Monday, July 21, 2014

Death of a Salesman

Here's something ...

And here's the same thing, cleaned up ...

Do the tighten-up.  James Brown.
I can't wait for that movie.
Me neither.  Owwwww!

Anyway, what I didn't photo-document, because I'd done all the painting before I remembered to go upstairs and get the camera, was Boris' transition from a really dark blue face to a really whitish-pink one.  Now we've come back to a sort of a middle ground.

What was lost in all the backing and forthing was the man's features.  Lost as in obliterated.  So now the features are starting to emerge again.  This time to stay.  And the cleaning up meant removing the grid lines from the canvas.  Obviously.

He's a nice looking man, upside down.
Thank you.  Nice of you to say.
Attention must be paid.  Willie Loman's wife.
I can't wait for that play.
Too late.  Somebody already wrote it.

Speaking of writing, I am reading something with the word salt in the title.  It's a fictional memoir of Gertrude Stein's Vietnamese cook in Paris in the 30s, with flashbacks to Saigon and vicinity as frequently as the author deems prudent.  Quite lovely, really.  I'd certainly recommend it if you're in the right mood.

Update:  The Book of Salt: A Novel, by Monique Truong.

What I'd also recommend is turning to FX on Sunday nights and watching The Strain, which is unique among vampire sagas in that nobody in the viewing audience (or the cast for that matter) wants to go to bed with either the handsome vampire or his beautiful victims (see: The Vampire Diaries and/or the Twilight series), since neither of those things exist.  The vampire appears to be about ten feet tall and looks more like a lizard than anything else.  And the victims appear to be pretty much run-of-the-mill folks who wander by at the wrong time.

Plus there are these extremely disturbing, blood-sucking worms that, honestly, you do not want to get one on you.

Next time we speak of The Strain, remind me to broach what I call the The Following Paradox.  Although it might not actually be a paradox.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Revisiting Recently Deceased

It is with considerable annoyance that I report that the date of this painting should be 7-16-14, not 6-16-14.  Ironic, perhaps, that the man painted dates and I managed to fuck up the date of his Eulogy Map.  Also, curiously, Kawara apparently didn't want the exact date of his death published.  Some reports peg the date as near the middle of June -- roughly a month ago.

Wouldn't it be cool if I nailed it?

Also, just so we're clear, I just photoshopped at random the white type from one of his paintings into the middle a dark pool I had floating around.  There is no significance to that date beyond the arbitrariness of cut and paste, although it is worth noting that on the 16th of September, 1975, the Pirates beat the Cubs 22-0.  Which is a whack to the side of the head, no question.  Assuming you're a Cub.

Rennie Stennett went seven for seven, which has to be some kind of a record.

Map of Troy

But I did finish this ...

Which, to see in person, is to see Marxism die.  I'm not fucking kidding, either.

There's a Summer Place

I love that song.  Lovely to hum as you stand barefoot in the grass slopping some Buff Titan onto Big Boris.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons?
The Lettermen, I think.  Maybe Andy Williams.

Regardless, I wanted to start spreading some color on the man's hair and, around the jaw and neck, do a bit of the tighten up with some gesso.

Surely that's the Four Seasons.
Dude!  James Brown.

Regardless, this is what it looks like ...

I'd do more, but I think it's fixing to rain.

The Buff Titan is a bit darker than I thought it would be, but that's okay.  It's a means to an end.  Just how even though his face was really dark when we last visited him, it's coming back to a normal color as we speak.  Likewise, just the way, when you're painting gray hair, the first thing you do is lay down a layer of black ...

Part of me says you should leave it like that.
The self-portrait?  
No.  Big Boris.
That's why you're the Greek Chorus and I'm the Painter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On Kawara, Recently Deceased

An artist I enjoyed.  Herewith, this from la fromagerie ...

Kawara's big thing was painting the date.  Here's an example ...

He never painted random or selected dates.  He only painted the date of the day he was making the painting.  If you're with me there.  Were it me and I had come up with the idea, I'd immediately paint something that looked like SEPT.30,1953 because I'm an egomaniac and that's my birthday.

Not so much my boy On.  And if he couldn't get the painting done before midnight of that particular day he destroyed it.  Which I admire.

There is a school of thought that says this is total bullshit.  But if you stood in a room filled with his date paintings it didn't feel that way.

Sometimes he'd throw in a blue one or a red one, but mostly he was a black and white guy ...

And if you bought one of his paintings it came is a lovely little wooden box, sometimes lined with newspaper clippings of the day he painted it.

Here's the chant from The 13th Warrior.   Skip to the 2:45 mark if you can't stand the Antonio Banderas cheeseball stuff ...


Actually it's rice.  Growing in paddies.  In Japan.  Full story here.  What a long strange trip that must have been ...

June Bug vs. Hurricane

I refer, of course, to the Lucinda Williams song on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.  Which surely must be one of the best albums of, well, ever.

I now call your attention to a Map of Troy painting in its early stages ...

The computer study for it is this ...

And someday it will look just like it.  But these days, since I have guests in my guestroom, I'm painting outside.  And there is something about a bright white canvas covered with wet paint that attracts bugs.

Which is annoying, since you lay down your coat of white and then watch the little motherfuckers just settle in.  Later when it's dry you smush their little dead bodies with your finger and they leave a little red streak.

Really fucking annoying.

Actually, it won't look like the study.  The black pools, or whatever they are, are vastly more compelling when rendered in paint.

So that's exciting.

Big Boris 2

When last we spoke we were here ...

 We're still there.  But now, armed with this ...

Buff Titanium.  As opposed to the big honking tube of Titanium White that every painter in the world owns.  The challenge with Big Boris is that he has white hair and he's painted on a white background.  I puzzled over this for a while, then, while shopping for some canvas stretchers, found the buff titanium tube.  Which is a kind of off-white.  Beige is a word, although it's such an ugly one I'm loathe to use it.

