Royal St. Musicians Painting Friday, May 1 2009 

I posted information on my  “Art News”  blog about my painting of the Royal St. Musicians print sold on the web at both my shops on the web.

Street performing is associated historically with the Gypsies. Several Gypsy fortune tellers man the Tarot Card Reading Tables in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Mostly known for the Street Art, New Orleans has many fortune tellers, street musicians, and other street performers. Usually they perform for tips. Most are allowed to perform for free but painters are forced to get a license and sell only original paintings. Because they sell an object sales tax must be collected.The street performers are interesting subjects for artists and I have painted some on occasion, most recognized is a group of good musicians on Royal St.JK Schwehm, Art In The News, May 2009

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Art News Blog Sunday, Apr 26 2009 

 I somewhat keep a running list of art and graphic designs I have done in a blog I call “Art News”. It started out as some odd news articles for April Fools Day but was an easy place to add in an announcement of what new designs I made. When Twitter came along I could add in all my Tweets. So it is a busy place with a lot of short blog entries but a good place to learn and see a lot of my graphic designs. Whenever I do a new design I add in a picture and link to it and I also add in other older designs as people ask about them. Here is that link-

The Lion At The City Park Peristyle and Old Palm Tree Monday, Apr 13 2009 

Print Sold at Fig Street Art Studio

Print Sold at Fig Street Art Studio

In 1974 when I was a Probation Officer at Juvenile Court in New Orleans I saw an elderly man collecting seeds from the many beautiful palm trees along Loyola Ave by the Civil Courts Building. He told me he planted the seeds in empty coffee cans and grew them for sale. He was correct because I followed his advice and had many palm trees to plant in my yard. New Orleans has many beautiful palms and they make the landscape very interesting. I purposely painted the the palm tree behind the lion in the above painting because with the moon the painting looked like another place not  New Orleans City Park. The park has some unique and beautiful spots that could be found in Europe .

Last November while visiting the park I decided to collect some seeds from that big beautiful palm tree near the Peristyle. I wasn’t sure why. I had already collected seeds from palm trees on Magazine St and they were sprouting. This weekend I was in city park and  discovered to make room for “improvements” that big beautiful palm tree was cut down and laying ready to be cut up into pieces. Now I know why I stopped to collect the seeds. I will not only have a beautiful palm tree but one from the big  palm tree that once stood majestically near the Peristyle in City Park making my painting even more cherished.

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PS:  The construction  is done. The area now has many trees and a beautiful open area with walkway and fountain. The old tennis courts next to it is a nice parking lot. The addition of many trees replaced the one large tree a fair exchange. April 4, 2011

The Piano and Chair Thursday, Apr 9 2009 

Piano and Chair


Once when I lived on Fig Street my neighbor was trying to give away an old piano. It wasn’t easy because they are so heavy and costly to repair no one wanted to bother with it. She was telling me all about it and I said I’ll take it. All I had were the electronic keyboards, it would be nice to have an old piano. Well I quickly learned why no one wanted to bother. I got it to the front sidewalk and had to call for help. My son and several of his friends arrived and we pushed it to my front steps then rested as going up was not easy. We made it up and set it inside with my old chair in the living room. A friend is a piano tuner and he came buy to tell me the poor old piano was too old and worn to bother tuning. So what, I couldn’t play well either so we were a perfect match.

I usually paint on a painting table that was set up across the room from the old piano and chair. One day I was painting the Mississippi Queen River Boat with a lot of detail and had to rest. As I looked off to rest my eyes I saw the old piano and chair with my shoes on the floor. To me it looked just like something Van Gogh would paint. He painted his room, chairs, shoes, almost anything that sat still. So I quickly sketched it onto an old piece of paper sitting on the table I used to clean off white paint from my brush, not thinking I would actually finish it. As I sketched then painted it started looking good until I began to shake. If I do not stop to eat I begin to shake from some sort of sugar problem. I finished the painting but was a little upset with the squiggley and shaking lines in it. I put it on the side went to eat and basically forgot about it. As I cleaned up the painting table from the original riverboat painting I saw the Old Piano and Chair so I put it in a cheap frame but did not hang it up. My son saw it and said he thought it was fine and the squiggley lines did make it look Van Gogh like. Maybe Van Gogh had a sugar problem? A friend stop by once and said it was her favorite. So I never really know what a painting would do or how it would affect someone. Mostly I paint for the fun of doing it. Oh, the Old Piano is no more we finally gave it away too, so I am glad I took a rest from painting that day and did the Old Piano and Chair.

