Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hitler appears to be all the rage

Really, how odd is this? I was going to post just this Hitler as a Diehard Cowboys Fan video as my last public outreach prior to going into my usual self-imposed pre-Super Bowl quiet period.



Then somebody sent me this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Here we are...

Well, here we are:

This is the studio prior to my embarkation onto the journey that is "Big Alan (What Fucking Bubble?) I". In fact, you can see the gessoed canvas on the right side.



This is a close-up of my Bernanke painting. Which, really, when I unrolled it after X number of months, looks fabulous--better than I remember. Very reminiscent of Soviet-era propaganda images. Bernanke as Lennin. Imagine. It's been getting a lot of positive comments.



You can see my resource image of Big Alan taped to the right side.

Which brings me to this, which, although not close to done, at least looks like the guy it's supposed to look like:



Which is a relief, let me tell you.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Breeow

I've been trying to figure out how to spell the sound you make when you see the picture below. I'm going with a combination of BreeAnne (if that's how you spell it) and Meow.

Breeow.

Not that this is important.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders

The episode of "So You Think You're Smarter than a 5th Grader" that I watched (if that's even the right name) featured about six of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders in place of a like number of what I assumed would have been 5th graders had they not been replaced by fully grown, beautiful-in-a-slightly-plastic-way women dressed in almost-pornographic outfits.



Brear! Briiiiiiiirng! I don't know how to spell that word. It's more of a sound than a word, anyway. What's the word for words like that? Onomanopia? Or something like that?

Anyway, one of the questions (which I must say made me respect 5th graders even more than I already do) asked: What is the singular form of the word "lice"? (As in head lice.)

All the 5th graders got it right. All the cheerleaders got it wrong.

You do the math, but this is certainly why sensible people are Giants fans.

Big Al

We used to call my father Big Al.

But in this case we are talking about Big Alan 1, or what might be referred to more accurately as "Big Alan (..."

And isn't that the question of the day?
We don't think that's the question of the day.
You don't?
No.
Then what is?
The question of the day is this: We know you've been painting the damned thing. When are we gonna see how it's coming?
Okay, that's a fair question. And the answer is a simple one. When I'm fucking done.

Which brings me back to the first question. But before we get to that, another: Does it bother you when I write words like "fucking" in the blog? Yes? No? I don't have to, but it does seem to crop up a lot.
Since when have you ever given a shit about what we think?
Maybe that's the question of the day.
Maybe so. But the point remains.
Okay. You're right. I don't give a shit what you think.
Then why bring it up?
I bring it up because it's part of the answer to the actual question of the day--that being: What is the full and complete name of the painting currently known as Big Al?

Here's what I'm leaning towards:
Big Alan (What Fucking Bubble?) I
What do you think?
Since when have you ever given a shit about what we think?
Never. But I am conducting a poll regarding the advisability of using a word like "fucking" as part of the painting's title. Yo--we're talking scrawled across the face of the fucking thing.
Do you have an alternative?
Of course I do. You think I'm crazy?
No comment. What's the alt?
Okay, you ready?
Breathless.
The alternative title is "Big (What Fucking Bubble?) Alan I"
That's your alternative?
Best one I could come up with.
Just switching the location of the parenthetical phrase? That's your alternative?
I'm a narrow thinker. I like a tight focus.
Okay.
Okay.
(looooong fucking pause)
Can I recommend one?
Sure. Knock yourself out.
How about: "Big Alan (What Freaking Bubble?) I"
Hmmm.
Or: "Big (What #@&%ing Bubble?) Alan I"
Both strong concepts.
Thank you.
You're thinking the location of the parenthetical phrase is not really crucial.
We are not.
I'm with you.
So what's it gonna be.
Dunno. Let me finish it first.
Is it going well?
Splendidly.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's Beer, Mon

Regarding the painting below, called "Green Stripe (Madame Matisse)":

1905 (165 Kb); Oil and tempera on canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm (15 7/8 x 12 7/8 in); Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen

In his green stripe portrait of his wife, he has used color alone to describe the image. Her oval face is bisected with a slash of green and her coiffure, purpled and top-knotted, juts against a frame of three jostling colors. Her right side repeats the vividness of the intrusive green; on her left, the mauve and orange echo the colors of her dress. This is Matisse's version of the dress, his creative essay in harmony.

Matisse painted this unusual portrait of his wife in 1905. The green stripe down the center of Amélie Matisse's face acts as an artificial shadow line and divides the face in the conventional portraiture style, with a light and a dark side, Matisse divides the face chromatically, with a cool and warm side. The natural light is translated directly into colors and the highly visible brush strokes add to the sense of artistic drama.

I do like the idea of the background on the windward side being different than that of the leeward. I might try that with Big Alan.


There's no crying in baseball

This, of course, is a line from Tom Hanks' character Jimmy Dugan to the at-the-time sobbing player in "A League of Their Own" played by Bitty Schram (most recently of "Monk," a show I don't watch). Have you seen pictures of Hanks' son, currently appearing or getting ready to appear in a movie of his own? Kind of fun.

Jimmy Dugan also says, approximately:
It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. The hard is what makes it great!
A reference, I believe, to hitting maybe 40 home runs in a season but which could just as easily be applied to painting portraits. I mean really, who wouldn't want to do this if they just could? It's the difficulty of the thing that keeps the throngs away, as near as I can tell.
Maybe it's the toll at the Throngs Neck Bridge.
Ha. If you don't mind, I'll do the humor.
Okay. Just taking a shot.
All by way of saying that my total and utter failure to render Erin Burnett in: a) a recognizable manner or, alternatively, b) a compelling one, must simply be shrugged off with the understanding that for every home run there are any number of fly-outs to third or strike-outs.

There is, as we say, no crying in the studio.

You think this shit is easy?



Simplicity, by the way, is the key to being really complicated. The king of that would, of course, be Matisse.

Quick Note: Just because Big Erin I was a disaster doesn't mean I'm not hard at work on Big Erin 2. Just for the record.

Simplicity is the key to being really complicated

Simplicity is the key to being really complicated.

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

This angers me, by the way. Nonetheless, it is what it is. One certainly wonders about the metrics involved (a word I hate, by the way, but am using in hope of receiving a higher grade the next time I "click here to find out."

A couple of thoughts:

a) I watched, for the first time, "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" Happily, it turns out that I am, by quite a margin, as near as I can tell.
b) Can you tell how a tree works by looking at it, or do you have to tear it down and cut it open before you figure it out?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

UNDACTED--if that's the right word

I did like this previously redacted passage, so I'm sharing it with you out of context. Undacted, if you will.
My plan? After I hit "publish post", I'm going to pull up iTunes, put my L.P., Leah Siegel and Brandi Carlile setlist on repeat, turn it up loud, lock the door to my bedroom, go into the bathroom, lock the door to my bathroom, turn the lights out, eat a snake, and then sit, quietly, in the dark, speaking in low tones to my new [REDACTED].

Do you remember that scene in "Fatal Attraction" when they cut to Glenn Close lying in bed, turning the light on and off, over and over again? It's the moment in the movie when you realize she's completely nuts?

This would be something like that, I suppose.

And if I get thirsty? I'm drinking out of the toilet, my friend.
I loved how the "eat a snake" line just came at you out of left field. Made me laugh just typing it.

Ditto that whole toilet business.
What's the point of redacting something and then publishing a lot of it five minutes later in a separate post?
The point, my friends in the Greek Chorus (and welcome back, by the way), is that I don't mind people thinking I've lost my mind. What I mind is them thinking I've lost my mind and I am armed and dangerous. Two very different things.
Do you know what that snake thing reminded me of?
No.
It reminded me of the way John Constable used to use red.
I understand what you are trying to get at. But it has nothing to do with that.
I know. But just sort of?
Yeah. Sort of.

And furthermore...

The whole idea about being a painter (other than, obviously, the fact that it's a pathetic cry for attention) is to shake things up, encourage new ways of looking at things, re-interpret the world in your own disfunctional way. Sometimes this includes shocking and upsetting people.

The whole reason why I eventually painted "Cheerleader with Banana (Fallen Angel) 1" was because of the way people reacted whenever (literally, whenever) I said the words "Cheerleader with Banana." Funny how things turn out for the best, because I really like the painting. I may not make it into a series, but I like the painting.

(I also may turn it into a series. The jury is out. If the models weren't such a pain in the ass, it'd be easier.)

Likewise, Eric telling me that painting something called "The Enunciation of Joseph" would be a career-killer sent me literally sprinting for the studio.

Anyway, all this by way of saying that we live in a world populated by idiots, nitwits and small-minded literal thinkers. Truth be told, I'm not so bothered by the idiots and nitwits. Hey--nobody's perfect. But small-minded literal thinkers are deeply and profoundly the enemy of artistic expression. And, for good or for bad, this blog is one of what one might call my two-prong effort at artistic expression.

And besides, you have to be careful what you say on the web. Otherwise, if you find yourself running for office some day, Republican black-ops guys like my cousin Allen will quote some crazy thing you wrote on your website and you won't get to be President.

The irony of which is palpable, given just who does get to be President.

Anyway, all by way of saying that I've deleted much of two recent posts. I say this without anybody having said even a peep. Okay--one person, but only because I asked. But I was googling a couple of categories with me in the heading and you would be amazed what kind of stuff from TYOMP just pops up. So I'm not entirely comfortable with my fictitious account of buying a [REDACTED] and heading to the studio with it appearing, for some reason, as the first item you get when you google moi.

So if you read them intact, I hope you got a chuckle. If you are catching up, surely this is a lesson to you that if you don't stay current you miss the good shit.

I've Rolled Up Big Erin

I've rolled up Big Erin.

Since I never really had a [REDACTED], I couldn't shoot the goddamn thing full of holes, so I just rolled it up instead. I'm gonna take some time off from Erin and start painting Alan.

We'll see how we do.

Sick Day

Sick day. No fun for you, dear reader; no self-deprecating humor; no excruciatingly bad paintings-in-process; no ruminations on the relative merits of the abyss; no snakes to eat or [REDACTED] to shoot.
Wow, bummer.
Exactly.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The FTC Weighs In...

