When painting dancers or musicians during a performance there is no time to contemplate what I’m drawing, what colors I’m using or even why I think I can express the energy of the moment in less than a minute with a pen and a brush.  I paint whatever grabs my attention and provides me with a starting point.

Saucon Valley High School Jazz Ensemble

The Saucon Valley High School Jazz Ensemble won second place in the High School Jazz Band competition at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA.  As a reward, they opened for Kevin Eubanks last Friday evening.  I was given a table to paint on at the back of the room giving me front, slightly distant view of the stage.  What I saw was a mass of musicians dressed in black sitting on black chairs behind black music stands.  The only shapes that stood out were the brass instruments as the stage lights struck them and ……. the bright red neckties worn by each of the band members.

Two students, Two trombones, Two red neckties

A little bit of color can go a long way to save the day.

Drawings: drawn first with dip pen followed by watercolor

I have updated the pages showing the directions for Step Five of Color Wheels Three And Four.

Step Five, Color Wheel Four

Link to Directions for Color Wheel Three

Link to Directions for Color Wheel Four

I omitted a step in this morning’s directions for painting the Warm Blue segments of Color Wheels Three and Four.

Mixing value for middle ring of Warm Blue Segment

Please check the corrected directions:

Link to directions for Color Wheel Three – Seven Step Value Scale

Link to directions for Color Wheel Four – Nine Step Value Scale


Limited Primary / Secondary Colors Watercolor Palette

My experiments using only primary and secondary colors (full saturation) often leave me with a jarring, smack in the face, feelings.  I wanted to take a break from oil and splash something simple in watercolor.  The water dilution alters the value immediately….. defeating the purpose of the experiment but giving me a little breathing room.

This morning’s experiments with pastel on the front porch on the gray, rainy day that it is resulted in two more jarring landscapes.  The good news is that I had a great time doing them and……. I learned a lot.  I’ll post them…. maybe ….. at another time.

Some say your key ring indicates your level of importance.  I think my key ring indicates my life is far too complicated.

Symbolic Key Ring

If Peter Faulk’s character Columbo saw my key ring he would immediately know:

I have too many cars to repair, maintain and fill with gas.

I have access ( and responsibility ) of more than one house.

Multiple pad lock keys indicate access ( and responsibility ) to private information and/or more buildings.

Membership to Gibson’s Gym and Easton Yoga.

There was a time when I had only four keys on my key ring. One unlocked the front door to the building where I lived in my studio, the entire seventh floor at 101 Broad Street in Boston.  One unlocked the door to my studio.  The other two were for my bike, one for the kryptonite lock that secured the bike to a pole and one for the chain lock that secured my front wheel to the bike.  Life was simpler then, even though I didn’t think so at the time.

Sketch: Drawn first with Noodler’s Flex Fountain Pen filled with Noodler’s Midnight Blue Ink, followed by watercolor.  Complementary Color Scheme of yellow / purple taking advantage of the natural color value range of yellows and purples.

Transitions between figures using color.

Todd Wolfe, Rob Fraser and Steve Decker, playing at Tuesday's Blues Jam

For me, this little painting is what jamming is about.  Todd and Rob are face to face, not playing to the audience.  They are playing off one another’s rhythm and sound, held together by Steve’s drum beats.  The colors and little shapes that are suggested by their bodies play off of one another, separate and unique, but creating one whole.

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

I’m getting to like primary colors.

Justin Brady playing at the Blues Jam

When painting in the dark at the Blues Jam I’m not overly concerned about color reality.  A lot of musicians wear black.  A lot of musicians wear blue jeans.  One thing I love about Roberto is that he wears light-colored shirts that give me the opportunity to play with light valued colors against everyone else’s darks.

But…. there he was, young Justin Brady in a bright blue shirt, bright red shorts and playing a glossy white guitar.  How could I help but make his flesh yellow?

Drawn first in ink with a dip pen, followed by watercolor. Painted on site during the Tuesday Night, Todd Wolfe Blues Jam at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, Pa.