Fridays at Five – SFJAZZ









Tomorrow, I’m going to Friday’s at Five, a digital jazz concert. I’ll stay right here in my room.

I love to go to jazz concerts with my son. Before the lights are turned down low, we order a glass of wine and settle down for the show. I listen for a bit then I start sketching – eye to hand to paper. It’s dark during the concert so it’s always a surprise to see how the sketches turned out. My subject matter won’t be live performers. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll produce!

Check out. New videos will be posted on YouTube every Tuesday and there is an interesting selection of playlists to listen to on Spotify.


Drawing people like I draw animals – UN Plaza San Francisco

My new drawing project is to sketch people in the way I sketch animals. When I sketch people I get stuck on their faces. When I draw figures the faces come out weak and in another style of drawing from the rest of the sketch. Why is that I wonder? I guess it is because animals are just shapes to me. When I see a face I recognize it as a more familiar intimate object.

The cardboard shapes integrated with the moving figures added some abstraction to the drawings which created a more interesting drawing.

While I struggle in the studio combining figurative hands and feet with an abstract painting, I’ll blog about some of my drawings. As always, click on image to enlarge.

Any suggestions to help me get away from the face hang up I have?

Van Morrison’s “Listen to the Lion” – A Tattoo

This is one of my favorite photographs. I was admiring this guy’s tattoo and asked him what it said. I was so glad I asked. We shared some stories and I learned about tattoos and this song. Van Morrison recorded “Listen to the Lion” in San Francisco. The Irish Gaelic translation of Listen to the Lion is tattooed on his arm.

Listen to the Lion” is a song featured on Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison‘s sixth album, Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972).

Jazz (What I Love and Why)

(click on drawing)

I love going to Yoshi’s with my son

We listen to jazz while I sketch

in the smoke and cell free zone.

The chairs are so high and small I slip off.

My feet hang.

The man in front of us has a coffee

bean printed on his cap.

The room goes dark as the waitress

brings a beer and a scotch.

Wearing a light weight summer suit

the pianist walks out on stage.

Three other musicians follow.

The pianist begins to play.

Look at the line of the piano.

How tall the string bass is.

The bass player’s fine line

fingers work the strings

into peppermint strokes.

His body moves back and forth

He plucks the strings.

Coffee bean head starts bobbing.

Fingers are tapping.  I’m drawing.

The sax player presses the brass

buttons of his saxophone

as he leans into his song.

His body filled with intuitive

spontaneous feeling

moves back and forth

up and down.

A familiar tune is playing.

Wrapped in the rhythm of the moment

I’m in there

dancing alone

in between

inside outside.

Loose ink glides over

the paper.

My eyes, hands and the music are one.

The players pour out their stories

Drums join in.

It gets going

changes direction.

Sounds play off each other.

Now a full easy tune

yellow daffodils become

a thundering herd of mustangs.

Heads are bobbin. Feet are tappin.

Everyone is gone

completely entranced.

Fresh silver stars stretch out.

A meadow of blossoms folds over into peach.

The music textures down to

sunset tones.

Applause follows quiet.

The set is over.

But I sat down only a moment ago.

I understand how I could

learn about the workings of

a computer or build

a painting or dissect a frog but

how to build jazz

I do not know.