[REDACTED--if that's the right word]


Signed: The artist formerly known as the portraitist to the financial elite but now called, simply, the numbnuts who can't paint Erin Burnett.

Just between the two of us...

Just between the two of us--you, the collective singular, and me, the artist formerly known as the portraitist to the financial elite and now known as that numbnuts that can't paint Erin Burnett--I have to tell you there are limits to the amount of abuse a painting can heap on a painter. I mean, isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

Anyway, here is where we are:



I mean, really. It's getting embarrassing. It's so embarrassing that it's probably making you uncomfortable. Which, let me tell you, makes two.

I will say this: the painting invariably looks better, more Erin-like, in person. Fact is, they all look weird when photographed. But this one takes the weirdness one step further down the line.

[REDACTED--if that's the right word]

This is where we stand now

This is where we now stand:



I am buoyed (two syllables) by the raccoon eyes and the revamped mouth. The windward eye (on the right side of the picture--windward, in this case, referring to the side of the painting closest to the light source). Disregard all that stuff from several posts ago about the surrogate nipple, etc. I may be able to pull this out of the fire.

You will also note the change in background from a couple of versions ago. I originally tried to interpret her traditional set background with its blue and orange rectangles, but I decided it was just a visual annoyance. Better we should focus on the matter at hand.

Next? I'm rethinking her hair. Long, straight hair is particularly difficult to render with the drip technique. Still, I'm not happy with where we are.

Life in the Center of the Universe

I have, for reasons too complicated to elucidate, chosen to watch every New York Giants post-season game at what many believe is the center of the universe--the Peter McManus Cafe.

Thus I found myself there last night, witnessing the miracle that is Big Blue. And it was absolutely fabulous. At the end of the game, people were screaming and shouting and jumping up and down. I used it as a chance to steal a couple of wallets. Plus some celebrating.

But, all that said, it is worth noting that the intensity of last week's celebration at the whupping of the Dallas Cowboys was more fevered than last nights. Because, dear reader, there is only one thing half as good as messing around in boats, and that's beating Dallas.

Bring on the Super Bowl.

We are not afraid

We are not afraid. We've been afraid before, so we know the experience. But we are not afraid...as noted here:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paint it black


What's that song you're humming.
Early Stones. Called "Paint It Black."
I am not surprised. My guess is that the elation you were feeling a day or so ago has passed and the grim spector of abject failure is clanking its chains around like the ghost of Christmas Past.
Something like that.
Senior Buendia is going to kick your ass when he sees this painting.
Who the hell are you, anyway? And where's the Greek Chorus?
They asked me to step in. My name is Remedios.
Really? And that would mean what to me?
Suffice to say, you ignorant gringo, that I'm a friend of Sr. B. And he's going to shoot you with his musket when he sees that picture. Man, that is one scary chick, Senior.
A little bit, yes. I have to admit. But if Sr. B shoots me with his musket, who's going to finish the painting. I mean, he won't want it like this.
He's gonna shoot you from a close distance, just to send you a message. The bullet will pass completely through your body, miraculously missing all the vital organs. Then, in order to keep you alive, he will dip a length of rope in iodine, poke it through the hole in your chest, I will grab the other side and we will, together, Senior Buendia and I, run the rope back and forth, sterilizing your wound and reminding you that he is not a man to be trifled with.
Crikeys, that sounds unpleasant.
It will hurt like a motherfucker, you ignorant gringo.
Is there anyway to avoid such a scenario?
Duh...
I'm sorry, I don't follow.
How about making the painting look like the person you are supposed to be painting.
And you think I haven't been doing just that?
Not as near as I can see.
Okay, how about this one:

Hey, where are you going?
I am going to load Senior Buendia's musket.
Wait. What about this:

Hmmm. You may be on to something with the raccoon eyes. Although I think the eyes themselves may be too widely spaced. Still, on the strength of this, Senior, I will not mix salt in with the buckshot. But as I am still loading the gun, I would describe your timeframe as limited.
Has anyone ever told you that you are really, almost excruciatingly attractive.
Ha! I was warned of such an eventuality. I was warned that the gringo would attempt to exercise his considerable charms on me.
Perhaps you'd be interested in having your portrait painted.
Nothing I've seen so far makes me interested in that, I can assure you.
Your skin is the color of ripe olives.
Really? And is that a double chin or has a small dog attached itself to your neck?
You are really the most unpleasant person I've met in a while. And, for the record, you're not that hot. Look at your stomach. Ever heard of a sit-up.
I'm pregnant.
Really?
Really.
And where, just out of curiosity, is the Greek Chorus. I think I like them better.
They are at a local union meeting. They're thinking about picketing "Sweeney Todd, The Movie." Which is not without irony, since your most recent version reminds me of Helena Bonham Carter.
Really?
Really.

Friday, January 18, 2008

And furthermore...

I forgot to weave 'Yes, to dance beneath the diamond skies, silhouetted by the sea...' into the closing elements of the last post.
Sure you're in a good mood now. Wait til you get to the studio and look at that goddam painting in the cold light of morning. Morning, in this case, being defined as quarter after two. You'll be singing "Paint it Black."
Shut up.
No you.
No you.
U.
U.
Senior Buendia is gonna kick your ass when he sees this painting.

A corner has been turned

A corner has been turned.

I'm not sure it's THE corner, but clearly, during the process of erasing Ms. Burnett's eyes and re-installing them (like they were appliances) about half an inch lower on the canvas, a corner was turned. And, given that the big sign on the street onto which we have turned says "One Way", there is no going back. Likewise, driving around the block is not an option.

It is now a completely different painting--for good or for bad. I wish I had a picture. I will by this evening. Until then, consider the following set of parameters:

1--Big Erin is now looking down, red-eyed, possibly crying
2--Purples and blues and now much more in evidence, particularly in the shadows on the side of her face and neck
3--She is now called "Distraught Erin (Lavender Mist)"--which is a title I like.
4--Replacing the previously planned copy which went approximately like this:
If I see that idiot Cramer stare down my dress one more time I'm gonna freak out
will read a far longer message, circling the perimeter of the painting, perhaps twice, proceeding, approximately, along these lines:
You think this job is easy? Constant public scrutiny ... a new hair-do every freaking day ... a parade of creeps staring at my ass ... and the idiot who's painting me insists on calling my lavaliere a surrogate nipple! What's up with that? Sheesh.
It may not all fit, and it may be a bit much after I think about it for a while (some fine-tuning is bound to happen), but it does make me smile.

Manomanoman, I am feeling the wind in my hair, dear reader! I'm like that annoying Leo DiCaprio in "Titanic." I'm standing on the bow; all I can see is water and seagulls; I've got my arm around Kate Winslett (and really, how hot is she? You should smell the perfume she's wearing.); the iceberg is still a number of miles away; and I--channeling Yurtle the Turtle in my own special, disfunctional way--am King of the World.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It wasn't James Brolin...

It wasn't James Brolin. It was that guy who played Batman. And was in American Psycho. Christian Bales.

See:



The only reason I'm showing you this stuff, dear reader, is that readership polling tells me that you, to a man, are the type of small, petty person who rejoices in other's misfortunes.

So go ahead.

Here, by the way, we are looking a bit like Gina Gershon:



This is really embarrassing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yo Jose. Sup?

There are many of you who think I just sit around, paralyzed with the ecstasy of being a Giants fan, having spent Sunday evening through Wednesday noon savoring the historic drubbing of the hated Dallas Cowboys, then anticipating spending Wednesday afternoon through Sunday afternoon slavering in anticipation of whupping the Packers--literally drooling so hard I can hardly type for fear of short-circuiting my keyboard--prior to legging it to the Pete McManus Cafe for the actual viewing.

Well, if that's what you thought, you were wrong. Ha.

No. I've been hard at work on my portrait of Erin Burnett. (This in addition to brainstorming "The Enunciation of Joseph"--how much multi-tasking can one man reasonably do?) Anyway, commissioned by a trader from Philadelphia, the thinking is that the Burnett painting will nicely complement the portrait of Maria Bartiromo that he bought a couple of months ago. Since, according to a recent count, roughly a million people read TYOMP, I won't give you his actual name. I mean, who needs to have nut-jobs jumping out of the bushes asking to see Big Maria? Instead, for purposes of this line of posting, I will assign him the name of Jose Arcadio Buendia.

Yo, Jose. Sup?

I am working from two separate photos of Ms. Burnett. They are this one...



which I am using more as an exploration of her shimmering solar plexus, if you will. (I am also amused at the notion of the lavaliere mic functioning as a nipple surrogate.) And this one...



which I am using as the primary image. Man, is she hot. Plus, she really just screams "excellent hygiene," doesn't she? I'd love to know the name of her eye-shadow. I bet it's Lavender Mist.

(Quick aside: did you know there's not a trace of lavender in Pollock's "Lavender Mist.")

Now, before I go any further, let me warn you that the early going is filled with frustration, anxiety... etc. The very embodiment of the experience that has taught me not to keep loaded handguns in the studio.

Anyway, here we go:



I carumba, Jose. Your painting of Big Erin is so hot I've had to use fans to keep it from self-immolation. Muy caliente, Senior.



Here we see Big Erin cropped in tight, right after some initial background was added to the pencil sketch.

One of the many problems I've been having with the painting is that Big Erin has a tendency to look like anybody other than Erin Burnett. Here, she has chosen Loni Anderson. She has also spent some time looking like my friend Earl's wife, Lori. Which is a lovely thing to look like unless you are supposed to look like Erin Burnett. Currently she's looking a lot like James Brolin. Which, let me tell you, is a real problem.

(I mean, if she just kept looking like Lori, I could have finished her up and mailed her to Earl, saying something like, "Hey, here's your wedding present--a beautiful painting of your wife," then gone back to the drawing board to complete the commission. But James Brolin. I mean, who am I going to send that to? Barbra Streisand? Who I can't stand? Oy gevalt.)

I would simply warn you that it is still early in the process. And remind you that (and granted, the techniques for the two paintings are completely different--obscured box vs. straight drip), Big Lloyd 2 once looked like this:



And it's gonna make me a ton of dough (I'm hoping). So let's everybody just calm the hell down.

We are much farther along than this, let me also say. And we have "come to our senses" more than a couple of times already. So, were this Blog a participatory activity rather than a passive, albeit thrilling, reading experience, your job would be to jump to not even one single, solitary conclusion based on what you've seen.

But I don't want to share all at once. This will do for now.

I'm building suspense.

Which you have to love.








Oy, I can't stand it.

New York Magazine writes...

Aren't the people at Intelligencer (New York Magazine) as nice as they could possibly be. For your reading pleasure, here is what they threw down last week:
Artist Geoffrey Raymond, who has in the past peddled larger-than-life paintings of Maria Bartiromo, Dick Grasso, and Rupert Murdoch on Wall Street, was out on the Street today with his latest work, a portrait of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein titled Big Lloyd II (Now More Than Ever). The painting, an acrylic rendering of a smiling, multicolored Lloyd ("an excellent example of Mr. Raymond's drip technique," according to the artist's statement) with the words "Big Lloyd I (.6 Billion)" lingering in the space above it, is indeed big, at four feet, five inches. It is available on eBay at a starting price of $3,999. "I painted it in acknowledgment of Mr. Blankfein's stewardship of Goldman Sachs through a recently difficult environment on Wall Street," sayeth the artiste. "It is either homage or fromage — whichever isn't the cheese." So far, there are no bids.
They did screw up a couple of details which, I think, they fixed in later editions. Those, most notably, would be their confusion with the names of the two Lloyd paintings, and the inaccuracy regarding the painting's size.

However, those who read these pages closely will smile at the next to last line. Me? I'm saddened to report that the last line proved to be prophetic. It did not sell.

Which is not to say that it won't. It just didn't.

That whole shirt business with the photographer

Regarding that whole shirt business with the photographer, this is about the point at which I asked her if she would like me to take it off. My shirt only, as I remember, was the offer.



Nice picture, brought to you by Lisa Carpenter. I wish she'd sent me a bigger file because I know you guys like to print this stuff out and put it on your walls, but this is what we have.

Still, there's no denying the potent sexuality of the image--a blending of frank eroticism with what one might call a highly sensitized fin de siecle elegance. I'm shooting for a feature in New York Magazine's "50 most eligible bachelors" issue. If you are divorced, do you then become a bachelor again? I'll have to ask my attorney.

All that said, I might have repositioned my windward hand.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My man Gussie

Does the name Gussie Fink-Nottle mean anything to you? Wikipedia notes (and really, who would imagine that Gussie Fink-Nottle would have his own Wikipedia entry?):
Augustus "Gussie" Fink-Nottle is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, being a lifelong friend of Jeeves's master Bertie Wooster, and a possible member of the Drones Club. Described as "a teetotal bachelor with a face like a fish", he wears horn-rimmed spectacles, and devotes his life to the study of newts.
The answer to the opening question is, actually, immaterial. Because we are here, dear readers, not to discuss my man Gussie Fink-Nottle, but rather, my man Gussie Klimt. Gustav to many. An actual person, who also warrants a Widipedia entry, a portion of which goes like:
Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Art Nouveau (Vienna Secession) movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches and other art objects, many of which are on display in the Vienna Secession gallery. Klimt's primary subject was the female body,[1] and his works are marked by a frank eroticism--nowhere is this more apparent than in his numerous drawings in pencil (see Mulher sentada, below). These female subjects, whether formal portraits or indolent nudes, invariably display a highly sensitized fin de siècle elegance.
For the record, I very much like the idea of the use of that last sentence to describe my work. As far as frank eroticism is concerned, I think he had the house two doors down when I was growing up on the Jersey shore. The other side of the Shelbys. I think I dated his sister Maxie.

Anyway, all this talk of "Hey Joe..." makes me think of Gustav Klimt.

Take a look at this:



Now turn it upside down. One is an angel. One is my boy Joseph. Crop about 25% off both the left and right sides. Something like this:



Take into account that in my painting they won't be kissing. And the copy scrawled across the upper half. And, by Jove, I think we have it. Sort of.

What there is to love about Klimt, among many other things, is the way relatively realistic faces emerge from relatively abstract backgrounds--for lack of a better word.

To this very point, check these bad boys out:



(Disclaimer--even though the above photo looks like it, this painting is not just hanging on a wall in my house waiting for me to snap it's picture.)



One of my many failings is that, in the face of such greatness, I can't help myself but to make a joke or two. The obvious one here would focus on the fact that he obviously had access to a better brand of hallucinogens than I.
If I could get some acid like that, I could really paint.
That, my friend, is a slippery slope.
What do you know? You're just the Greek Chorus.
Exactly. It's my job to know shit like this.
Okay. Let's change subjects. How did you feel about them taking the "Sweeney...Sweeney Todd" number out of "Sweeney Todd, the Movie"?
Don't even get me started on "Sweeney Todd."
What's that--like a union thing?
Exactly.
The Greek Chorus union? What's that--like Local something something something?
Exactly.
Anyway, the middle one above has always been one of my favorite paintings. And it is this whole realistic/abstract blend is what we are shooting for with "Hey Joe..."

