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Musicians – How did I start creating these portraits?

In my first blog post, I talked about how I became an artist. I also said that I would continue to discuss my journey into this new identity and realm. Today, I will talk about how I started to create musician portraits.

Initially, I was loving the plein air aka outdoor painting. As the season progressed and my work schedule intruded, making it impossible to be outside, I had to release my passion indoors.

I continued to be curious about my ability to create. So, I expanded into musicians. My husband and I share a love of music. My husband loves John Lee Hooker, masterful blues guitarist and singer. So, I drew this:

John Lee Hooker, charcoal on paper. Fun fact: My first date with my husband was to see him on stage.

I was scared when I started this. I’ve learned that the fear is performance anxiety and self doubt. I pushed through it. I focused on what I saw.

I never drew a face before and I knew that fabric can be tough. I know the Masters have pieces of art just focusing on fabric! I pressed on and I loved the outcome!

Another of my husband’s favorite musicians is Jimmy Page. I thought, “Ok, I’ll try this one, too.” I knew that the subject would require a larger paper due to the magnitude of it.

Jimmy Page, charcoal on paper

I loved being able to capture the hands, body, clothes, jewelry and hair!

Now, it was time for me. Who did I want to draw? A little about me first: I am a feminist, am a social justice warrior, and love strong women! I looked to these women as role models , in my younger years, to upend the misogynistic upbringing that I had endured. I still love them dearly!

So, Sister Rosetta Tharpe needed her due! She was quite a woman! A black woman guitarist and vocalist in the 1950s! She was awesome! Here’s my homage to her:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, in her early years.

Then, I branched out into jazz. I was visiting my grandniece and she was studying jazz musicians as part of Black History Month in 7th grade. So, I drew these:

Louis Armstrong , charcoal on paper
Ella Fitzgerald , charcoal on paper
Billie Holiday, charcoal on paper

I took a jazz vocalist from Newport Jazz Festival 1957 class recently. We talked about and listened the the incredible Sarah Vaughan. I knew she had to be next.

Sarah Vaughan, charcoal and soft pastel on blue/gray paper

What I have loved the most about these drawings is the opportunity to capture their emotions as they are performing. I knew faces, hands, and clothing along with emotion are difficult to capture.

The earlier pieces have sold. The jazz pieces are still available on pontiusartist.com. MultiMediaExpression is my store’s name.

I would love to hear your comments and feedback. If you enjoy my blog, please follow.

Next week…. flowers – how I draw them. The following week … The Making of a Male Bellydancer.

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