Photo of saxophone player at cemetery inspires artist

Updated April 14, 2018

When the Saints Go Marching In (6×12 watercolor/ink drawing by Don Dean)

Last Christmas, my husband and I were running errands when we spotted a saxophone player seated in front of a grave at a cemetery near our home. I pulled out my cell phone and grabbed a photo and shared it on social media. Facebook friend and artist Don Dean was so inspired by the image that he painted this watercolor during a recent lunch break.

With Don’s permission, I’m sharing the painting along with his commentary on Facebook. In Don’s words:

As I worked through this piece, I had all sorts of questions in my mind. Who is he playing to? What song is he blowing on that Sax? At first I thought this was a sad scene, maybe playing for a lost friend or brother or maybe his mom and pop.

Don calls this his “new lunch table”

As I continued to work a different story developed in my head. This is a happy scene and he’s blowing Dixieland. Maybe he’s playing for his old crazy Aunt Bertha who was the “Last of the Red Hot Mama’s” in New Orleans back in the sixties. He’s blowing for all of us old Cats that ever got drunk and sweaty drinking pitchers of Miller High Life in some old smoky bar on Bourbon Street. He’s blowing for all of you that ever drank too many Flaming Hurricanes or Mint Juleps at Pat O’Brien’s.

He’s playing, “When the Saints Go Marching In”

Arizona artist Don Dean

Happy St. Patrick’s day. Don’t drink too much green beer.

Don made the beautiful frame and sent me the painting as a gift.

Don Dean