Kind of a Gustav Klimt/Jackson Pollock fusion.

URGENT! READING THIS POST MAY CAUSE YOU TO RECONSIDER YOUR THINKING ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD, MAN, THE UNIVERSE AND...

...THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES OF CREATING COMPELLING REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGES BY THROWING PAINT OFF THE END OF A TEN CENT STICK.

All of which by way of preparing you for the fact that, literally, the moment I pushed the "post" button on the previous post, up pops "Hey Joe" on iTunes.

LITERALLY.

You do the math.

Me? I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady.

The fine art of self-destruction

I was discussing my thoughts about a painting titled "The Enunciation of Joseph" with my friend Eric the other day. He, it should be noted, like most of the readers of TYO... , is a heathen savage. Which he will live to regret ... although not exactly.

The concept is roughly this: Theo-historically speaking... Thistorically speaking...
Thistorically? Shit, I've made up my own word!
Pretty cool word, my friend.
I should notify the Vatican.
I'm sure they'll take your call.
I don't see why they wouldn't.
Anyway, thistorically speaking, the Enunciation of Joseph is when God sends an angel to tell Joseph that the reason his wife (Mary) is pregnant is a bit more complicated than his current working theory, and that he should remain calm.

So I'm envisioning a vertical painting--perhaps six by three (I can just peel CWB(FA)1 off its stretchers)--in which the bottom half depicts the heads of both the angel and Joseph (this would be Joseph getting The Word.) and the top half depicts, in a manner as yet undetermined, a combination of angel wings and the cosmos. Scrawled across some portion of this top half will be (specific typographical still TBD):
"Hey Joe. Where you goin' with that gun in your hand?"
At which point Eric blurts out, "Don't do it. It's a career killer!"
He said it's a career killer? Those exact words?
Yes.
Odd.
That's what I thought.
Did you tell him about the strippers?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did.
And?
I don't think he fully got it.
Perhaps it would help if you explained.
Well, okay. I suppose that some of his concern is that, in this polarized world, I get characterized as a nutjob, a religious zealot, some combination of the two.
I think the cat may be out of the barn on item one.
Perhaps so. Anyway, given that this is, from a purely marketing standpoint, a legitimate concern, I've positioned my series of stripper paintings as what one might call an analog (analogue?) of a hedge fund, back when hedge funds were actually hedge funds.
A kind of yin-yang thing? Fathead Minnow as a renaissance man kind of a thing? A deep thinker? A deeeeeeep fucking thinker who explores, through his art, a wide range of things, not the least being the relationship between the theological and the secular in this complicated world? Something with that kind of a feel?
Exactly. Not so different from the intention behind that painting of St. Joan that you like so very much.
The one where she appears to be having a massive orgasm?
She's receiving the spirit of the Lord.
Oh.
So you can take down the copy you keep next to your bed.
I'm not comfortable talking about that. Besides, this isn't about me. I'm just the Greek chorus. What are you going to do?
Me? Well, nothing taps into my own personal set of disfunctions more than somebody telling me that what I'm about to do will kill my career. I'm heading for the studio.
Hallelujah, brother! And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Subject/verb agreement

Close readers will recognize a causal relationship between the time a post goes up (and, sometimes, the nature of the event being posted about) and the general quality of grammar in the post.

A specific example is last night's post about going bananas at the PMC after the Giant game in which appears the following:
My interest in LSU is recent and the depths of my fervor is, as yet, to be determined.
I apologize. Upon reflection, I would have used the singular "depth" instead of "depths." Second, I certainly would not suggest that "depths...is" represents good, clean English.

I apologize again. Given my whole-hearted participation in the going-bananas business, and everything that entailed, it's a miracle I even posted anything, much less something at least partially cogent.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

And, of course, a birthday greeting to my archivist, Patrick

And, of course, a birthday greeting to my archivist, Patrick.

Bananas

A couple of notes inspired by the NY Giants' victory over the Dallas Cowboys:

a) Fuck the Dallas Cowboys. If ever there was a more loathsome sports team please let me know. They deserve everything they get, if for no other reason than the clothes that buffoon Deion Sanders insists on wearing. Don't even get me started on his collar.

My mother, God rest her soul, could barely say the words Roger Staubach without spitting. Such was the passion she communicated to me regarding the Cowboys. I am proud to carry the flag forward.

b) It was a real pleasure to be standing at the bar at what some people consider to be the center of the universe, the Peter McManus Cafe, jumping up and down and hugging both dear friends and complete strangers as the bell sounded on Giants 21, Dallas 17.

The place literally went bananas. Bananas. I was surprised that the people I knew who were wearing guns (at least two, personally, and several others by sight) didn't shoot them off.

I would throw an additional kudo the way of the L.S.U. SwampCats--or whatever they are called--for stomping Ohio State big-time. My interest in LSU is recent and the depths of my fervor is, as yet, to be determined.

