Fare Thee Well


It was the summer between 8th and 9th grade that I bought my first Grateful Dead cassette tape, Wake of the Flood. I guess that would have been in 1985. My old friend, Ben Schmidt, had been sharing some of his records with me around that time too and I was starting to become a bit of a Deadhead. On that first cassette I remember there was a sticker saying “20 Years So Far”. It’s very hard for me to believe I bought that over 30 years ago, and now the Grateful Dead are turning 50 this summer.

Since then, I’ve owned and listened to more Grateful Dead music than I care to admit. I probably listened to them pretty much exclusively (with a little Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath sprinkled in there from time to time. Oh, and Jimi too. Jimi Hendrix was and is still a constant musical companion) up until I discovered Jane’s Addiction. Ha! I guess I was a classic rock geek for a long time there. I saw my first Grateful Dead show out in Colorado at 19 years old… And my last show in 1995, although I don’t remember for sure if that last show was in Las Vegas or Salt Lake (the concerts both took place pretty close to each other). In between that first and last show I probably saw them some 30+ times…

Thinking about all this makes me both sad and very happy at the same time. Sorta sad thinking on how fast time goes by, but happy as hell thinking about great memories, good times, and such fantastic music.


I don’t know all of the details, and haven’t seen the footage yet, but from what I understand an artist I’ve sort of followed for close to 15 years helped put together some of the artwork and multimedia that was used during the Fare Thee Well 50th Anniversary concert last night (6/27/15). I guess it was projected behind the stage as the band performed.

Andrew (Android) Jones has kind of made a name for himself over the years with his “live” performance painting (among other things). He’s made artwork for a number of different musicians that gets projected and incorporated. I look forward to seeing what he painted for the Grateful Dead during their show. So cool! It’s been great to watch Jones’ success over the years.

Android also made the artwork at the top of this post to celebrate these farewell/anniversary Grateful Dead shows. If you like the artwork at the top of this post, you can buy it from Android’s website by clicking the link below.



Brokedown Palace
by the Grateful Dead

Fare you well my honey
Fare you well my only true one
All the birds that were singing
Have flown except you alone

Going to leave this broke-down palace
On my hands and my knees I will roll roll roll
Make myself a bed by the waterside
In my time, in my time, I will roll roll roll

In a bed, in a bed
By the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

River gonna take me
Sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy
All the way back back home
It’s a far gone lullaby
Sung many years ago
Mama, mama, many worlds I’ve known
Since I first left home

Going home, going home
By the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

Going to plant a weeping willow
On the banks green edge it will grow grow grow
Sing a lullaby beside the water
Lovers come and go, the river roll roll roll

Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul



“Sphinx” by Todd Powelson

I thought I’d add a couple of quick sketches I did this week of the sphinx. I love drawing her, and am happy with how these look…

“Sphinx” by Todd Powelson

The Fifth World

"The Fifth World" - by Todd Powelson
“The Fifth World” – by Todd Powelson

I may be wrong, but I expect this digital painting might seem kinda strange to some people. With this nude dude running across the piece, and these brightly colored rainbow bodies running uncomfortably close with him… But this painting isn’t about ascension,  as the rainbow body might normally imply. Instead, this piece is showing the descent of the soul/spirit/mind down into a physical body. When I draw, I am sometimes trying to work out through my artwork an idea or philosophy that has been on mind, and this idea of our descent into matter is something I seem to return to again and again (and again!).

I struggled with this piece. I had a number of false starts, one in particular that I spent a lot of time developing, drawing… and I was pretty happy with it… but then, one day while walking, the image above just sort of floated in front of my minds eye and I knew this was it. This was a better expression for the idea, so I started over.

It is usually hard for me to talk about the artwork I make. The picture should say it all, right? Francis Bacon said, “It’s always hopeless to talk about painting – one never does anything but talk around it”. Even though I get his point, I don’t know that I believe it is completely true, so I will try to explain some of what I was thinking the best I can.

In ancient Egypt, there was the idea that the human soul was made up of five different parts. These different parts, when combined with the physical body, are what make up a human being. Now, I don’t think I was literally trying to represent this Egyptian idea, but I am bringing it up because I’m sure this concept was lurking around in the back of my mind while I was drawing. I could see an overlap with what I was creating…

… And I was creating, like I said above, a picture of the soul’s decent into matter and the physical world.

In Asia, it was/is thought there are five different elements that combine and make up everything we see. Of course, in the western tradition we typically only recognize four (earth, water, air, and fire). That missing fifth element is sometimes called wood, sometimes called life, and sometimes called spirit. I represented that spirit in the grey human form that surrounds and encompasses the other colors or “bodies”.

The other colors or “bodies” represent the more physical and classical elements… the elements which literally do create each individual physical body. Red is fire. Fire in the mind, the fire in our heart, electrical and nervous systems. And it shows an external fire too… How does that old song go? “We are stardust, billion year old carbon. Well, I guess we really are…  elements created and forged in star fire, exploded into space and eventually ending up here. The lighter blue body is the air we breathe, the air that circulates through our blood. The darker blue is water and rivers inside each of us. And the main and most obvious running body is the earth… the meat suit. What we tend to see when we look at each other. All of these combine to make us. And the body is running because that is what it’s for. It seems to me that the body is a kind of vehicle that the spirit uses to run around in.

I’m not the greatest writer I know, but that was some of what I was thinking on while I was painting. And all of that is The Fifth World.

You can buy this as a high quality 24″ x 16″ canvas print through my website by visiting www.toddpowelson.com

This is part of my “Songs from the Earth” series, and you can check out the rest of that series by clicking here.

Beautiful Canyon Home For Rent


San Francisco meets Jackson Hole in the heart of Salt Lake City. Located at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, this unique home is like living on an island of wilderness inside the heart of a city. Within a short walk of the new City Creek Center, this quaint cottage is filled with personality and craftsman details.

Stainless appliances and custom built in cabinetry add convenience to any lifestyle. Austrian stairs leading to a cozy loft, vintage brick floors in the dining room, and a clawfoot tub are just a few of the many charming custom characteristics of the home. This home features a pair of bedrooms, bathrooms and patios as well as a single loft, dining room and sauna. Three skylights and south facing bay windows fill your days with sunlight and the location in a tight knit community comes with friendly neighbors, as well.

  • 1800 Square Feet
  • Loft, formal dining and vaulted study
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Pets considered
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This utterly unique Memory Grove home will be available July 1, 2015

123 East 4th Ave., SLC, UT.
Travel to intersection of State and N. Temple, head East. East on N. Temple, which turns to 2nd Avenue after State Street. Take immediate left on Canyon Road. Travel North to 3rd Avenue, continue straight. Travel North to 4th Avenue, turn left. Second house on North side of road. Grey with Orange door.

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