Creativity is a God-given gift meant to be used.  When shared, it enlightens, blesses, reprimands, humbles and encourages the listener.  Or viewer.  In 1990, a life-changing encounter with great guitar taught me that creativity expressed in music comes from the same inner source as my own method of self-expression: drawing.  Over the years, certain musicians have been sent my way to encourage, challenge and inspire me. They have taught me to be true to my muse, to move forward & never compromise, to be dedicated, fearless and most of all have fun.

 

Here are  some of the affectionate portraits I've created of some of these marvelous musicians.    

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Eric Clapton and 'Blackie' were one of the very first portraits, inspired by the 1990 concert where I saw him for the first time at the Omni in Atlanta.  His blues-based guitar resonated with me and propelled me into several years of exploring the blues - and rendering portraits of Albert King, BB King, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.

That concert, and this portrait, opened the door to a new style of art.

 

  

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'The Bluesman', my portrait of John Lee Hooker, another early portrait.  I sent an image of it to John Lee's management team.  Mr. Hooker saw this portrait and recommended it to be reproduced on tee-shirts; his team called me to discuss it and to my surprise put Mr. Hooker on the phone.  He knew the title of the portrait and said "I guess I am the Bluesman... haw haw haw haw."  I just about fell in the floor.  You can imagine how thrilled I was not only to talk to him, but to get such a cheerful reaction.

 

 

 

Harry Stinson is a super drummer and fine tenor vocalist too.  No wonder he's such an integral part of Marty Stuart's Fabulous Superlatives band.  I photographed Harry in concert and created this portrait, which has officially met with his approval. That kinda made my day!

 

 

 

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 This is Marty Stuart and his beloved mandolin.  I photographed Marty and His Fabulous Superlatives band in August 2012 and created this portrait from photos taken that evening.  This portrait captures him during a solo on that mandolin; he walked to the front of the stage alone, turned ever so slightly towards me and began to play.  After I caught my breath, I muttered "I gotcha!" knowing that his first portrait would be this.  It was an amazing moment, when he opened the gate to creativity and let the joy flow - and let me witness it.  Thanks, Marty.

 

 

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Kenny Vaughan - make that 'Cousin' Kenny - is the lead guitarist in Marty's Fabulous Superlatives band.  Kenny merited my first full-length musician portrait because how could I resist sketching those boots?

A fine guitarist, cool as grits on stage, and sweet as a peach to talk to.

By the way, Kenny has a terrific solo album out called "V" that I keep on the CD player in the art studio all the time.

 

 

   

 

 

Tony Sims and his Gretsch Hot Rod 6120... what a combo.  I heard this amazing guitarist at a venue in nearby Villa Rica.  In this portrait I achieved something very special, I reached a new level in portraying a dynamic guitarist.  The portrait is now in my own art studio where it gives me inspiration - and a challenge! - every time I sit down to work.

 

 

 

In early 2012 a new musical inspiration jump-started the portrait series.  I'd always known who Mike Campbell was, of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (we're close in age; they went to LA about the time I started college) but in March of  2012 I saw Mike in a TV concert performance where he wielded this gorgeous Gretsch White Falcon on 'I Won't Back Down' - then I saw him in person in April of 2012.  THEN in April of 2017 I had a front row seat for the Atlanta stop on the 40th anniversary tour. People, I haven't stopped grinning.  His music is strong, eloquent, and he has the purest tone I have ever heard.  There is going to be a portrait to come from that concert that will be strong, powerful, and show you what I heard and witnessed that night.

 

From Mike I have learned what happens when you are dedicated and true to your muse...  you create with an ease and confidence that only comes from experience.