Magnolia Tree At City Park Wednesday, Mar 25 2009 

  Acrylic painting on paper of a Magnolia Tree at City Park in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina.  The tree was destroyed by the hurricane and is no longer there. This painting is an interpretation of the Van Gogh “Chestnut Tree in Bloom”. Van Gogh painted his tree in 1890, this interpretation was done in 2003 by JK Schwehm, New Orleans artist. The artist did several interpretations of Van Gogh’s paintings using local New Orleans places. The print is sold on the web and can be purchased on cards and postcards at
 Many more prints, framed, canvas, smaller sizes at Fig Street Art Studio sold on the web and in the French Quarter at Arius Tiles on St Peter St.

Mississippi Queen Under The Hill in Natchez, MS Wednesday, Mar 25 2009 

Natchez is the oldest small town on the Mississippi river. Natchez was the first capital of the Mississippi Territory in 1798. Natchez Under The Hill was a boat landing established for the boats to unload and load. It was a rough spot with bars and boatmen for many years. In 1837 the merchants of the town of Natchez made an effort to clean up the area with the help of a storm finally the rough Under The Hill area tamed down. The Mississippi Queen was built in 1976 and has cruised along the mighty Mississippi river, it has been out of service but scheduled to begin trips  again soon. The painting was done from a photo taken while the boat was docked  Under the Hill taking on supplies.
The Mississippi Queen River Boat moored at Natchez, Ms under the Hill in 1998, painted by JK Schwehm, New orleans artist.  This acrylic painting can be purchased on the web printed on paper or canvas. The original not for sale it also appears on note cards and a book cover. Prints are available at

Prints on canvas available here-

Starry Night Riverboat print
Starry Night Riverboat by figstreetstudio
Browse all the other art on zazzle

Art Sales Tumble Friday, Mar 6 2009 

Listening to MSNBC and CNBC yesterday a commentator said to cut back on unnecessary spending, save, as things will get worse. I noticed with all the talk the last few months art sales have tumbled to about 40% of what they were last year this time. I am sure things are bad as we read about GM going belly up but I never did sell big ticket items that ate gasoline like I like to eat ice cream, several gallons a minute. I always lived responsible and never owned a big SUV gas guzzler, yatch, swimming pool, or condo in Spain. Although the condo in Spain does sound like a good idea now. My retirement acount is also about half its value now, but I am sure GW will have no problems with his retirement now. It feels good to point out to my friends all those wars cost us our savings, not his.
To combat the falling art sales I have discounted deeply and hope people see that art does not cost much, does not burn gasoline, sits comfortably on a wall and causes us to relax. Something we can do as our elected officials move forward to correct the past mistakes. I am turning off MSNBC and CNBC to save electricity in my part of cutting back. Only news I am interested in is art history and painting something new.  How about a portrait of your puppy?

Bourbon Street Is Not The French Quarter Friday, May 23 2008 

French Quarter Balcony

Often when I travel people ask if my art studio is on Bourbon Street? A lot of people who haven’t visited think the French Quarter is Bourbon Street with its bars, joints, noise, and unique smells. The French Quarter is the Old City. Founded by the French in 1718 and built by the Spanish noblemen on the labor of slaves. It is above sea level as it was located on a hill near the river in a swamp. Katrina did not flood the Quarter. The old buildings shook by the winds and were damaged but repaired for the most part are still in use. Bourbon Street is just one area. Royal Street is distinguished by its antique and art galleries. Some of the antique shops are world renown, not to mention a few of the artists too. Charters Street has eateries, some as famous as the Napoleon House of old and K-Pauls Kitchen of the new. I paint in the French Quarter from time to time. Some of my more bought prints are of French Quarter landmarks. Most weekends I am there doing one thing or another but rarely am I on Bourbon Street. The Quarter to most of us is a special place filled with history and music. Great food, wonderful old buildings and a place like not other. If you visit walk around the entire area and see for yourself.

Old Photos To Art Wednesday, Apr 18 2007 

For years for family and friends I have taken old photographs and transformed them in to art by painting compositions from the photo onto 8X10 watercolor paper. Once framed they become a work of art and cherished family heirloom. I often take time to also offer this service to the general public and would consider commissions from anyone with an interest in having an old photograph turned into a painting. This is no computer generated gimmick but a real painting so expect the prices to reflect the time and skill it takes to do a work of art. For more information and samples see

 Basically I take a photo and use part of it to create a composition to paint from. Using photo editing software I can crop then size and color an old part from a photo. The composition then becomes the “sketch” I paint from. Using family photos like the one above I have created some wonderful art.

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Lighthouses Remembered Tuesday, Mar 28 2006 

 West End Lighthouse

Hurricane Katrina damaged many buildings in the Greater New Orleans Area of those were the many famous lighthouses. I remember growing up at West End seeing the old lighthouse overlook Lake Pontchartrain in calm and stormy weather, now it lays toppled over. I do have many pictures of the light as I use photographs to paint from but I would love to know if the Historic West End Lighthouse will be repaired. I have other lighthouses on my paintings page linked below.

CAmp St. Light

Camp Street Lighthouse

Manchac Light

Manchac Lighthouse

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