Friday, March 30, 2012

This just in...

Giving my boy Lucas the cheese:

I originally called it Goldman, Eviscerated--a tipping of the hat to the departure of van Praag and that whole Muppet business--and there was quite a bit of red. Which was probably not a great idea, and much of it ended up on the cutting room floor, but some remains.

I love this image of Bernanke:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hilton Cramer, dead

Anybody who wrote "the problem for a critic is not making enemies but keeping them” will always have a fond spot in my heart.

The Times, as one might imagine, has this.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rachel Ruysch

This is quite something:

Rachel Ruysch, "Still-Life with Bouquet of Flowers and Plums", 1704. My girl Rachel was one of the big hitters in Dutch golden age painting. Double click the thing and look closely. Mmmm. And 1704! That's an old one.

It makes me think of one of my wedding dress paintings. I can't believe I don't have a picture of it, but it consists of an actual wedding dress attached to a black canvas so the unzipped back faces forward. Out of the dress comes a spray of dripped flowers, very much in the spirit of Ruysch and her buddies.

The good news is that you can actually see it in "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding", the Jane Fonda movie coming out this Summer. I don't understand why nobody from the film contacted me about permission to use my work. Nonetheless, you can see it there and then.

It's lovely.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Priming canvas

So I'm listening to the Dave Clark Five's greatest hits and priming a canvas ...
How many can there possibly be?
Not as many as, say, the Beatles--I can assure you of that.
How many?
Ten, according to Epic Records, a division of CBS.
How long does it take to listen to all that?
Exactly the amount of time it takes to stretch and prime a canvas.
... except I finished the bottom of one can of primer (Benjamin Moore mid-price latex primer) and turned for my new, recently bought can--WHICH I KNOW I OWN--and can't find the goddam thing anywhere.

Which is frustrating. And I've been looking, man. I've been looking.

So I've wrapped the brush in one of those blue bags the NYT gets delivered in and am now going downstairs to buy a 12" BMT from Subway. On Italian. If I'm feeling particularly self-destructive--which I am right now--I might ask for oil & vinegar AND mayo. And perhaps a cookie.

The thinking is that if I don't look for the can, I will eventually find it.

Like Hamlet. Sort of.


Check this out:

Which draws us inexorably to The Beatles Complete on Ukulele, a website who's mission statement reads:
We hold this truth to be self-evident — if every citizen spent a little bit of time playing the ukulele, the world would be a nicer place.

At we will release a new recording of a Beatles song* featuring a different artist every Tuesday. A short essay will coincide with every recording and each performance will include a ukulele.

The project began on January 20, 2009 (Inauguration Day) and will conclude on July 31, 2012. (The eve of the London Olympics)
I would direct you to the ukulele version of You Won't See Me by Victoria Villalobos. