Late night bubble blowers appeared last night. I was going to leave it with just one filled-in bubble, but after taking my bath around midnight, I poked my head in to check on my creation, and was so dissatisfied, I was possessed to work on it for almost another hour, fine-tuning the faces and working on those bubbles. I kept thinking, you have to get up earlier than usual tomorrow...what are you doing? I don't even try to fight it anymore...
Gave this fellow a burst of tangerine! He started out quite a bit differently. I wasn't sure where I was headed with the beginning, but I ended up with that wide-eyed, pursed-lip look you see in a lot of selfies. Maybe it emanated from my glancing through Rizzoli's new Kim KardashianSelfish book over the weekend, although let's face it. This dude falls far short in the glamour-puss department in comparison. He better pick up that book!
Last night I saw a live performance by Andy Frasco. At one point, Andy mentioned B. B. King's death, because, you know, all music lovers are mourning (my words, not his). He said they would perform "The Thrill Is Gone" in his honor. He paused for a split-second and I heard him say to the guitarist from Arkansas* (I was close) "Are you o.k. with that, we didn't rehearse it, it's A minor." Well, the guitarist immediately shook his head back and forth--I imagined him thinking, of course I know it, I'm a blues guitarist and every blues guitarist must know it. He immediately launched into a beautiful version to honor the King of the Blues. Both he and the drummer had met him before. The latter said that he was the nicest man he had ever met.
I saw B. B. King three times. Once in college, once at Chicago's annual Blues Fest, and once at Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Tour in Chicago (Bridgeview). He was so masterful and feeling when he bent those guitar notes. I think Adam Gobnik (love that guy) from The New Yorker put it better than anyone else. This nail-on-the-head description sums it up the best:
...But in an instant it was plain that no one made a guitar talk as B. B. King did, as an extension of his entire soul, and instrument of human expression.
...The sound of King's guitar, no matter how often imitated--and, on the surface, as with Louis Armstrong's trumpet, it sounded obvious, all that single-note shimmering--remains one of the inimitable sound in American music. It has a clipped, precise, syncopated, pin-striped-suit quality, not usually swooping or weeping or sliding. His first thoughts came in small, neat sentences, He would play a chorus in that way, then pause and play a complementary, related phrase with a more groaning intonation.
...The tension in his music--it was, in retrospect, I suppose, a play between a jazz ear and a blues hand, and even between the city and the country--paid off in a quality that I recognized at once that night...
Do yourself a favor and click HEREfor Gobnik's full article, "B.B. King's Inimitable Sound."
I drew a younger B.B. below, studying in a video clip the way his facial expressions would mimic the guitar notes his fingers were bending. I know I didn't do him justice...I just really feel upset about losing him. I knew he was in failing health, but you know when you lose someone who's always been a part of your life...or musical life? It feels like there's a blown-out hole in the beach ball form of planet Earth. No one can ever replace such a loss.
In the documentary, "B. B. King - Life of Riley," (if you have amazonPrime, it's running for free right now), Aaron Neville says, "Well, when you say Blues, you have to say B.B., no doubt." And Eric Clapton respectfully admits, "He's the master, he really is the grand master." Now I think I'll have to cry some more.
"The Thrill Is Gone"
U2 and B. B. King "When Love Came to Town" from "Rattle and Hum"
Mark Fourth's YouTube clip from Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Tour--so glad I was there to witness this in person.
B. B. said this was one of his best performances (at Chicago State Prison.)
B.B. changes guitar string mid-song at Farm Aid. Captain Cool! I saw this, too!
I love the "Blank of Blank" series. (Check on Jim Morrison on eating sometime.) Anyway, here's a great one on B.B. I especially love his comment on getting compliments, taking them, but then going back to his room to practice some more. And also when people bad talk you, it's o.k., because you just need to know yourself. Both comments are a testament of hard work, dedication to craft, and focusing on your art, the reason why you're here, rather than what people think of you, good or bad.
Here's a beautiful tribute from Carlos Santana:
Chairman of the board is home !!
All the kings are celebrating
the gathering of the elegance and excellence
In the ocean of the blues kingdom
All and many more
In the King family
Are welcoming the one
That made the blues SUPREME
B B KING
We offer you our total gratitude
Jimi Hendrix Stevie Ray
Otis Rush Magic Sam Buddy Guy
Eric Clapton Jeff Beck Jimmy Page
Michael Bloomfield Peter Green Javier Batiz
All of US and many more
We are your children disciples students followers
And lovers of your most beautiful notes
You showed us the way to the heart soul spirit
With every note you told stories of grace and beauty
Enjoy being in the fullness of our lord supreme
Enjoy the effulgent light that you are
GOD bless you and embrace you
MR BB KING
¡¡El presidente de la junta está en casa!!
Todos los reyes están celebrando
la reunión de elegancia y excelencia
En el océano del reino del blues
Todos y muchos más
de la familia King
Están dando la bienvenida al único
A quien hizo al blues SUPREMO
B B KING
Te ofrecemos nuestra gratitud total
Jimi Hendrix Stevie Ray
Otis Rush Magic Sam Buddy Guy
Eric Clapton Jeff Beck Jimmy Page
Michael Bloomfield Peter Green Javier Batiz
Todos NOSOTROS y muchos más
Somos tus hijos, discípulos, estudiantes, seguidores
Y amantes de tus notas más hermosas
Tú nos has mostrado el camino al corazón, al alma, al espíritu
Con cada nota has contado historias de gracia y belleza
Disfruta estando en la plenitud de nuestro señor supremo
Disfruta la luz resplandeciente que eres
DIOS te bendiga y te acoja
SR. BB KING
(*I couldn't find that guitarist's name on A.F.'s website.)
Here's one more blues legend to check out, if you're still reading this far down: Buddy Guy.
Peekaboo with a wandering eye emerged over many days. Most of the time my art will come to be right away, and other times, images just whisper to me. Those drawings or paintings lay around for days or weeks or even a few months, although rarer. They silently stare at me, and I stare back at them, and I'm not sure what they'll become. Sometimes they tell me in a burst and other times they emerge slowly, bit by bit. This critter was one of those creepers. And I like its sweet creepiness.
I want to be a morning person. I really do. But then I find myself up late and then later, a painting beginning to emerge. And the night is midnight blue and a rain is falling softly, plopping drops into puddles outside my window. My hand is pulled into movement and my mind is hypnotized by water, by quiet, by the sound of the brush, by a plaintive song playing. That 5 o'clock rise is drifting further away...then again, I have this.
Jeff Hamada of Booooooom reminds us of an enchanting clip on one of my (and it seems everyone's) favorite illustrators, Oliver Jeffers. It's a delightful piece, but I found an even more wonderful gift from something I had read about Jeffers a few years back. He moved from Ireland to Brooklyn, and in the piece he said that, "As far as becoming an illustrator is concerned, I made the decision out of college that I believed that I was good enough, and I went for it." He made the decision that he was good enough and he went for it. I read that and felt like I was struck by a bolt of lightening. Can you imagine if we applied those words to whatever it is we wanted in life? Let's all try it.
Oh, and there's one more golden nugget from Jeffers that all artists need to remember as well. "If you really believe you are good enough, then you shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks about your work." That's right.
These probably would have turned out better if I had spent more time on them (busy, busy week for me), but I am still going to post. All artful attempts should be honored, no? This is one of the assignments from France Belleville Van Stone's assignments in Sketchbook Skool. The back view is with crosshatch and the loose and fast front view is with gouache and ink.
Just caught the best part of the 1995 movie "Heat" tonight where Al Pacino (my fav of all time) and Robert De Niro sit at a diner having a deadly cat-and-mouse conversation. I love when Al says, "Brother, you are going down." Great, great movie. Anyway, thought I'm pay homage to the current, aged Robert De Niro. Thought about stopping just in the black and white version, but he has fairly red cheeks at times, and I wanted to capture that.
Just a few minutes of the restaurant conversation between Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in "Heat."
Up until after midnight, I still had that feeling inside that I had to draw something. This girl emerged. One mouth wasn't enough for her. She's a double talker.
Fingers smudged and smeared with charcoal, clock close to 1 a.m., and the sinking knowledge that I'll have to be getting up in 5 1/2 hours, I still feel better for having brought her forth into the world.
I love the entire nude I drew here, but jeepers creepers, I hesitate to post the entire thing (even though it's simply art) because even blogger stated last month it was going to give the boot to any blogs they deemed contained too provocative material. They abandoned that plan, probably after threats of crossing First Amendment Rights, but I am still leery based on follow-up language and warnings. Isn't that so sad? In America - a country based on free speech? To quote Marvin Gaye, "What's goin' on?" Anyway, I'm going to give my little male nude a bit of modesty. If anyone wants to purchase this baby, you'll be getting the full monty! (-;
Here's the curtailed full view (on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram as well) and following that is what I put on FB, because that social media seems to be getting more and more conservative.
About a month ago, I was re-watching the HBO Documentary, "Banksy Does New York" in which the elusive British street/graffiti artist, Banksy, made a new work of art each day for a month in October 2013. At times, people actually removed his artwork from it's location or covered it up and made people pay money in order to see it and take a picture of it. I think my favorite part is when he had an old man in the park sell original Banksy paintings for $60 each, and people just walked on by. The few who did buy some of his artwork found out later that each of their pieces was worth 10's of 1,000's of dollars--such irony.
