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At Vivian’s House

February 27th, 2022 No comments

I can remember the first time I went to Phil and Vivian William’s house. I was an aspiring musician, and the house was full of sound, of music, of laughing. It was beautiful and intimidating. Everywhere I looked I saw amazing artifacts, and in every corner, violin cases. There were many friendly faces, some of whom I got to know over the years. There was every manner of instrument; and if we were lucky, (we usually were) someone would be playing the parlor grand piano.
Vivian's living room
I know that over the years, besides these well attended jams that met every first Wednesday of the month in this living room; there were recording sessions, practices and get-togethers of every size. Musicians would come to visit from all over the world, and find good music and fun at Phil and Vivian’s house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This summer, I managed to be there for an amazing recording session featuring Isaac Callender and four of his amazing guitar playing friends; Gary Lee Moore, Rich Levine, Pete Martin and Rod Anderson. There was so much energy in the room, that I realized it had been reverberating like this from the sounds of strings for over 40 years. This was the last recording session to ever be done at Vivian’s house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A most memorable day for me was  when Barbara Lamb came and it was just Vivian and Barbara playing intense beautiful music. I was afraid if I blinked, I’d wake up, the fiddling was so amazing. They played harmonies back and forth, up and down, and challenged each other the way they have been doing for almost half a century.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though the energy at Vivian’s house was mostly in that living room, the rest of the house is a feast for the eyes.

kitchen

 

Vivian’s kitchen was filled with light and a wonderful collection of cast iron kitchenware. The centerpiece is a warm wooden table that has always been full of offerings brought by the many friends that came to the jams and practice sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

diningroom view.

 

If you were lucky enough to visit during the daytime, the view was wonderful, facing east and looking over Lake Washington, here is looking out the dining room window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

landing

Of course if you were a closer friend or maybe a relative, you got to go upstairs. If you got as far as the landing between the first and second floors, you already were treated to a glorious view. With a sunny window, a rocking chair and a harp, it looked like a place that you could just hang out and absorb the energy coming from the living room or  just a scene from a magical children’s book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

phil's office

 

 

Phil collected musical instruments you could see this when you entered his office; the walls were covered with every strange kind of guitar, banjo and other curiosities. I visited him in his office once for an interview of sorts, this was very impressive. I felt very humble in that chair.

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Watercolor portraits of humans

December 14th, 2020 No comments

My main “thing” is painting watercolors, and I have done so many, I have asked other people to help me choose their favorites. Here are a few of the watercolor portraits I’ve done recently. It looks like I am focusing more on African Americans here, maybe I am, because Black Lives Matter. And art can help with that. I do portraits for commissions; I have found it’s rare to sell a portrait that wasn’t commissioned, unless it’s someone fairly famous.

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portraits with fountain pens

December 13th, 2020 No comments

For Inktober, I decided to just draw a face a day. I use two fountain pens for this; a Nemosine Singularity extra fine for the tiny details, and a Leonardo Officina Bold for the bigger strokes. Here are a few of my favorites

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portraits with a brush pen

December 13th, 2020 No comments

I recently discovered Sktchy, an app that joins artists with people sharing their photos (most of them are artists too). It was love at first time. Free, easy access to really good reference photos of people from all over the world. Sharing with other artists, all of us trying to do the same thing, capture the face with some kind of media.
Here is a small selection of the portraits I painted with a brush pen. A brush pen is actually a tiny paintbrush which is fed ink like a fountainpen.

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George Floyd – say my name

June 16th, 2020 1 comment

george floydArtists are political. I, for one, cannot really paint someone I don’t want to paint. But sometimes, there is a face in the news and I can’t NOT paint him. When I first heard about George, I looked at his face, he looked tall and strong and brave. Then I read a biography, really, an obituary, and his friend quoted him as saying “I want to touch the world” when he was young and idealistic. How amazing and poignant it is, that he DID touch the world, but at such a terrible cost. Black lives matter, Black men matter. Black women matter. Black children matter. Yes, all of the other lives matter too, but the carnage in our country is totally skewed and black men are dying again and again, in numbers that are chilling. I love to use watercolor to paint faces, and that is what I did here.
This painting is already sold, but you can still buy prints and my profits will go to #blacklivesmatter.

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Categories: african american, portrait Tags: