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Sunday, February 05, 2012

At the Hanna

I've had a number of opportunities to draw members of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra during their concerts at the beautifully restored Hanna Theater downtown. (Sidebar: They may actually spell it "Theatre," I'm not sure and I won't look it up. We're in America. It should be "Theater.")

Anyway, the truth is that live musical performances can make me antsy if there's not enough going on visually. Not proud of it, you understand, but it's true. Now, this wouldn't happen at a David Bowie concert, but generally speaking when you're talking about concerts where people are dressed in formal clothing I start to fidget.

Unless I can draw. Then everything is perfect, because I'm happily drawing with great music in the background. My two main senses are tended to.

But the other truth is that we see the CJO several times a year, and -- no offense -- it gets harder and harder to work up enthusiasm for drawing the same group of guys on stage. I'm usually just far away enough to not be able to get a great view of their faces for true portraits.

This is a longgg way of saying that I attack this problem in different ways. Last night I went in two directions. I did a page of very gestural sketching that I could tell underwhelmed the person next to me when he asked to see it during intermission. (Oh well.) And then I looked around and took inspiration from the theater itself to let my imagination go out and play.

Incidentally, the concert was a terrific celebration of the big-band era. Lots of uptempo tunes and virtuoso playing. If you haven't seen the CJO, you should.

1 comment:

honey said...

as always, i love the drawing and the prose. i have a good friend who sings with them.

nice to share your process of gestural sketching...