Local artist shares unique jazz festival sketches

A unique collection of sketches of musicians at this year’s Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival has been shared by local artist Helen Roberts.

Helen has been active in art all her life, and has been a member of a group of artists known as the Birmingham Urban Sketchers (Busk) since 2018.

She drew her impressive sketches of the musicians while attending multiple gigs at the jazz festival, which ran from 15 to 24 July.

Bruce Adams Quartet playing at The Waters Edge bandstand at Brindleyplace

Helen, aged 55, said: “This is the first time I’ve been free to attend the jazz festival and it ties in well with the City of Life exhibition at the Velvet Music Rooms where I also have several pieces in my favourite style on display.

“The musicians I sketched on this occasion just happened to be in the right place at the right time for me, even the Whiskey Brothers on the hottest day of the year – my birthday. What a great way to spend it!”

The Whiskey Brothers playing at Velvet Music Rooms

Helen also explained her style of art: “A lot of sketchers use watercolour due to them being relatively easy to transport and, though I do this sometimes, my favourite medium is acrylic.

“I usually have some acrylic pens with me plus a sketchbook prepared with random splodges or spray in advance to give an instant background. I feel that this helps with spontaneity and works really well with live performances.”

Asked what she plans to do with her sketches, Helen added: “They’re in a sketchbook that doesn’t have removable pages, so I hadn’t planned on exhibiting them. Though I guess I could scan and print them off.”

The Nitecrawlers playing at Velvet Music Rooms

Mike Olley, general manager at Westside BID, said: “What a wonderful collection of sketches Helen has produced. They really do capture the atmosphere of what was a terrif jazz festival.

“Whatever Helen plans to do with her work, we are thrilled to get the chance to show them off on our website and social media for her. She is a great local artist and deserves the attention.”

Main picture: Digby Fairweather and The Chase Jazzmen.

The Hitman Blues Band playing at The Rep
Another sketch of the Hitman Blues Band at The Rep

ENDS

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