are brave and can do it.

The sound of the song is purposefully both circus/ kaleidoscope joy and vesper/lullaby hush- a call to courage and a calming comfort. And all that wrapped up in hope.

With the purchase of this comic book you will receive a download of “Paint Your Tigers Gold” for FREE..

And we hope this artwork and song become somehow a part of your routine this season. And that all the deep plays of courage and bravery would be stirred in the encounter.

Here again is the link to pick yourself up one:
http://giantsandpilgrims.com/store/

Here’s to a brilliant new year,
Tim Coons
Giants & Pilgrims

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“Ferocious” Painting Process

Just wanted to share some of the behind the scenes process photos of how I create a painting. These are from last year (I was at my parents house in Kansas).

 

A good day of painting always starts for me with some good reference photos and a delicious cup of coffee.

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Next comes roughly sketching out an idea – with lots of little scribbly help from the kiddos (an excellent place for them to help since all this gets covered anyway)

 

 

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Also usually need some live modeling from Tim…

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Refining the sketch…

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Painting everything in black and white only to “set values”

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Adding first collage elements and color (plus fixing some elements).

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More color…

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And more… teal and zig zags eventually gets covered up.

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IMG_9459And after the edition of lots of white and lots of fun scribbles from the kids, FINISHED!!

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Song: Paint Your Tigers Gold

The Story of the Song

“Paint Your Tigers Gold” was written when our daughter, Lucy (then 2 years old), was having night terrors. She would erupt into screaming and crying anywhere between midnight and 4 AM. And we couldn’t wake her up to calm her down.
Being in that helpless place and not being able to fix the problem was extremely hard for me as a dad. Exhausted, I would hold my frantic daughter and be completely unsure what to do.

After several weeks of trial and error, turns out she just had to go to the bathroom as a part of the bedtime routine. That was a tiring lesson to learn and best remedied at 7 PM rather than 2 AM.

I wrote this song as a prayer- processing what it means to come alongside someone (when that’s really all you can do… just be with them) when they experience darkness. There’s such strength in coming alongside them to tell them you are with them; that they are brave and can do it.

The sound of the song is purposefully both circus/ kaleidoscope joy and vesper/lullaby hush- a call to courage and a calming comfort. And all that wrapped up in hope.
-Tim

Listen to “Paint Your Tigers Gold”

“Paint Your Tigers Gold” Lyrics and Chords

by Giants & Pilgrims

F
Hedge of angels come to corners with me

Bb
Riddle out every shadow you see

dm             C                       dm                   C                           F
Ring a bell, shake across, give them hell whatever the cost

Summon all of your rave revelry, Say a word against the indecency
You’re alright, you’re not alone, Keep the fight, you’re safe and you’re home

F F/E  dm x2
Put on your brightest shine
(Paint all your tigers gold, Whistle your loudest song,
Shout in your highest notes, Singing your loudest tone,
Put on your greatest crown)

Bb                                                 F   F/E  dm
… And your Lionheart sleeps tonight

Every ride, every Carasol stops, In the end, ended all without knots
Breathing deep, thank the Lord, you’re covered up, with rock and with sword

dm           F              Bb
Sleep along, dear. Darling I’m here
I’ll hang my heart, dear, upon the door here x2

Bb– F– dm– C–

 

Featured Artist: Chris McLean

Chris McLean

Bio: Christopher McLean is an artist who works mostly in oil, ink and mixed media. His work incorporates a precise technical style that is influenced by Art Nouveau and Pop Surrealism.  The goal of McLean’s art work is to create images that are captivating from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, but also contain much to ponder in terms of content. He sees his art as successful when it comes together to create a complete visual identity without presenting his subjects as closed. Perhaps most importantly, while some very specific ideas can be culled from his images, McLean is careful to leave a generous depth of space for the viewer to explore and develop their own interpretations of the work, resulting in art that can be viewed again and again, always offering some fresh insight.

More of Christopher McLeans art work can be seen and bought at http://www.christopher-mclean.com

www.christopher-mclean.com

From Chris:

Painting My Tiger Gold

I can tell you what went into making this piece of art for the September almanac.  I could tell you that I painted it on reclaimed wood from a platform, which sat at a home that housed all of my hopes and dreams.  I could tell you that at the time of its commission, I knew that the meaning would be quite significant.  I could tell you that as I stained each stripe and carefully drew each line, that I was in the process of figuring out how to become just what the theme was meant to be.  Because of this, it is easier to explain this piece by sharing my journey while creating it.

This year has been the most difficult time of my life.  It is almost impossible for me to figure out how I have been able to get through what I already have, but almost equally impossible to figure out how to walk down the road ahead.  For a while, I thought that the answer was being tough.

I tried looking tough, keeping an even demeanor, acting as though nothing was wrong.  If anything gets in my way, I will simply be…tougher. Toughness, as I came to know it, was rooted in my fears. I was scared of what was happening to me, to my life.  Hurt by the things I could not control. Moving into unknown territories and having everything I had loved and become familiar with evaporate.  I was, I am scared.

In this dark place I found out that this heavy armor of toughness was not going to help me find my way, and in fact, it was wearing me down.  I had placed myself on mute and coasted across the landscape afraid of company. I had begun to rely on being something that would never allow me to heal.

You see, while I wanted to hurt, trying to simply be tough forced me to extinguish my emotions, my problems, my mistakes and my pain. Tough wanted me to be scared, because the second I let my guard down, well, that is when life gets you…or so I believed.  Tough wanted me to be scared and all the while brave let me be scared and I learned the difference.

Here’s the truth about bravery.  It makes you want to throw up. It makes you cry. It makes you lose sleep and weight.  Being brave means you are scared. It’s ugly and messy and not at all heroic looking when it’s happening. Most of all, brave wants you to heal past pain and find joy again. It helps you reach each problem, turn it into a puzzle and with a deep breath, solve it.

In the end, this golden tiger represents my fears, my doubts, my restless nights and it was while I was painting it that I was learning about bravery.  I still have a long way to go on my current journey, but there are a few things that I know I must do.  Sing into my most terrifying moments. Avoid being alone, because we need each other.  Use the currency of joy wherever I must pay my tolls, but most important, be brave.

By Christopher McLean

Christopher-mclean.com