Flash foward to this past week, and I began drawing over this speckled watercolor sheet I had. An elongated blob on the left side of the page looked like a man to me, or a shadow, and I pulled the ink out to form him more. Anyway, that's how my modern day theater developed.
For more on Banky check out his website http://banksy.co.uk/. If you have amazonPRIME, you can watch his 2010 film, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" for free. People say it's about Banksy himself, Banksy says it not. Whether tongue-in-cheek or not, it's great and an insightful look at the drive to be an artist/filmmaker and what an artist is.
Carla felt like such a yoga loser. While everyone else was doing complex poses, she couldn't even complete a Fists Forward Bend. She decided she no longer wanted a "yoga butt."
You know, I didn't write this in my post initially, but I'll add a little story here. I lasted about 90 seconds in a yoga class. It was offered at work, and as it so happened, a co-worker and I had to work late. Then I had to run out to the car to get my yoga gear which I had forgotten to bring in. It was hot and humid and I was rushing. And THEN, I couldn't find which room it was. Finally I get into where I need to go, everyone is relaxed and breathing. The instructor keeps saying, breath in and breath out, but my heart is POUNDING from all my racing around. I start the in and out breath, but it's going too fast for me, and I start to hyperventilate. I start to think my yoga mat is "smelly." Finally I can't take it, grab my crinkly plastic bag and smelly mat, and hightail it out of there. Ah, yes, it was so relaxing! (-;
A friend of mine, who frequently changes her glasses, recently acquired a funky red pair. I thought I'd pay tribute to them in this piece of art.
Mimi was in love with her new red and white eyeglasses. She thought they added just the right amount of pizzazz to her face. Yet...something was amiss. She liked to match her accessories, and nothing in her jewelry box went with her new specs. In fact, no bangle or bauble could she find to make her visage sublime. That was until, she found a pair of springtime white gloves in a bottom drawer. Why, these will do the trick! And indeed, once those soft, snug mitts of refinement were on, she pulled her entire look together and was a vision of springtime loveliness!
Just like Annie Lennox's performance of "I Put A Spell On You" at the 2015 Grammy's, I am MESMERIZED by this incredible, incendiary, delivery on The Voice tonight of the "House of the Rising Sun" by Kimberly Nichole. When she screams out, "Moooootherrrrrrrrr..." at 0:57, I literally cried. Incredible, incredible, so incredible. She owned the entire night. Amazing.
I've always loved the beauty of Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, those Russian ballet dancers capable of unimaginable feats of grace, strength, and control. Their hooded eyes and taunt skin, stretched tightly over cheekbones and muscle, added to their bodies beauty and prowess, n'est pas?
Here's a drawing of Nureyev in the latter part of his life. Still possessing those haunting eyes and bones of cheek.
Our Magnolia tree is blossoming. I sat outside Saturday afternoon before that David Lindley concert that I posted about yesterday, and soaked up the world of spring. Here's a snapshot, no filters or image-enhancement at all.
The sky was really that blue, the flowers really that pink.
Last night Kman and I saw multi-instrumentalist (at least 16) David Lindley play. My hub said, "You know, you think you see someone play the guitar really well, and then you see someone like this guy who blows them out of the water." He was right.
One of the highlights was Lindley playing an ancient instrument westernized--an electric "oud" handmade by a Middle-Eastern friend. It had such a beautiful sound, and he played it beautifully, at times playing an Irish-tinged tune on it. Take about fusion-flavored, world music!
I sketched him quickly while he played. He started the song out slowly and then ended up in a lively frenzy with his left leg swinging around in a a 3-part movement.
Here's the other thing. He's 71 years old, and someone like that has a lot of stories. Playing bluegrass in front of Walt Disney and his wife; stories about Ry Cooder and Dolly Parton; eating Helen Reddy's apricot-suited husband's entire box of jelly doughnuts and getting kicked out of the session for an irreverent comment to said square spouse; running away from skinheads in London in 1969 with a friend from Belfast; referencing the Japanese warrior term "throwing away the scabbard"; regaling and winning over a tough NYC music critic and crowd with his x-rated, but funny, imitation of Jimmy Stewart (with which he also blessed our crowd). Hilarious!
I said to Kman, what a life of experiences from all over the world. That's one autobiography I'd love to read.
Finally, he talked about the illogic that speaks to all artists/people not going in the expected direction of life. He said he was supposed to be an architect (landscape architect), but the banjo called his name. Another calling from the Muse, and the world is blessed that he listened.
From YouTube, Lindley beautifully playing the electric Oud in Copenhagen: