The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.
He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle. His boots were up to the thigh.
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.
Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.
He turned. He spurred to the west; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shouting a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high.
Blood red were his spurs in the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat;
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with a bunch of lace at his throat.
Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
Third of three images done turning summer.
I first heard about the poem thanks to Loreena McKennitt's song more than 12 years ago (you can listen it here: [link]
). The music just enchanted me and when I listened the lyrics.. I was even more amazed - the story, the tragedy and the sadness. Anyway, from that time on, it has been one of my favorite songs and I always wanted to bring my vision of it into digital canvas but I never dared (as I have proven myself so many times: when I care about something too much and other people do not like it, I take it too hard. So I try to avoid using songs that mean very much to me as an inspiration). I do not know why, but turning a rainy day in the summer.. I just decided: now it is the time for "Highwayman". I found the most perfect stock for the highway man and it was pure fun of working on the rider. The background gave me much more trouble. I first tried little stream the rider was riding trough but it never seemed to work and the shot looked there to be to the trees, not aimed to anyone. So I reworked the background for what you can see now - the lonely abandoned dirty road in the middle of the nowhere.. ghostly moonlight shining from the cold clear sky.. autumn leaves flying in the wind.. the dust rising from the chase.. I wanted the image to be like a frozen frame from a chase.. like there is horse running in high speed.. there is the rider shooting to the pursuers and the exact moment of shot is recorded: it was huge fun to work on the smoke around that old pistol. Challenge but fun. I wanted to catch the anger the highwayman had.. Specially the part of the lyrics: "Back, he spurred like a madman, shouting a curse to the sky".. it was inspirational, trying to catch that emotion.
I am very proud with the result (and as my sister mentioned: first image where there is only male model). I love the cold feeling of the moonlight and that yellow vibrant sparks around the pistol. I hope you like it. syccas-stock
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