I should have been at a jam, painting my friends making music together.  Instead, I was at ArtWalk in downtown Bethlehem on Memorial Day Weekend (when everyone has left town) in the middle of a thunderstorm.  Sitting outside with one’s art is not the best choice in the pouring rain.  Fortunately, I was able to move inside and spend a couple of ours catching up with a good friend, Gayle, who was minding the shop at Artfully Elegant.  Thanks to Gayle, I didn’t go home and slit my throat.

When I find myself at the end of a rope ….. any rope ….. I tell myself that the answer to my problem is simply to get better at what I do.

New and old drawing tools

The trumpet parts had not lined up well in Trumpet Parts No. 87.  First thing this morning, I made myself a grid guide (inspired by the one I saw in Nikolay’s hand at a plein air event last month).  I carefully drew the bent trumpet part, checking and correcting…. checking and correcting. I even hunted down two erasers.  I rarely use an eraser.  Hah!  The parts lined up! I’m sure you can’t tell in this photo.  I incuded my Waterman Phileas fountain pen, and the great leather case (contribution from Nicole), in the photo because it’s about to make its mark on the paper.  Hopefully I haven’t destroyed the surface too much with all my erasures.  I’m not used to drawing in pencil first …. then inking.  I much prefer to start right in with ink and go where my eye leads me, even if it’s down a winding, nonsensical path.

As I near the end of this series of One Hundred Drawings of Trumpet Parts I am faced with a dilemma. A little voice inside my head continues to whisper “Do what you love and the money will come.”  Do what I love?  Should I start another 100 drawings of my bent trumpet parts?

What do I love to draw and paint?  I love drawing dancers in motion, musicians playing …. alone or with others ….. I love throwing paint and bringing nude figures out of the splotches and splatters …. I love plein air painting.  I love starting the day with an ink contour drawing of my bent trumpet parts and adding color with watercolor.

What do I love the most?  Right now I would have to say that it is painting to live music …. letting my dip pen dance across the paper and the watercolor flow over the ink to the patterns and rhythm of the music.  Is there a market for such a thing?  I doubt it.

What I find absurd is that all the other drawing and painting I do is just an exercise to get better at drawing and painting so that I can respond completely intuitively to that incredible moment of motion, rhythms and patterns I experience when listening to live music.

A huge thanks to all the musicians who have created those magical moments for me to attempt to express.

I didn’t really care about selling paintings last night at ArtWalk, I just wanted to share them with friends and strangers.  Of the two people who walked by, one of them made it worth the week of matting and the lugging back and forth of the art.  She looked at the paintings and said ” How strange ….. when I look at these, I actually hear the music.”  She pointed to one ….. “I can hear the jazz of New Orleans in this one!”

Thank you!

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