This has been the most successful piece I’ve created, if one uses repeat sales as a criterion (I do), and I think I know some of the reasons why. For one thing, the original inspiration for the way I drew the figures came from a Picasso retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art. For another, this was my third version of the piece, the first being in black and white, the second being a small color study. In the course of redoing it, lots of small decisions were made on what to include and what to leave out, colors and color value.
Although it may be hard to see here, the background is composed entirely of renderings of old record labels from the 78 era. I think they are beautiful examples of graphic art, and, of course , being circular they are in the perfect shape. These were rendered in sepia ink, sepia and mauve watercolor so as not to intefere with the figures in the foreground, which are outlined in bold black, and colored more brightly. The figures have some texture, which also helps pop them out.
Playing a musical instrument involves some strain and strength, Most people who don’t play seem to not realize this, so I made it a point to show some of that, particularly with the sax, trumpet, and clarinet players, blowing hard and sweating.
Quite a few people over the years have told me that they can “hear the music” when viewing this piece, which I think is a fine compliment.