As if songwriting, singing, and playing guitar weren't enough, Jeff Stewart adds visual art to his performance tomorrow night at Diva restaurant in downtown Toledo.
The intimate upstairs room where he'll play acoustic guitar will be hung with about 10 of his paintings, both originals and reproductions.
Stewart, a musician who doesn't have a day job, plays five nights a week at area bars and private parties. Tomorrow night is an opportunity to spotlight his own songs, which he describes as "confessional folk rock and roll."
"I wear my heart on my sleeve," said Stewart, a 1987 graduate of Start High School who previously played with The Flecks and The Starlings. "They're just honest songs. And they not going to be offending."
He'll be joined by Gregg Leonard of Sylvania, playing acoustic and electric guitars. Opening at 9 p.m. will be Gregg Aranda, who sings in an outlaw/storytelling style of country, said Stewart, 35, of South Toledo.
He always painted, and his grandparents were painters. He loves creating posters for special events. In recent years, his friends encouraged him to get his pieces framed. "I'm finding people want fine art," he said.
And he likes painting musicians in performance, such as trumpeter Chet Baker and bassist Charles Mingus, from old black-and-white photographs. His five-foot by seven-foot painting of Mingus hangs above the stage at Gumbo's Bayou Grille at The Docks, and a portrait of bluesman Muddy Waters is in Gumbo's entry corridor.
"I had done a lot of pieces before, but I think I started finding my groove after that," he said, referring to the Muddy Waters piece. He made it about four years ago using watercolor paint and dry-brush application on watercolor paper. It was printed on canvas from a scanned image of the original.
Tomorrow, art will be second fiddle to music. "They're props, they're background," he said.
Diva is at 329 North Huron St. Cover charge is $5. Information: 419-324-0000.
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