The point being that judicious applications of Titan Buff and Titanium White should get us moving in the right direction.

I believe my troubles are over.

Nice bedspread.
You think?
Sure.  Why not?
It's not my favorite.  I prefer a geometric.
Says a man who's never painted a straight line in his life.
Maybe it's overcompensation.

Update:  It's not called Buff Titanium.  It's called Titan Buff.  About which I have mixed feelings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Best TYOMP Post Ever

Here's a customer attempting to cancel his ComCast service.  Unbelievable.

It's such a nightmare that I couldn't stop listening.  It's 8 minutes long.

It makes Time Warner seem like a kindly uncle with a drinking problem.  That said, Dish TV, my current provider, remains the shittiest product in the world.

Best line:  "Is this like a joke?  Are you punking us right now?"

Full article here.

Am amused at this paragraph ...

Comcast says it's very, very sorry. "We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize," the company said in a statement.

I'm guessing the apology will come with ten minutes of hard sales pitch.

I also love that there's no confirmation number.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Also, did you happen to see that World Cup game?

The final?

Purists loathe the idea of penalty kicks.  Me?  I can understand that.  But you can't play forever, and by the 113th minute, or whenever it was that Mario Götze scored the winning goal in a manner so elegant as to make it the second best goal of the entire Cup, I was kind of hoping we'd go to the kicks.  I was watching it in a non-soccer bar (filled yesterday with pro-soccer people) and it would have been fun to hear everybody screaming over and over again.

Here's the winning goal in slow motion for your viewing pleasure ...

The other thing that happened to me yesterday was that, despite the rude saleswoman, I found a tube of just the right paint to make Boris Johnson's hair happen.

Le Tour ist finis

Zut alors.

First Chris Froome falls down one time more than he gets up.  Now, today, Alberto Contador, who inherited the favorite's spot from Froome, cracked the frame on his bike going down a hill, then cracked his tibia in the resulting crash.  Points to Contador, who's not my favorite guy, for riding another twenty minutes with a broken leg before abandoning the Tour.

It should be noted that Contador would be the first guy to have the Tour title stripped from him for doping, do his time (two years), and then come back and win the Tour again.  Which, before today, I thought he was going to do because I didn't think Vincenzo Nibali, henceforth referred to as Vinnie Nibs, had it in him to hold him off in the Alps.

But all that is over and the remaining eleven days or so should be a cakewalk for Mr. Nibs.

Which is okay.  The tour is about way more than the yellow jersey.  So don't turn away for even a minute.  There's Fabian (I am Spartacus) Cancellara in the time trial.  Marcel Kittles in the sprints.  Peter Sagan, the coolest bicycle racer on the planet, doing more or less everything.  Can Tejay van Garderen scratch and claw his way back into the top five?  Third maybe?  The competition for the bottom of the podium is way more interesting than the competition for the top.  We probably even
have time for one more long breakaway by Jens Voigt or Tommy Voeckler.

You know you've watched too many Tours when you have a favorite podium girl.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Boris Johnson

If you've never met the mayor of London, he looks just like this, upside down ...


There's a part of me that thinks it would be fun to leave his face like this, execute the hair, shirt, tie and shoulders, inscribe the title, sign the damned thing and be happy as a clam.  Because, in the end, don't we all look like this?  If we look closely enough?

I mean, Francis Bacon thinks people look like this ...

And I admire him very much.  You should see his studio.

Seriously, I bet if I just went into BigBoris and made some effort to identify the eyes, nose and mouth, then trimmed up the border of the face, it would almost work, in a sort of a way.

karma's a bitch

One can still hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth coming out of Brazil some days after Germany whacked their pee-pee so hard it almost fell off.

To which I say "Shut up!"

First of all, dude -- it's only a game.

Second, even if you don't believe that, the Brazilian debacle is nobody's fault but their own.  I've itemized the following for your convenience.

1 -- Brazil's junior sports organizations are a joke compared to, say, Germany's.
2 -- In the face of aging and reduced talent, they have abandoned the beautiful game they made famous and become thugs (It should be noted that Brazil committed more fouls than any other team in this World Cup).
3 -- The public outcry, led by the Brazilian coach, about the injury to Neymar completely ignores the fact that Brazil was playing a far rougher and dirtier game than Colombia in the game in which Neymar got injured, taking particular pains to mess with Neymar's counterpart James, who they almost turned into Hummus (pronunciation joke) with two particularly nasty fouls.
4 -- This same outcry, for the reasons noted above, just adds to the general hypocrisy (see: theatrical flopping) that surrounds world-class soccer in general and Brazil's in particular.

So stop whining, shut up and deal with it, Brazil.  Karma's a bitch.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Big Boris

I'm painting an inverted portrait of Boris Johnson, mayor of London.  Don't ask ...

I think it's going well.


I refer, of course, to Lars Boom.

No longer a relative unknown since he was the winner of today's remarkable Stage Five.  I can honestly say I can't remember a more amazing bike race.  Absolute carnage!  Wet cobblestones; traffic furniture; slippery Belgian concrete roads; big-name guys going down left and right; Chris Froome, the race favorite, hitting the deck so hard so many times that he finally abandoned the Tour.  Unbelievable.

Me?  I'm a bit bummed since I'm a Froome guy.  One now wonders whether the two minutes or so that Vincenzo Nibali has on Alberto Contador will stand up in the mountains.  I'm guessing no, but all sorts of interesting things are happening in this tour, including the likelihood of high finishes for two Americans.  So I'm sanguine.

Did I mention that Boom, like me, rides a Bianchi?  It is our only similarity as bike riders.