Dolores O’Riordan, a Voice Sorely Missed
Like so many others coming of age in the 1990s, Dolores O’Riordan & the music of The Cranberries had a large impact on me. Her use of traditional keening & lilting voice – this introduced me to vocal sound I hadn’t yet been privy to. The Cranberries were more than just a band to me, at that point they were a soundtrack to my life. Oftentimes I would imitate singing in her style (though I was frightfully far from it.) That didn’t matter, it brought me joy. And in times of sadness her voice and their sound was comforting.
On hearing of her death in 2018, I was truly saddened. It was as though another chapter of that era came to a close. There was much more song left in her, I’m sure.
It’s been a longtime wish of mine to pay tribute to her in the best way I know how. I am a portrait artist, so I decided to create a portrait which encapsulates the essence of who she was.
My piece uses reference from a common photo found online, turned into a fantasy. In this image we see Dolores in an ephemeral light.
She looks as though she could be just passing us by. We catch a glimpse of her through an ancient stone archway. A wide open expanse of land is behind her, seemingly endless and non-descript.
Bells of Ireland reach up triumphantly from the ground and ivy winds its way up the stone, tenaciously clinging its tendrils. Like her legacy, which remains strong.
Light from the setting sun pours over her head and shoulders, and through the archway, like a golden, heavenly veil. Colors from the sky draw the viewer towards Dolores’ slight gaze. She sees the viewer, and they see her, for a brief moment.
It was my intention to create as best a likeness as possible, and to include references to her native Ireland as well. My portraits are meant to tell a story. I hope that even if the viewer is not familiar with the subject, that they can still feel the essence of what the portrait is about.
With the utmost respect for Dolores, her family, and bandmates, I hope this portrait embodies the emotion their music brings to others.
I have tried (unsuccessfully) to contact the band, as I would like to mail a copy of this to them/her family. If anyone has information about that please let me know!
This portrait has two finished parts. I often work in this two-step method when I draw with traditional materials. Firstly, a fully fleshed out grayscale drawing is done in graphite. After that is completed it is scanned, and digitally painted using an app called Procreate. Utilizing a digital method to add color allows the original art to stay in tact should color changes need to be made. It also gives one an option of black and white or color.
Another Nod to Dolores O’Riordan
In 2019 I was working on an illustrated autobiography which is part of the Brooklyn Art Library’s: The Sketchbook Project. In this tale of my life with Multiple Sclerosis, endometriosis, chronic pain, and working as an artist and mother, I included a snippet dedicated to Dolores.
This page is a direct look into my teenage years. A letter is being burnt in a field, floral icons surround the scene. The feeling is one of letting go – something difficult to do as a young person. Daffodils (for the song Daffodil Lament) and asters (for her birth month) in this drawing are homage to Dolores.
About the Artist
Hello, I’m Deanna. Creating little worlds is all I want to do.
I spend my days in my illustration studio, surrounded by herbs and antique curiosities, in rural Pennsylvania. I enjoy many interesting adventures with my husband, daughter, and Shmoop, the “Office Cat.”
Since I was a young child, I’ve been creating. Some of my earliest memories are of drawing historic clothing, making fairy tale paper dolls, and designing my own “book covers.”
The work I make is influenced heavily by my affinity for historic eras: Color palettes, patterns, textures, architecture, typography – the list goes on. From Medieval to Mid-Century, I love it all.
If you don’t want to miss anything, follow IG: #deannameyer for illustration and vintage musings. I’m an artist, herbalist, and mother with Multiple Sclerosis & Endometriosis.
I’m also an official artist of the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project.