Me? I always wanted to go to Ole Miss, just because of the name. I am a sucker for southern girls.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Now THAT is an article

As readers of these pages know, no one impresses me more than myself. That said, I am also impressed by my new best friend, Andrew Clark, and his take on my Lloyd Blankfein painting in what I call the Manchester Guardian but which may be more properly called The Guardian.

This from the article (which can be found here):



To be honest, I'm slightly better looking than this. I think Ms. Carpenter (see previous post) was shooting with a slightly-wider-than-normal lens, which adds a curvature to my face vaguely reminiscent of a banana.

Likewise, his description of me as a "slightly scruffy, mildly eccentric artist" holds, I believe, no water. Other than, perhaps, the slightly scruffy part. And anyone closely associated with The Year of Magical Painting would, I am certain, testify under oath that "mildly eccentric" is by now a dot in the rear-view mirror.

These, of course, are quibbles.

My favorite part is that Clark's series is called "On America." I find it soothing that somebody believes, if only for one bright shining moment, that readers of The Guardian (which number in the millions, surely), when it comes to matters American, need more than anything to know about me and my painting.

I should buy that boy a beer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's grueling on Wall Street

It's grueling on Wall Street. Thus the dearth of posting. I don't know how people do it every day. Plus, having been crucified by Dealbreaker.com, it's doubly hard to type with my hands nailed to this cross.

That said, I am so fond of Dealbreaker that if they told me to substitute shit for my shampoo I would ask them how long I should leave it in for maximum conditioning. They've been that supportive.

So a little nastiness is probably a good thing.

Plus, if the alternative is stony silence then...

Hmmmm, I am liking the quiet.

Tomorrow, the Manchester Guardian runs a blurb on me. Remind me to tell you about the photo shoot. It was like being Giselle Bundchen. I even, at one point, asked the photographer if she wanted me to take my shirt off.

As I said this, I was sprawled across the steps of a building cat-a-corner (however one spells that) from the Exchange. I haven't seen the shots yet, but my guess is that I'm in the foreground, the painting is over my right shoulder and the columns of the NYSE, lit as the American flag, over my left.

Check that. I'm guessing that my double chin is in the foreground, I'm sitting somewhere behind it, the painting is over my right shoulder, etc.

She said no, by the way.

To the whole shirt thing. But at least twenty people stopped to watch. Maybe ten. But plenty. The only thing that kept if from really being a photo shoot was the lack of a make-up artist.

I will say this: the photographer has an impressive website. Lisa Carpenter. I was impressed by the other people she's shot. I mean, we're talking Nicole Kidman. And, ironically, Maria Bartiromo. I am so air-kissing Big Maria the next time I see her and asking if she's heard from Lisa lately. I mean, the mind reels.

Plus, for the record, Slash, Joan Didion and that kid with the sharks in formaldehyde and the diamond skull--three individuals with connections to The Year of Magical Painting.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Big Lloyd hits the street

Actually it is I who am hitting the street, my painting titled "Big Lloyd II (Now More Than Ever)" carefully rolled and tucked under my arm.

This is it:



If, as is sometimes the case in situations like this, you are new to The Year of Magical Painting, I would first and foremost, APOLOGIZE FOR EVERYTHING YOU MIGHT READ THAT WILL EITHER OFFEND YOU OR LEAVE YOU WITH THE FIXED BELIEF THAT I AM A NITWIT.

Second, if you are interested, you should see the painting in person. I will be in and around the Wall Street area this week, weather permitting, usually at lunchtime. The picture looks, to my mind, just barely okay on my shiny, large screen, late model Mac.

However, to see it in sunlight is to see Marxism die. As they say.

The eBay listing goes up at Noon today (Monday) and bidding ends exactly one week later. Feel free to bid as often as you like. If you have questions, you can contact me through the link on the right side of the blog or through eBay's email function.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

What people tell me that creates annoyance:

People tell me a ton of shit. But the thing that annoys me the most, other than an unwillingness to purchase my paintings, is people who read TYOMP from the top down. I mean, this a complicated thing. For lack of a better term, an epic poem.

Here's an idea. Pick up "Sir Gawaine and the Green Night" (I like J.R.R.Tolkein's version) and try reading that from back to front. Or "Beowulf."

Then get back to me.

Likewise The Year of Magical Painting. Log on, then scroll down to either the bottom of the page or that point on the page that physically sits above something you know you have read. Embrace the narrative in the direction in which it was meant to be read. Continue up the page until you are current.

Man up, in a non gender-specific way.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Wow, what a night

I'm just recovering.

The whole thing reminded me of one of those Beatles songs, although I can't remember which one.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A Positive Thought...

I know you people think I walk around in a heliotrope haze, very much in touch with the sort of darkness that is most easily located at the edge of town. But hey, I have positive moments too.

Here's one.

Do you remember this painting? Called "The Lamentations of St. Agnes", I painted it about five years ago.



I may have said at one point on these very pages that to have painted that face was enough--I could now die in peace. I probably linked it with that really overworked story about the Rangers fan with the sign.

And now, lo these many years later, I find that I've painted this face--shown here as a detail cropped out of "Cheerleader With Banana (Fallen Angel) II".



