Mirrors, Anyone?

Saturday, we went to Colfax for a showing of Jim Lee’s recent artwork.  Oceanic, surf, Polynesian, spiritual, mystical, ecological, and Buddhist themes dominate his paintings.  “Eclectic” probably best describes Jim’s style.  He moves easily from using shapes and negative space that define images to creating incredible detail with precise, fine lines.  His palette shifts between subdued or muted and vivrant and bright colors.

With Sierra Surf Music Camp just around the corner, the showing was an opportunity to catch up on his latest work and renew our acquaintance.  Last year, while Glenn and I immersed ourselves in music, Becky and Jean spent good chunks of their camp days under Jim’s tutelage.  Those few days and a later bit of serendipity helped Becky sort through the cabinet full of art supplies in the garage and start art classes again.

During the hour or so drive back, Becky and I discussed our friends who are real -- as opposed to hobbyist -- musicians and seek to make a living from music.  What got the conversation started is hard to say.  Maybe it was that nephew Dash recently played guitar with Linda Perry on The Talk.  They mentioned his name, and he was caught by the camera a couple of times.  No close ups; no full frame pauses; but even a brief pass-by on national television is more than most aspiring artists ever will have.

Eventually, the conversation turned to how Paul the Pyronaut had remodeled Ferndale Music to include a stage.  His business model includes open mic nights -- the chance for students to perform and for parents and loved ones to see that the lesson money is not wasted.  We reminisced about how many of his shows promoted both The Pyronauts and his students.  Having fun with music is infectious.

The opportunity to perform and stage presence seem to be missing from the SacTown music lesson scene.  Does any music store offer the chance to step on a stage and play in front of family, friends, and strangers as part of its lesson regimen?  What guitar instructors give lessons during which students sling a strap over their shoulder and play standing up?  Where do you learn how to walk out in front of a crowd and not look like a deer in the headlights or somebody trying to pass a kidney stone?  Where do you learn that sticking out your tongue looks really stupid?  Why should you have to wait until you screw up in a gig to find out?

As we bounced these and other questions back and forth, I thought about an observation that Robert “Kool Kat” Kuhlmann made the other night at practice.  “We need to start working on how we look.  We need mirrors on the walls so that we can watch ourselves!”  Weren’t mirrors a staple of dance studios?

As I pondered where to buy and where put mirrors, the English Beat’s lyrics came to mind.  “Just a thousand reflections of my own sweet self, self, self . . . .”  Fortunately, Becky interrupted this flight into frivolity.  She shifted the conversation back to Jim Lee’s art.  “I really liked his Sea Cliffs Moloka’i.”

1 comment

  • jim lee

    jim lee

    What a thoughtful and inspiring post Bill! At last some like minded people to connect with and relate to, Thanks for the nice things you said and I quite agree with your assessment of Paul and his new venture as a business owner and promoter of the arts. The time we have together at Surf Camp is very special to me and I hope I can bring something of lasting value to the attendees. Love, Peace and Rock on! Jim

    What a thoughtful and inspiring post Bill! At last some like minded people to connect with and relate to, Thanks for the nice things you said and I quite agree with your assessment of Paul and his new venture as a business owner and promoter of the arts. The time we have together at Surf Camp is very special to me and I hope I can bring something of lasting value to the attendees. Love, Peace and Rock on!

    Jim

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