I finally made it to the Raven’s Nest Blues Jam in Quakertown, PA.  Turned out to be a quiet night. In

spite of icy roads, snow and wild deer running in front of the car, Arne delivered me safely to the venue and home again.

Rob Fraser at Raven's Nest

I enjoyed seeing friends I’ve missed since heading East to the Grisly Pear instead of West to the Lehigh Valley for my fix of late night tavern painting during Blues Jams.

Portrait of Rob Fraser: drawn first with dip pen using Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses Ink followed by watercolor.

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.

Great to be back at the Blues Jam.

Rob Fraser, Blues Jam July 19, 2011

Before my pen touched the paper it already announced itself on the paper by dropping a splot of ink on it.  I hesitated for a second or two deciding whether or not to discard the paper.  Laughing at myself for even imagining that a splot was a problem I continued.  It ended up being my favorite painting of the evening.  I need a bit of simplicity in my life right now.

Ink and watercolor sketch on Arches Watercolor Paper. Painted during the Tuesday Night, Todd Wolfe Blues Jam at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.  If you are in the area on a Tuesday night, check it out.

During the last eight months I never focused on the reflections of the musicians in the stage floor.  They screamed at me last night, begging for attention.

Maria Woodfore, Todd Wolfe and Rob Fraser

The night inspired eighteen paintings.  I find it difficult to pick a favorite this time around.  If I have to limit it to two, I will choose the portrait of young, Mike Lefton and the painting of Bill Lance playing saxophone.  I love the simplicity of both.

Portrait of Mike Lefton at the Blues Jam

Bill Lance playing saxophone at the Tuesday Night Blues Jam

I’m thinking that I should try the same approach with a landscape to see what happens.  I think, without the music, the lines and the color will not spill onto the paper.  I’m visiting a dear friend in Ashville next week.  I might be bold and give it a try. A new environment always makes change a little easier.

Paintings: drawn first in black ink with dip pen, followed by watercolor washes.

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.

Neither of these two portraits look like the musicians they are meant to be, but I find them full of life and the energy of the evening.

Maria Woodford

Rather than capturing Maria’s features, I became enchanted by watching the bleed of the colors.

Rob Fraser singing the Blues

Rob is always fun to watch and to paint.  Again, I was carried away by the play of colors and the bleeding of the ink into the colors.

Paintings drawn in with black ink using a dip pen, followed by watercolor washes.