Both have that Just-got-out-of-Vietnam/Teutonic-existential-angst/
You-think-being-Captain-of-the-Cheerleaders-is-easy/combo pack thousand-yard stare.

It's nice to know that you've still got it. I'm gonna tell the boys at McManus next time I see them.

The FTC Weighs In

Got a certified letter from the Truth in Blogging Department of the Federal Trade Commission calling into question the veracity of the previous post. Quick, I thought, given I only put it up last night.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details but after demanding a retraction of what they termed an "obviously false" post, they added:
"No woman as hot as Julia Allison would try to pick you up at a party. And we don't care what bogus school of painting you cooked up.

All the best, The FTC."
So okay--I just made it up. And I pulled the video from Julia Allison's blog--which I visit every once in a while when I'm really bored.

Truth is, I just put it in to try to impress my daughter, who, unlike, I'm guessing, you and me, or just you, rather, knows who Julia Allison is.

FYI--She is thought, in some circles, to be the most annoying media person in the world. Ms. Allison, not my daughter. This I don't understand. I find her charming, albeit perhaps a bit needy. Maybe I'll ask my daughter.

Anyway, I made it all up.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Years

I think this is footage from the party I was at on New Years. I could be wrong but that girl who keeps popping up in the lower left side later tried to pick me up, but I told her I was still upset about the girl I used to see and would she please go away.

She said she'd just broken up with her boyfriend too.

I said I was sorry, but that I still had paint on my hands from finishing up Big Lloyd 2.

Then she said, and I'm quoting directly: "You're not the guy who invented the Obscured Box Technique?"

At which point I shrugged sheepishly.

At which point she said "No fucking way."

At which point I said "Way."

At which point she left me alone.


Julia's New Years Countdown from Julia Allison on Vimeo.

Upon reflection, I may have misplayed that one.

Obscured Box Tutorial No. 11

Pay close attention, you completists, because this may get complicated, particularly towards the end where we start renumbering the squares.

These are boxes 9-12 when the painting was first unwrapped.



These are the same boxes in the finished painting.



Interesting.

At least to me.

Likewise, albeit somewhat more initially disastrous, here are boxes 13-16--otherwise referred to as "the mouth." I'm not sure why that's in quotes. I mean, it is his mouth...



And here are what one might call boxes 13, 14a, 14b, and 15:



Having come through this rather difficult moment:


(Two quick parenthetical thoughts: a) it takes a big man to admit he is wrong, even when the evidence is staring him in the face, and b) this is one of those moments other than at the beginning when we actually do use a paintbrush.)
Obviously 14a and b are now one box. We just couldn't sort it out otherwise and come up with a convincing image.

The final result is, of course, this:



Having evolved over the space of a number of days from this:



I'm buoyed by next week's weather report--which, by the way, I pronounce with two syllables.
What? Weather, or report? And really, who doesn't?
No. I'm talking about buoyed.
Really?
Yeah. A lot of people pronounce it like it was spelled Boyd.
There's a pretty fine line, don't you think?
If you are pronouncing buoy, do you say boy?
Fair enough.

Once more into the breach

The weather suggests that next week may be my window of opportunity for taking Big Lloyd II public. The very thought of it makes me smile.

I do love, you see, the very act of standing outside on a nice day watching people look at my paintings. My favorite part is when they look, then start to walk away, then stop and look again. I also like it when they take pictures of it with their cell phones.

You've seen this photo before, I think:



It is the moment in a nutshell.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

It's 1:57 am

It's almost two. I had dinner at a restaurant in Little Italy that, for reasons I can't fathom, permitted smoking. It was like living in Blacksburg, Va.--a thought that makes the mind reel.

I probably had a good deal to say but I've forgotten it.

It must have had something to do with the Virginia Cavaliers, up fourteen at the half, dropping the Gator Bowl to a bunch of rednecks from Texas.

Remind me to tell you it's two o'clock.

I, like the English Muffin I had for breakfast, am toasted. Completely. Almost blackened, if we're talking metaphors.

I'm blackened. I'm channeling that guy who sang "Mammy." I'm that toasted. Plus, for the first time in about three weeks, I've not been to the studio. You may think twenty or so consecutive days would speak for itself. Me? I'm disappointed. Had hoped to string together a few more.

Remind me to tell you about the steak I never got at Lmos.

It's 10:52 and I'm playing Thunder Road

The screen door slams
Mary, dressed, waits...
You know the rest. It seems like a good way to start a new year.

Anyway, it's almost eleven on New Year's Day. The plan is to take a shower, then take the F Train to the Peter McManus Cafe for purposes of eating lunch and watching the Virginia Cavaliers eat the Texas Tech Roughriders, or whomever comes from Texas Tech.
I've got this guitar and I've learned how to make it talk.
Actually what I have is a Christmas present from my Goddaughter Katie--a bottle opener that plays the Virginia fight song. I will also be sporting a bright orange Virginia hooded sweatshirt, a gift from my daughters.

Life is good. I'm trying to decide whether I should shave or not. I'm thinking that perhaps a fiercer demeanor for the game might be best.

This, by the way, is a town for losers. Me? I'm blowin' out of here to win.



And Maria's coming with me. I love girls with big heads.