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THURS 1 FEB 2.30pm

A series of rapid changes that brings that brings the painting to a conclusion (7). Movement is reinforced by a sucession of dark-blue knifemarks top right, charging towards Maine in the corner. A new desert yellow. North Dakota has a brighter rose-pink. The bottom of Texas opened up and reduced to a hook, now a repetition of the curve on the left edge under California. Finally, the vertical line is reinstated, cutting the space, the small white rectangle at the top a reference to the lyric 'White flags of winter chimneys, Waving truce against the moon'.

On the left-side I see a bird in flight or 'Icarus ascending, on beautiful foolish arms'. Freedom...


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A good start to 2024. Thrilling to see the two pieces side by side, mirroring the black and white mood and palette of the album with punctuations of colour. Flight and fear and reflection, love and despair, discovery of the self. Life's journey. Paintings 48 years in the making...

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THURS 1 FEB 12.30pm

We're getting somewhere! (6). The palette now more exciting and the space more complex, with the white rectangle of Colorado popping forward and the larger US shape tucked behind the moody sky. Love the speed of the white brushmarks on the right-edge . I was going to put the journey line from LA to Maine as white dots, but instead it's hinted at with gaps left between the states to get you to the top corner with the yellow triangle (desert) and dotted line pointing the way. Maine is now a heavy triangle a repeated motif with the yellow. I'm missing that vertical-line/intersection in (5) below...


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WED 31 JAN 3pm

Letting the blacks/darks dominate (5). The painting has lost the movement and it's too map-like and too bitty but I'm putting everything in before working out what's needed. The blues are working, bottom right...



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 WED 31 JAN 11am

Putting in 'facts' from the song, states and colours (4). It's overcomplicated at the moment but I have a vision of a black painting with a white journey-line 'a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway'. Also had a thought of intertwining Joni's line with my own journeys on Amtrak around the US in 1998, perhaps in red. The white rectangle of Colorado brings thoughts of the beautiful line in the song:

'White flags of winter chimneys

Waving truce against the moon'


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The first (mixed) blacks, Phthalo Green/Magenta, Violet/Raw Umber, Prussian Blue/Orange, tentatively applied (2). Then something more dramatic (3): blacks through white, blacks/darks with movement, the painting wilder now, the beauty of Alizarin Crimson...


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Laying down colours and 'shapes of states' at the start of a second painting of 'Hejira'. The painting has an icy feel (1) but I want this one to have a dominant black, with places and colours from Joni's long distance road trip L.A.- Maine -L.A. referenced in the songs:

'Amelia' and the Sonara desert, Arizona. A tryst with the 'Strange Boy' in New England'. Memphis, 'Furry Sings the Blues' and the 'Blue Motel Room' in Savannah, 'Refuge of the Roads' and Boulder, Colorado where Joni visits a guru, Chögyam Trungpa. And of course Staten Island and 'a North Dakota junction' in the mesmeric 'Song for Sharon'. 

Another stopover is Point Clear, Alabama where Joni in a crimson wig checked checked in as Joan Black, hence the working title. '"Sure, Ms. Mitchell, whatever you say".  Also, Madison, Wisconsin where Joni skates on a frozen lake in an ice-storm, photos which appeared on the inside cover of the album - 'Black Crow'.


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