How You Know When You’re Obsessed with a Subject

Recently I was in a restaurant (a burger joint) with my wife and there were crayons on the table and a table cloth made of paper to draw on.

Without thinking, I drew the following picture from memory, and if you’ve seen this blog recently you know that I am painting the same subject over and over again, for many reasons (not least of which is that I need to become much less attached the outcome of each painting — cannot treat each one as “precious”).


Clearly I’ve become obsessed…

Though the drawing is incorrect in many aspects, it isn’t too far off and yes, I’ve lost my mind a bit at this point (we had a good laugh about it).

My wife asked me “Why Jimi?” and it was a good question.

In short, like many people I was blown away upon hearing his music (more than 35 years ago) and went on to discover that I could listen to the album “Smash Hits” during my morning and evening commute and not get tired of it after a month…and even a year…Jimi Hendrix Smash Hits

But when I heard his live performance of “Machine Gun” performed during a New Year’s Eve concert with Band of Gypsies, I was transported on a much deeper level.

There is also a grainy video of the same performance. The solo he takes in that recording without doubt pierces the veil of consciousness, no artificial substances needed. As is true in Jazz music, you have to be ready for certain recordings, because otherwise it will sound like noise. But if you are….you can break on through.

He and the band performed two concerts that night, and you have to hear the right version, which is in this clip.  Please note that the recording has the amazing introduction to the song, but then cuts straight to the solo, which is not great, but the solo is all there.

Here is the URL to the video:

There is an analogy to painting in that of his two performances that night (both were recorded), only one of them achieved a kind of perfection, and it is important to remember that Hendrix played poorly during many performances as he took risks that didn’t work out, and if he hadn’t let himself play “badly”, he would never have reached the heights he reached.

And so doing a Hendrix portrait seemed to be the obvious thing.



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