Last night Blues Musicians gathered at Black & Blue in Easton, Pennsylvania.  The Todd Wolfe / Rob Fraser Blues Jam lives on!

Scott Bones Ward and Bill DeHart

The first night at a new venue is always a bit shaky.  Fortunately, there’s a wide ledge for the paintings to dry on (somewhat safely).  The tables are terribly small.  I might switch to working in a large sketchbook instead of dip pen and tube watercolors.

Less than twenty blocks away from Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant, it is a different crowd.  I like variety and new inspiration.  I also like the healthier food and better ales.  I don’t, however, like the higher prices.  There is a trade off in every choice.

It was a great night.  Four lovely ladies crammed around a tiny, round table, laughing and enjoying the music.  What could be better?

Sketch: drawn first with ink using dip pen, followed by washes of watercolor

I’m looking forward to painting at the Blues Jam tomorrow evening.  It has been a difficult week.

Todd Wolfe, Roger Voss and Rob Fraser, Feb.8.2011

I looked again at a painting I did a couple of weeks ago.  Though the shapes in the center of the painting are rather odd and non-descriptive they work well to move my eye back to the drummer, Roger Voss.  When I am painting these little ink and watercolor sketches I’m not thinking about why I am doing anything that I do, I’m simply responding to the energy of the musicians and their bodies as they move back and forth on stage.  The next morning, when I view the collection of paintings done the night before, I often find interesting elements within them such as the center section of this one.

There are a couple of things going on that make it work.  The shape of Rob’s guitar in the foreground is the largest, the colors a bit neutralized, conveying an object turned slightly away from the light and allowing my eye to be attracted to the smaller, brighter shapes behind the guitar. These are Roger’s drums.  It appears that the light is hitting the drums more directly.  I’m not sure what the small green shape is but I love the way it is slightly yellow toward the drums and turns to a blue green as it leads my eye all the way back to Roger.  The shapes zig-zag back to Roger while the figures of Todd and Rob keep my eyes from straying left or right.

I find the green surprisingly refreshing, perhaps because there is not too much of it.

There was magic in the air last night. The moon was full and the man in shades at the toll booth was born to play the saxophone.

J B playing the blues at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant

Perhaps it was the full moon lunar eclipse, perhaps it was that I was so happy to be back at the Tuesday night Blues Jam after missing two weeks due to travel and surgery.  Maybe it was because the musicians are so damn good.  Maybe it’s because I absolutely love to paint to live music.  The dip pen danced across the paper.  The brush dipped into a bit of peacock blue and teased the ink and the other colors as it traveled along the boundaries of lines and strokes.

Todd Wolfe playing at Larry Holmes Ringside Blues Jam

Chas Cochran playing harp at Larry Holmes Ringside Blues Jam


Todd starts the evening off every Tuesday night at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant.

Todd Wolfe, Jim Ruffi and Rob Frazier, Blues Jam, November 30, 2010

Driving straight to Easton from the prop shop rather than stopping at home first enabled me to arrive a bit earlier.  I was able to get set up in time to paint Todd playing.  He does a great job mixing and matching the musicians throughout the evening.

Todd Wolfe, Watercolor Portrait

I had forgotten this little gem.

Making a line shimmy and shake

I think this little ink drawing was done during a Zumba class.  Line is, for me, the most expressive mark I make and dancing bodies bring out the best in me.  I continue to strive for this kind of vitality in my paintings.

Tonight is the weekly Blues Jam at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.  Mike and Monica are flying up from Florida this morning and will join me at the Blues Jam.  I think they will love the music and the dance floor.  Not only will I get to paint the musicians tonight, I will have the opportunity to paint Mike and Monica dancing.  They are both awesome dancers.  I don’t think my fountain pen will do them justice.  I think it’s a night for the dip pen.

Tuesday night kicked off the new, weekly Blues Jam at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA!

Doc Z, Rob Fraser, Rich Frikkers and John Greenaway

What a fabulous night, seeing old friends, meeting new ones, listening to the blues all night long!  The venue is great, providing me with plenty of room to paint, windowsills for paintings to dry on and a great dance floor.  And yes….. the hip is in excellent dancing condition.

A bit rusty at first, I fell into the rhythm of the evening, my fountain pen gliding over the watercolor paper and my brush happily dancing in the glob of burnt umber paint.  Towards the end of the evening I dabbed at the ultramarine blue just a bit.  The decision to paint only with Burnt Umber had been made as I packed my supplies at home.

The Blues Jam is expected to be a successful, weekly event.  I will be there as often as I possibly can.  A few of each weeks’ painting efforts will be posted here.  The rest of the paintings will be added to my Flickr photos.  Let me know if this link gets you to the collections of my paintings sorted by media and/or subject.  Click on the “musicians” set to see the paintings done at the Blues Jam along with other paintings of musicians.  You can also get to my Flickr photos by clicking on the link on the right side of the blog.

Watercolor Portrait of guitarist John Greenaway

Watercolor Sketch of Musician Will Kiss

Kenny Siftar, Rob Fraser, Glenn, Chas Cochran

It turns out that Chas not only is an awesome musician, he is also quite good at promoting art!