Saturday, December 21, 2013

December Light (watercolor painting)

DECEMBER LIGHT- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2013.

 Today is the winter solstice in this northern hemisphere, the beginning of returning light. As this sacred and powerful time unfolds, I want to take the time to say thank you to all who have shared in my music, art, and words, and to wish you all the best in the days at hand and ahead.

It has been a busy autumn-- great painting light, lots of music. In early December I finished a final draft of the fourth Liam Dutra New England  mystery novel, SNOW- DARK CROSSING. It goes back to the editor in January, and should be out in April. For now I am taking a break from focused writing work, instead enjoying the luxury of reading for pleasure in the mornings. 

Again, best wishes to all; I'll leave you with this new winter solstice poem:   

In cold terrain, from winter rock,
enclosed and protected
by bare branch, bending hemlock

the wellspring rises,
breaks the hollow song of ice:

Water with the clarity of light.
 the pulsing of all deeper life
 revealed, renewed, free-flowing,


In December darkness,
stillness entered.

-Kevin Macneil Brown, December 2013.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lake Champlain, Winter Light (watercolor painting.)

painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, 2013.

Iced in at home on the winter solstice, I decided to paint a scene from a remembered December day two years ago, when I walked the shore at Burlington from Oakledge to Perkins Pier in cold and changing afternoon light.-KMB

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Big Sky Music

November is big sky season  here in Vermont. This composition from a few years back is inspired by the November horizon, the colors and textures of that open sky after autumn leaves have fallen. It was made with steel guitar and tuned glass bowls.

CHROMA HORIZON II is one of six of my compositions that can be heard in the soundtrack to FREEDOM AND UNITY: THE VERMONT MOVIE. I am honored to be part of this amazing project that goes deep into the place that I call home:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DAWN, WINOOSKI RIVER ( painting and poem)

DAWN, WINOOSKI RIVER - painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper, October 2013.

Old moon, shining, sets.
The opposite sky is steeped in the luminous
blood of new roses.

Last leaves shimmer in hard darkness.
Cold wind, slicing, Pleistoscene
finds long-lost dreams

of flint, fog, footpath;
dark spruce and blue-black
homeward waters.

-Kevin Macneil Brown

Saturday, October 05, 2013

October (watercolor painting)

OCTOBER- Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor and graphite on paper, 2013.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sandpiper Summer

 Late summer now, and it seems that each of my running journeys makes its way to a shore: hard-packed mud or pebbled bar along the Winooski River; sandy urban beaches along Lake Champlain at Burlington. And in these places I keep meeting up with the sandpiper—that fleet, long-legged shorebird with plumage the pale, summer-washed gray and sandy dun of distant ocean beaches, that pealing ripple of song as the bird runs, feet wet, wings lifted up and held back, along the light-silvered shore.
 I’ve come to feel a connection with the sandpiper this summer. I, too, have been solitary and shore-exploring, drawn to liminal places: meetings of water, land, moving light.
And as the summer reaches fullness and ripening, I feel the sense of something finished, of movement on— no, toward— a different horizon.
  The time alone has been time well-spent—long runs for meditation, contemplation, motion, memory. This has fed the work I’ve made: the long sound art composition THE HARBOR AT DAWN, the series of Lake Champlain watercolor paintings that began with sketches made beginning last summer and that I finished this week. I feel myself carrying a sense of completion; of deep, deep feelings recognized, engaged with, and acted upon-- with focus and discipline; with patience, effort, and love.

 Also, all that time for reading. Just enough band practices, gigs, shifts at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, and dinners with Robin to keep me from total isolation. I am grateful to have gone deep this summer. I have come out different.

 There is still a sense of uncertainty about major things ahead—domicile in particular. But the school year begins anew in less than two weeks, and I look forward to the intensity of middle school energy. There are lots of gigs on the near horizon, and singing and playing steel guitar with the great musicians I have the privilege to work with is an utter joy. And my creative decks are cleared for beginning draft three of Dutra mystery novel number 4, with first-readers’ notes compiled and partially contemplated—ready to roll sometime in the fall.

  Back now, to that late-summer sandpiper, running on hard-packed sand alongside blue-green water. The breaking white of small waves;  a hazed August sky above.  A ringing call rises, sounding above the white noise of those waves. The shorebird runs, wings swept back, held high, now lifting, lifting--lifted…

 Journal entry and watercolor sketch by KMB, August 2013.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Ask the Morning

ASK THE MORNING, 1, 2, and 3 
Paintings by Kevin Macneil Brown watercolor on paper, Summer 2013.

