Real L O V E Brent Mydland

Brent Mydland was the keyboard player for the Grateful Dead from1979 to 1990. He died tragically of a drug overdose in 1990.

His song "Blow Away" was often followed with a beautiful improvisational chant about Real Love.

To me, Real love was hearing Brent belt out soulful sermons of heart aches and deep rooted, powerful emotions. 

His voice was like a million hippie angels dusting the air with magic so all you can do is dance

and sing

and feel real love.


I have been making art of Brent Mydland since my fabric portrait journey began in the early 2000's. As an added bonus, last year I found out that just before joining the Grateful Dead, Brent moved into a quonset hut in the hills of my funky neighborhood. He lived on my street, just a few houses up!


Here is a piece I did in 2010, titled "Tangled". It was based on Brent's face and hair. Since this time I have started working a bit smaller.

It felt like time to make a new piece. I had the good fortune of meeting a local tie dye artist, who gave me bits and pieces of her mask making scraps. This turned into the inspiration for Brent's shirt and the little flower in his hair.

His face is made from colored pencil on cotton canvas, the rest is small pieces of fabric that has been dyed with textile paint and stitched together with love.

Real Love

Brent Mydland

Original is 12 x 12 x 1.5

Prints, canvas wraps, posters, stickers and more available here:

If you have a Brent story, I would really LOVE to hear it!!! Please comment or send me a message.

Stay Groovy,


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Karen Payton Art      Ventura County, California