The Unbroken Story: Why My Painting is on an Album Cover

11 January, 2020 1 comments Leave a comment

Unbroken CD by Terry Posthumous, cover artwork by Karen Richardson

My ‘Unbroken’ image was licensed last year for an album cover (shown above) by Canadian singer/songwriter Terry Posthumus. The long, happy journey of how this happened began about 18 months ago, thanks to Facebook.

The story of this series of events also is an excellent example of how I use Facebook and Instagram to spread awareness of my artwork, which often leads to new homes for my paintings.

Karen Richardson with her stone circle watercolour in progress

In August of 2018. I made a Facebook/Instagram post of the photo above, showing me in my studio holding a painting in progress, with the following caption:

"I started a new watercolour painting this week, based on striped stones from my own collection (note the vases of pebbles on my window sill). I'm so lucky to be able to make art in a beautiful bright studio overlooking a field of corn here in Lindsay, Ontario. Life is good. Cheers to all."

Two days later, I posted these photos with the caption:

Karen Richardson with completed stone circle watercolour   Karen Richardson's completed stone circle watercolour

"Finished today. Watercolour 12 x 12"
I love it! Let me know your suggestions for a great title. So far I like:
The Same But Different
Stone Soul Circle
The Ties That Bind
Eternity Ring"

I had an excellent response from my Facebook friends, and was contacted by someone who wanted to buy the painting. A few days later I responded to my followers:

"I appreciate all the thoughtful title suggestions everyone suggested. I made note of over 30 good ones to use on future paintings. The title I selected for this piece is Circle of Kindred Spirits, which was suggested by the buyer of this painting. I like this title because it is welcoming and symbolic of positive energy, and it refers to a common bond shared by members of a community. Just like all of us on this Facebook post are bound together by art. Cheers to all."

One of the other title ideas I especially liked was 'Unbroken', suggested by one of my watercolour students who follows me on Facebook. I decided to use this title on my next stone circle painting. About a week later, I posted the new work in progress:

Karen Richardson with Unbroken stone circle watercolour in progress

"I have more stone circle watercolour paintings in the works. These are such fun. (OK, I'm a confessed rockaholic.) Here I am in my sunny Lindsay studio, surrounded by my pebble collection - on the window sill, and arranged into circles in the foreground. The painting I am working on is titled 'Unbroken', a title suggested by my Facebook friend Pauline Shortall-Shenton for a previous stone circle painting. I love the red/gray colour scheme in this one. I'll show you when it is finished. Cheers everyone and have a great day."

The next day I posted the finished painting photo and caption:

Karen Richardson with her watercolour painting Unbroken

"Unbroken, watercolour 12 x 12". I finished this painting today, the second piece in my Stone Circle series, inspired by my own collection of pebbles. I love the way Unbroken turned out. The stones are a metaphor for the common bond shared by humanity. We are one."

The post included this close up photo below with the caption:
"Unbroken, watercolour 12 x 12". I love the way it turned out. I used actual pebbles from my collection as reference for this painting. Thanks to Pauline Shortall-Shenton for the title."

Unbroken, watercolour by Karen Richardson

A week later I received a private message through Facebook from Terry Posthumous. I was acquainted with Terry from when I lived in Port Perry and knew he was a musician and guitar instructor. He knew my artwork from when he used to work at Framer's Gallery and make frames for my Doors of Port Perry posters.

"Hello Karen. I would be interested in chatting with you about using your, "Unbroken" painting as the cover for my soon-to-be-released EP entitled, "Catharsis". Are you open to chatting about this? Peace."

I responded in the affirmative and, over the next several months Terry and I discussed, researched and drafted a non-exclusive rights managed license agreement, which was signed in early January 2019.

This type of contract meant I was able to sell the original painting to anyone, and also make and sell print reproductions of the Unbroken image. I had the painting photographed by a professional photographer to make a very high resolution image.

I made this post at the end of January 2019:

Unbroken CD cover held by Terry Posthumus

"I have some amazing news. My painting 'Unbroken' will be on the cover of "Catharsis", Terry Posthumus's new record, which is expected to arrive on March 29, 2019. This is the first time I have licensed an image for the music industry and am thrilled that this well-respected Canadian singer songwriter chose my artwork for his international release.
"Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, Terry Posthumus is an innovative Canadian artist, activist and speaker. Terry is known for lyrics that are introspective, inspirational and insightful. His gravelly voice and his command of his instrument has captivated audiences near and far - with performances that have been described as “root-sy”, engaging and delightful. His passion for life, love, family, faith and justice is woven into the very fabric of his songs and stories. Through story and song, Terry delivers a powerful message of grace, hope, mercy, peace and love."
'Unbroken' also is available as custom art prints on paper, canvas, wood, metal, and acrylic in a variety of sizes, from my print-on-demand publisher FineArtAmerica."

