Paint the town and jazz it up on Saturday

By From page A1 | September 8, 2011

Philippe Gandiol, Courtesy photo

Philippe Gandiol, Courtesy photo

Instead of sleeping in this Saturday, go outside, enjoy the sunshine and paint the town — downtown Davis, that is.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Davis residents and visitors can watch live art created all around downtown as part of the Great California Paint Out. Established, renowned painters like Deladier Almeida and Boyd Gavin will participate, as well as talented up and comers, in an area concentrated between First, Fifth, A and G streets.

In all, more than 100 artists are expected — painting in every style and any medium as part of the ninth annual International Worldwide Paint Out.

According to John Natsoulas, the Great California Paint Out is “no longer exclusive to landscapes, and all subjects available for observation are welcome. There will be many plein air painters and artists working in all mediums.”

After the painting session is over, the participating artists’ work will be hung at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 First St. in downtown Davis.

A reception will take place from 7 to 10 p.m., during which a silent auction will be held. Master painters will jury the work, with awards presented by Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza. It’s a feast of the senses; see artwork, eat refreshments, converse with artists and listen to live music.

Local musicians James Barnes and Scott Nelson will perform live improvisational jazz at the gallery throughout the event. Most commonly known as Jaroba, the duo’s name changes depending on the event.

“If I book the gig it’s called Moon Garden Project,” Nelson said.

“It’s usually Jaroba or Jaroba Duo if I book it,” Barnes explained, to which Nelsonadded, “Maybe (we) will eventually become The Jaroba Moon Garden Project Orchestra.”

Over beers at Little Prague, the three of us talked music, art and life. The impromptu conversation itself mimicked the creative free jazz the duo plays.

“We start with ideas and experimentation,” Barnes said. “They form into ideas that become cohesive pieces.”

The project originally was a three-piece group with Barnes on saxophone, Nelson on guitar and Byron Blackburn on bass. A beloved figure in the tight-knit Sacramento jazz scene, Blackburn was a mutual friend who brought them together. He died after a long battle with cancer.

“Byron used to put on various improv get-togethers in Sacramento,” Nelson said.

Nelson played in a couple of bands in the 1980s until a freak accident occurred — he sliced off a couple fingertips while chopping cucumbers at a Davis restaurant.

Nelson went into teaching and stopped playing guitar. But 20 years later, he bought an acoustic guitar at Watermelon Music. Like Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, he started rockin’ the guitar again, despite his injury.

Nelson took an improv seminar at Watermelon Music where he met Barnes.

“I was forty-something and this was the first time I took a guitar lesson!” Nelson laughed. “When I first met James, I was intimidated by him. He had an intense look. I didn’t even talk to him that first time.”

“I only look this way for the job, that’s all,” Barnes smiled. After jamming, Nelson realized, “he’s a pretty laid-back dude.”

For more information on the Great California Paint Out, call the John Natsoulas Gallery at (530) 756-3938 or visit www.natsoulas.com.

Landon Christensen

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