As an artist, one of the biggest challenges is being flexible yet disciplined about my priorities.

Justine Gardner playing bass at the Blues Jam

I want to thank all the musicians who take the time to come out to Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant for the Tuesday Night, Todd Wolfe Blues Jam to play three songs, sometimes but not always having the opportunity to play one or two more.  For me, listening to you, watching you, laughing with you and painting you makes that challenge of balancing the rest of my life so much easier.

painting: drawn first in black ink with a dip pen, followed by strokes of watercolor using a simple, primary palette of yellow, blue and red.

The Tuesday Night Blues Jam must not end!  Please come out to support the musicians!

Alex Wolfson, Ben Clowers and Rob Fraser

As always, it was a great night at the Blues Jam.  Rumor has it that it might have been the last night.  That is ridiculous.  We can’t let that happen.  I don’t care if the weather is miserably hot and sticky.  Grab your instruments and your dancing shoes and get yourself to the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.  You will not be sorry.

I’ll have a free drawing for a matted painting every Tuesday from now on to encourage attendance.

Painting: drawn first in ink with dip pen, followed by washes of watercolor.

I felt like I was painting on blotter paper and not liking it.  Rather than pack up and feel miserable, I kept going and the magic began to happen.

Chad Wynn playing guitar at the Blues Jam

I should know better than to paint on scraps of mat board.  Watercolor paper works so much better when using ink.  I experimented with blue ink and red ink last night in addition to my usual black ink. When I opted to stick with it for a while longer, I switched to a more flexible pen point and dipped into the last few drops of my black ink.  This painting of Chad Wynn turned the evening around and I ended up with a few gems.

Drawn first with black ink using a dip pen, followed by washes of watercolor.

Tuesday Night, Todd Wolfe Blues Jam at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.

After the politicians packed up their pamphlets and cleared their tables away, the Blues Jam began.  Unfortunately, several musicians left after being told the jam was canceled due to the political gathering.  Just goes to show you can’t trust a politician!

Bill Lance, Wayne, George Kokolis, the horn section

This painting of the horn section is my favorite from Tuesday night’s  paintings.  I am trying to experiment a bit more with the ink lines as well as adding spots of color.  The brass of the trumpet and saxophones allows me to take advantage of the high key value of yellows against the dark value of the blues and purples, making the trumpet shape really pop.

My method remains the same.  I begin with a dip pen using black ink and follow with strokes of watercolor.

Whew!  Thanks to the help of a dear friend, the 54 small paintings of musicians are now matted, framed, dust covers attached, and wired for hanging.  What a relief.  An additional 22 paintings are matted and slipped into clear bags.  They will be in a portfolio stand.

Rob Fraser and Roger Voss

The opening at Connexions Gallery in Easton, PA will be on April 16th at 7 pm. My hope is that the musicians I have painted will come to the exhibit and see what a fabulous inspiration they are.  The paintings are, in my mind, a collaboration between me and the musicians.  The passion for rhythms expressed through sound and the energy of all the people in the room responding to those sounds are the driving force behind my lines and brushstrokes.  The marks on the paper are my expression of those moments.

Ray Higgins, Steve, Joe Mac

On Sunday, May 15th at 2pm I will be giving an artist’s talk at the gallery.  I hope many of the musicians come out for both events.  Almost all of the paintings were done during the Todd Wolfe Blues Jam at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA during the last four months.  Unfortunately, Todd just left for a two month European tour last Wednesday and will miss the exhibit.

Both of the images posted above started with dip pen, black ink line drawings followed by strokes of watercolor allowed to blend wet in wet on the paper.

Painting and live music, especially when experienced together help me to maintain my balance.

Guitarist Jake Heck playing at the Blues Jam

The ink and watercolor wash portrait of Jake is my favorite painting from last night’s Blues Jam at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.

Roberto, always an inspiration

It felt like an off-night for me.  I was a bit disconnected with my hand.  On nights like that, I try to use slightly different techniques and colors, hoping to open up new doors for myself.  I don’t mind when a drawing doesn’t work well when I am experimenting.  It takes the focus away from my mental state of distraction.

The experimental mixing of colors in the portrait of Roberto worked fairly well and brought a smile to my face.  Roberto continues to be a wonderful visual inspiration for me.  Thank you, Roberto!

Yesterday’s prediction of bad weather resulted in a smaller than usual turnout last night at the Blues Jam.

Two Guitars a drum and two saxophones

The music, of course, proved well worth the risk of battling snow on the way home.  Having a shortage of musicians allowed those who came to play more.  George Kokolis and Bill Lance came and treated us to a saxophone duo through most of the night, joining the various groupings of musicians that Todd Wolfe puts together.

George Kokolis and Bill Lance on Saxophone

Drawn first with dip pen and black ink, followed by washes of watercolor.

 

For a change of pace I added a few of the folks who come to listen to the musicians at the Tuesday Night Blues Jam.

Lisa Parry listening to the blues

I couldn’t resist Lisa’s beautiful profile and awesome haircut!

Blues Jam at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant, Easton, PA

Todd Wolfe and Rob Fraser are the musicians in the background.  Lisa Parry is off to the right; only her glass is in the painting.

J B, Rob Fraser and Rich Frikkers

As always, it was a great night for painting.  I’m tumbling into bed now at 1:13.  I will sleep well, with a smile on my face thanks to the many musicians who turn out on Tuesday Nights to play the Blues.  Thank you!

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

 

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!