Drawing Pictures – 2003

Drawing-Pictures-LacingThis is the story of Emerson and Iris, father and daughter, growing up together. The song was started in 1983, and finished 16 years later.

When the kids were young, most evenings after dinner, Em sat at the dining room table doing office work. After a while, Iris would invariably get out of bed, and sneak down the stairs to quietly visit with him. He usually let her stay for a while to draw pictures, however, only after first feigning reluctance. It was a little game they played. During those late night visits, he began to see that he was working too hard, distancing himself from the family.

Around the same time frame, he began reading and learning more about his creative qualities—aspects that he felt were lacking, hidden or even covered over by his striving. He wanted a different relationship with Cheryl and the kids, one that was more sensitive and caring. Little Iris, unknowingly (or so it seemed) started to jog this into his awareness with her secret visits one night at a time.

Some 16 years later, Iris has grown into a young woman. Emerson grew increasingly more weary and sad about their lost time together. Shortly after she had gone away to college and the house seemed so quiet and lonely, we picked up the partially finished song and completed it together.


Just another day
No different than any other one
Hours slip away with the setting sun

Just another night
No different than any other one
Shadows cross the light
Our evening visit has just begun
It has just begun

Sneaking down the staircase and creeping ‘cross the floor
Looking ‘round the door case a little more
I glance across the table to catch her eyes in mine
I stare and then I smile and I start with my line
Start with my line

“Iris sit down at the table
Draw me a picture of you
Stay long enough ‘till I’m
Drawing pictures too”

Maybe I’ve been working here too long
Well I’ll draw a friend of mine
Come on make it quick then run along
But drawing friends will take some time…time…time
Take your time

I thought I gave her some time
I set aside a precious moment of mine
Was it by chance or by design

She gave me an hour as long as a day
She thought she’d draw close then go on her way
She knew exactly what I would say
I secretly wished that she would stay
I wished that she would stay

Maybe in your night time you’ve seen a child or two
Sneaking down the staircase and looking at you
Keep a pad of paper and a pencil by the chair
You never know when someone might spend some time there
Spend some time there

Children sit down at the table
Draw us a picture of you
Stay long enough ‘till we’re
Drawing pictures too

Just another night
No different than any other one
Time to turn off the light our work is done

She gave me a hug
Then slipped away so quietly
She left the picture and I noticed
The friend she drew looked a bit like me
It looked a lot like me
A lot like me


From Never Sleep, track released 01 January 2003
Cheryl Martlage – Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage – Music, guitar and vocals
Tom Tomasello – Producer/Arranger
Jim Bruno – Vocal producer
Mr Toad’s San Francisco – Mastering
Inspiration – Iris

Music – Drawing Pictures 1983

Following is a recording of the song as it was originally written some two decades before it was finally rewritten and recorded in 2003.