Sketches made March 1st, 2012. I’d revisit these ideas for “Rebound.” Copyright 2012 Patrick Lemieux

“I’ve got a new song title for you: Rebound!”

Standing in my apartment, phone to my ear in one hand and pencil in the other hand, talking to Scott [Brown, So9’s singer and chief songwriter], I scribbled the notes he gave about the song.

I’d been monitoring the band’s progress on this new track via their Twitter feeds. Bed tracks were being laid one day. A working title developed another (“Dirty Synth”). Now, the call came. The song was done and it was “Rebound!” It needed artwork. The band knew I was ready to go, having called them a few weeks before when I sent the previous piece of album art over to them for approval. The email with the attachment included my observation that of the 8 song titles and descriptions I’d previously been given, I’d just sent them number 8. I was out of titles until new songs were written.

I had plenty to keep me busy, with material not related to So9. I finished writing and sketching the end of the Horizon Line comic I’d left dangling in 2000. I plan to commit to producing this last chapter in ink hopefully this summer. I did another non-So9 painting and in doing so, I learned two things: the theme for my next, post-So9 series; and that 12″x 12″ canvases don’t agree with me. I used to prefer small, which is no surprise given most panels of the comic were no more than a few inches in rectangle. I guess the different media require different parameters from me. Pen & ink can happily be rendered smaller than when I move the paint around the canvas.

Awaiting Her Cue, 12″ x 12″ Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright 2012 Patrick Lemieux

I forget whether I’ve talked about this before, but in school, when I learned how to paint, I never took to it. I’ve come to realize there were probably a few reasons for this. First, setting up the easel, getting the paint ready and having to take it down and clean your brushes takes some time, particular when there’s one sink and 25 students in the class. So an 80 minute class gets pared down to a productive 50 minutes, which isn’t a lot of time. That’s about as long as it takes for me to get into the zone. Then, once you’re packed, you have to carry that work home to get maybe a few hours in there, if you were so inclined. I’m not speaking for every artist out there. Many made it work for the sake of their creative expression and to get art assignments done in their preferred medium. Those factors were what drew me to the more immediately gratifying, easily transportable Pen & Ink.

Now, with painting, I can devote 8, 10, 12, 14 or more hours a day to it. There are breaks, of course, but I let the rhythm of working dictate them most of the time. Paint has to dry, so time for lunch. The Blue Jays are on in 45 minutes? Perfect! Time for dinner and a few innings before I get back at the canvas. I still work in my apartment. I’m not the artist you see carrying their easel down the street and setting it up the park. Way too exposed for me, both in allowing spectators and opening myself to distractions. No, like my writing, it’s a private thing, because I not only need to focus, I love being in the zone when I am focused. Words flow freely, textures rise up from the paper with ease and the brush-strokes are at their most confident.

I kept busy awaiting the completion of So9’s new song and when the call came, I thought, “Great! Time to brainstorm!” I flipped through my sketchbook, I doodled a little and I mulled over the ideas. A few days later was my birthday, attended by, among many others, were Scott, Radek [Smaczny, lead guitar] and Taylor [Brown, drums]. Scott announced that “Rebound” was to be the next video and single. As I hadn’t started this piece beyond the idea stage, I thought this was perfect to tie my piece into the video directly. Scott concurred.

Days later, I was still wrestling with how exactly to go about this. Do I paint a scene from the video? Do I let them shoot some of it, see what they’ve done and take inspiration from that? Should the painting be IN the video? I couldn’t crack this conundrum (which came first the painting or the video? The chicken or the egg?). I was going in circles. If only I could see the future, to see the finished video, or at least read the tea leaves of Scott’s notes to me on the song…tea leaves…predictions…

The answer hit me not like a ton of bricks, but like a whisper in the dark. It was a simple solution and I was so in awe of it I kept going over it, looking for flaws. It would present a few technical challenges, but nothing insurmountable. Some straightforward planning would be enough. I email Scott and he liked it. He was scouting locations and it seemed we were on the same wavelength. I made some notes and then returned my attention to sketching out the painting. I knew what I needed in the painting and what I needed as I painted. I’d solved a riddle and all I had to do next was paint the darn thing.

Sketch from April 26th, Copyright 2012 Patrick Lemieux

Here’s where I disappoint many of you by not sharing the idea I had. At least, not yet. I hear you crying “Foul,” “Let Down,” and probably other four letter words, but know that when the time comes you will have your answer. As of this writing, the video has not been shot, so details must remain a mystery in order to preserve its integrity. You don’t want to know whodunnit at the start of an Agatha Christie novel, do you? If you answered yes, shame on you!

The video, we hope, will answer some of these questions. I might answer the rest. The clever among might figure it out at that point without help from me.

I’m probably making more of this than it deserves, but I’m here to share with you now some insight in to my workings as an artist. The artwork for “Rebound” was finished last week and the single was released this past Monday. Below is the final version of the single sleeve and a link to download the single from iTunes will surely follow soon.

“Rebound” as the paint dries, nearing completion May 2nd. 24″ x 30″ Acrylic on Canvas, Copyright 2012 Patrick Lemeiux

Symphony Of Nine’s ‘Rebound’ single sleeve, Copyright 2012 Glenmore Records, used with permission. Original Artwork Copyright 2012 Patrick Lemieux

Download “Rebound” here: