How to Paint a Jazz Painting
The festival was the brainchild of renowned local percussionist Charles (City) Gatt, and back in the 90's I asked him if I could try painting there on the spot. For a while there were four of us, but now it's just me, and I really look forward to it every year.
So, how do you paint on the spot like this?
1. First step is to draw obsessively for about 50 years until you can do it almost automatically. Draw from reality, not from photographs so that you can translate 3D to 2D. Draw and sketch as much as you can.
2. Experiment with different materials and approaches until you know what works for you. When I am painting dancers I like to use wet media, such as gouache (a more opaque version of watercolour) and soluble crayons. For me, this combination captures a feeling of movement as the water dissolves the colour and gives it a sense of freedom.
For the jazz painting I prefer acrylics as the colours are stronger - I can see them in the poor light. I also have longer to work on each piece, as I'll explain later.
5. On site, make a space that you can move easily in, and protect it as best you can - people will walk all over you if they possibly can. Most really don't care or have any respect for what you're doing. They won't appreciate that you actually need to focus and concentrate to work this way.
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