Monday, August 18, 2008

I'd love to paint your portrait...

I believe, as artists go, I am deeply misunderstood. Presumably every artist in the course of human events has believed the same thing. Except that for me it surely must be true.

That said, I thought it was worth mentioning that if, as they say, in the course of human events, I ever say to you, dear selected reader, some variation of the words: "I'd love to paint your portrait," you should know that I completely mean it. With my heart and soul.

I really mean it. Because if I didn't, I wouldn't have said it. Period. I mean, I know whereof I speak in this particular category.

Truth be told, it's a big pain in the ass to paint someone. I mean, it's hard. Really hard. Really fucking hard. I mean, it's easy enough to slap something out. But slapping something out is not what we are talking about here. What we are talking about is the task, the ordeal, the Sysiphisian act of pushing your particular boulder all the way up the fraking hill, then watching it roll back down, then pushing it back up, then watching it roll back down, etc... until I get the thing right.

Let's think of it in accounting terms: If I say to you that I'd like to paint you, I have already assessed the amount of work necessary to come up with a compelling image of you (which is the debit side) versus my interest in painting your portrait, and my belief that if I pull it off, the painting has about a fifty/fifty chance of ending up in your living room or on a wall in the Museum of Modern Art (which, obviously, is the credit side of the ledger). And, having done the math (sometimes in my head, under great timeframe-based duress; sometimes after considerable contemplation), I wouldn't have said "I'd like to paint you" if I wasn't ready to actually do it.

So, dear selected reader, if I said it, I meant it. Absolutely. You must simply tell me something along the lines of "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

Or, more simply: "Shoot me, Milly," (if people ever used this particular diminutive for Cecil B. DeMille).

Caveat number two (if we're counting):

A lot of times, when I tell people I want to paint them, I send them to this very site. This very one. Rational thinking leads me to conclude that this is a massive mistake. A grievous error. "Big mistake," as Julia Whatsername said in that movie she was in with Richard Gere to the sales girl in that Rodeo Drive shop.

Here's the bottom line: If I have said to you that I want to paint you, your job is to immediately stop reading this blog and look over at the right column, find the URL connection that says "My Current Portfolio" and click on that. Click on that and you can look at about thirty examples of my recent work. The work speaks for itself.

Likewise, if you want to send me an email, click on "Contact me." Under no circumstances should you continue reading here.

I repeat: Do not continue reading!

Because this, my dear friends--and by "this" I mean "The Year of Magical Painting, Season Three"--is an act of madness. It is, by way of public service, a window into the mindset that has yielded such now-famous paintings as "Big Maria 1 (plane too many)" and "The Annotated Spitzer." Presumably a good thing.

It is also, for good or bad, a window into the same mind that thinks "The Nipple Initiative" is a good idea (see below, if you must). A slightly scarier proposition.

Ditto "Cheerleader with Banana (Fallen Angel)."

Ditto a bunch of other stuff.

It might as well be a bit of the journal that crazy guy wrote right before he cut off his ear.

That said, if I wasn't a little bit crazy, do you think I'd be a painter? I mean, really!

So stop complaining about whatever weird stuff you might read here (since, according to the above instructions, you shouldn't even be reading this far) and say to yourself something along the lines of: "Yes, I'd like to be painted by someone whose dealer describes as 'the most prestigious portrait painter of the century' (although less than five minutes of clear thinking clearly tells you that he is, in fact, not)" or "No. The man's obviously a fruitcake."
How about something along the lines of this? How about if you say: "The man's obviously a fruitcake, but his dealer calls him 'the most prestigious portrait painter of the century' and she, hyperbole aside, is clearly no fool?
That sounds more like it.
I thought you might like that.
I do. It's a sort of acknowlegment of the yin/yang thing. That notion of where best to find greatness than in the lap of insanity.
Nicely said.
Exactly.
Did you learn that in Vietnam?
Maybe.
Is it a kind of a zen thing?
Zen is an overused word.
Yes it is. So is Thing.
Yes it is.

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