The idea behind the ASK THE MORNING series is simple: Drink some coffee, do some morning reading and contemplation. Gather paint, paper, water, brushes. Go outside and begin painting, going along with whatever wants to arrive.- KMB

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eastern Sky, 5:45 AM, 7/21/13

   Eastern Sky, 5:45 AM, 7/21/13.
     Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper

This morning's dawn sky was worth the early coffee. No camera, so I had to paint it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

the harbor at dawn (new music)

In the past few days I have been putting finishing touches on a new long-form soundwork composition entitled the harbor at dawn.
This, the first section, was made with steel guitar, Lexicon Jam Man (for long delay/repeats/layering), and lap top. I was thinking of the steel guitar as a string ensemble, and I sought to find and share the quiet energies of a shoreline dawn.
The complete work will be released in August. Thanks for listening!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hawk on a Hill

 From all the way across the river, in the hazy green/gold  light of a June evening, a stirring sight and sound: High, high on the ridge above Hill Street, from a bare tree above lush green woods, lone sharp-shinned hawk calling, a  slow keer-keer-keer.
 That sound, I think, should not be heard so clearly across such distance; but the elevation/altitude seems to have set it loose to ring and echo.
 Now, a week later, I find that there is something in this event that has stayed with me, surfacing in my deepest meditations, my contemplations of all that is possible.

     -Journal entry and watercolor sketch by kmb, June 2013.

Monday, May 27, 2013

rust/rose/violet- music and watercolor sketch

                    A soundscape/color-field piece for  steel guitar, looping device, and laptop. As with last summer's VIRIDIAN WAVES, the idea was to create a meditation on color/light rendered in sound.The accompanying watercolor sketch was made while I listened to the final mix. -KMB


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eastern Sky, 5:40 AM, 5/19/13 (watercolor painting.)

                                                   Eastern Sky, 5:40  AM, 5/19/13 
                                  painting by Kevin Macneil Brown, watercolor on paper.

 Tired from a week busy with music and more, I almost slept in this Sunday morning. But birdsong and a glimpse of the sky pulled me out of bed to paint.  Even before the coffee was ready I was outside in the cool morning, paint, brushes, water, and paper ready. I worked very quickly, mixing from a three-color palette-- paint was flying everywhere. When I was finished, the coffee was ready.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Bluets below
Broadwings above

The journey flowing
southeast with wind in spruce

and coltsfoot open
mud-flecked gold
my prayer flag.

-Kevin Macneil Brown


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mountains, Sky, Water; Early Spring.

Mountains, Sky, Water--Early Spring-   Painting by Kevin Macneil Brown,
                   watercolor on paper, 2013.

Here is my first painting for this spring. My thoughts and energies have been spending a lot of time in the season's marge--contrast, color, shadow, light.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sonic Tenebrae

   Photograph by  kmb.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Secret Shadowed Geographies of the Triple-neck Steel Guitar.

February has been a good month for exploring the joys of playing triple-neck steel guitar, using all three necks-- in C6, A6, and E13 tunings.
The two pieces here could not be further apart in mood and style, yet were made using the same instrument,  recorded only days apart.
I have found it exciting to feel the harmonic possibilites of all three necks-- extended chords and lovely dissonances.
This first piece is an improvisation recorded in one pass, and then mixed and sound-smeared right away, to keep a unity of mood and intent:

This next is a straight-forward tribute to my favorite western swing steel player, Noel Boggs, who played with Bob Wills, Space Cooley, and others in the 40s and 50s: As you can hear, the steel guitar has many sounds and moods to express! -KMB

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Black River, White Pines, Winter 1974 : Improv. for Dobro and Nashville-tuned guitar.

This early-morning improv. for Dobro and Nashville-tuned acoustic guitar was made in one take. It stirred up the memory of a certain time and place, the story and mood that was there...

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

And then we were awake...

And then we were awake in a world that was, if not new, certainly noticeably changed.

We began to notice the elegant symmetries of shapes and shadows in the motions of water, sky, and landforms. We heard all around us, as the sky filled, the music of migration, its massive vibration.

 In our hearts we began to know just how everything pulsed in waves of delight-- crest and trough, crest and trough; That every locus of change was pure opportunity:  for reflection, communion, renewal, and light.

                                                                -Kevin Macneil Brown