The album of gospel songs written and performed by Terry was released originally under the 'Catharsis' title, but he liked the title of my painting so much that he quickly changed the album title to 'Unbroken'. Here is the back of the CD package:

Unbroken CD by Terry Posthumus

Then, Terry emailed me with more good news:

"Hi there. Would you be interested in doing a combined Art Show/CD Release concert with me? I would like to introduce you to my world and talk about how this happened. I was thinking the last weekend of March... BTW, I want to buy the original."

Unbroken release concert March 2019

I attended the album release dinner concert party at Nestleton Waters Inn (shown above), made a speech about the origin and symbolism of my Unbroken painting, and had a display of my artwork there.

Part of my speech said: "This painting is the second in my Stone Circle series, inspired by my collection of smooth striped stones. This circle symbolizes unity and the stripes represent the common bond that connects all of us, no matter what colour, size, shape, or orientation we might be. My hope is that the people of this earth focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us."

Terry spoke about how my painting appealed to him as soon as he saw it on Facebook the previous year. He said he had 14 children (11 surviving) and there are 14 stones in my Unbroken painting, so it represented family to him. He loves stones, and the way they each have different shapes, sizes, and colours in the painting made him think of the different passions, personalities, and life paths of his children.The line connecting the stones symbolized his hope to spend eternity with his kids. He also noted how a watercolour painting is constructed in transparent layers, just like he builds the audio tracks on his record, so a picture emerges over time.

It was a wonderful evening of music and stories, presented to a sold out house. Terry gave me a deposit that night after the concert, towards the acquisition of my Unbroken painting.

The album went on to become an unprecedented international success for Terry. In February he posted this about a single from Unbroken called Time and Again:

Time and Again single by Terry Posthumus

In May he posted about another single from the Unbroken album that was being played worldwide:

Mercy single by Terry Poshumus

I am so pleased that my artwork played a small part in the continued success of a fellow Canadian artist. I love it when artists support artists! You can find out more about Terry and listen to his music at

Last October, after I returned from our summer exploring Newfoundland, Terry and his wife came to my studio to pick up his painting. Terry mentioned that his Unbroken album had been entered in a national music award competition and he would let me know if he made the short list. Here is a photo his wife took of Terry and me in my studio. Terry is a lovely person - very calm, caring, and kind. He has a big heart to match his tall stature.

Karen Richardson and Terry Posthumus Oct 2019

Terry posted this photo of the painting hung in his Oshawa music studio. I can't think of a more fitting home for this piece of art:

Unbroken painting at Terry Posthumus studio

In November, Terry let me know the fantastic news that his Unbroken album had garnered three official nominations from the Gospel Music Association of Canada. Here is my Facebook post with the details:

"Hello friends

I am honoured and thrilled to let you know that my 'Unbroken' image was licensed earlier this year for an album cover by Canadian singer/songwriter Terry Posthumus, and the album is now one of five nominees for 'Album Artwork Design Of The Year' in the 41st Annual Covenant Awards, presented by the Gospel Music Association of Canada.

Terry's 'Unbroken' album also has been nominated for 'Country / Southern Gospel Album Of The Year' and his single 'Time and Again' has been nominated for 'Country / Southern Gospel Song Of The Year'.

Congratulations Terry on this landmark achievement and I hope you win all three awards. Thank you for the opportunity to showcase my artwork to an international audience.

Pinch me, somebody...😁🍁❤️👍"

Gospel Music Assoc nomination for Unbroken album artwork

Winners will be announced at the 41st annual Covenant Awards at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC in March. I will let you know what happens.

And that is the story of how one of my Stone Circle paintings became an album cover. That reminds me, I have more stone circles to paint!

Click here for details about art prints of Karen's Unbroken image.

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  1. Namaji January 14, 2020

    Congratulations Karen! What a beautiful story to share with us. With gratitude for your authentic creativity and all those it touches.