Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Work

The Absolution of Man. John Coltrane
24x36" $800

Full Blue. J.J. Johnson
44x16" Framed $750

Sad, Old Duke. Duke Ellington
25x31" $800

24x36" $1020

Father Drum. Art Blakey
18x24" $500

 Dreams Courtesy of Bill Evans
12x16" Framed $400

 Far Sight. Bob Marley
20x16" $500

 Buddy Guy
36x24" $600

 Ron Carter
20x20" $550

Corey Harris, Dread inna Delta
16x20" $480

 Devil Music. Robert Johnson
24x30" $888

 Dizzy Gillespie
24x30" $800

36x24" $980

 Strong Arm of Elvin. Elvin Jones
33x21" $730

Fusing. Fela Kuti
18x24" $580

 The Gears of Mingus. Charles Mingus
20x16" $500

 Passing of the Ruler. Gregory Isaacs
20x16" $400

McCoy Tyner and the Rest of Us
27x24" $750

 Miles Away. Miles Davis
16x20" $550

14x23" $530

 Thelonius Geometrics (updated 2011)
24x30" $800

 Queen Nina, Muthaf*ka. Nina Simone
12x12" $300

Screams of the Paper Doll. Billie Holiday
16x20" $400

 BlueBeck. Dave Brubeck
30x24" $580

 Son of the Delta. Son House
20x16" $400

Taj Mahal in Port Townsend
35x20" $800

Painting the Sounds of America
Jesse Joshua Watson

This body of work is part of the story of our music. Just one small part. Though in school we are presented with a history that is much more centered around wars, this history is as vast and intriguing as it is fundamental to our development as a culture. The story of our music is the story of us.

For my part, I did my best to fall into the music and become absorbed by it. I tried to allow problems in to the paintings so that I could adapt and improvise visual solutions, in the same way jazz musicians find sound solutions. I felt myself getting caught up in the moment, that fleeting, timeless instant of ecstasy. 
To purchase artwork, go see the work in person at the Public House in Port Townsend, or you can email Jesse directly:


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I am breaking from my session, paint wet on my fingers and now keyboard, for a short minute to write down this thought rattling in my tranced out head. I have been painting furiously. No sleep. No eat. No. Nothing but the work. Work.

As I should, I allow the subject matter to inhabit my studio, my ears, my eyes, my bed, my bones, my fate and my soul. In this body of work, mostly centered on jazz musicians I love, I find the subject matter cracking the casing from which I used to create within.

I wake whistling horn phrases from Sonny, Wayne, John, Miles, Louis. I organize my paints in terms of pitch rather than color. The music roots down.

Jazz: The moment. Right now. Not then. Now.

I choose to become the art I am creating. History is crucial. The more I study, the more I ask. The more my paintings evolve. And expand. I have tasted the tip of the iceberg and I want more yet know my limitations. It is for the prophet alone to dive headlong into the unrewarded. The old paintings I did of jazz musicians were scratches on the surface. So are these. Yet, with these I see the man scratching. I may not penetrate but I know more this time around. I feel more this time around.

Jazz: Adaptation. The greatest human achievements begin with a problem. I throw problems onto my canvas. Then I adapt. I take a painting already finished and I strike through it with pink. Then I turn it on its head and start from scratch. But never from scratch. That old painting, disfigured and dismembered is the foundation for the new work.

All great music stands on the shoulders of another. There is no Miles without Dizzy. There is no Dizzy without ... There is no one source. There is all.

There is John Coltrane.

There is God.

Why do I need my painting to look just so? I have a camera. Why don't I take a damned picture if I need it to be just so? This is not about you. This is about me. This is my life and so this is my art. If I hang up thinking about you I will never let the real me out. So I go.

Jazz: Allow it to be what it is. Instead of polishing tunes, Miles releases Bitches Brew, which is a documentation of a group of individuals adapting and improvising. The documentation of the journey to discovery. Are there pieces they wish were different? Of course. But that is why it needed to be recorded. For us to see them struggle until they found the solutions. And so this art, I let be. I work as hard as I need to on some aspects, while leaving the impressions of my struggle on the rest. And in this I find great peace. Great satisfaction.  I learn.

I unlearn.

I choose to forget.

I release my fear. My knowledge. My lack of knowledge. I release everything except my ability to improvise right now. Right now.



Thursday, July 07, 2011


Watch this short film and pass it along!

Then visit the campaign website, here.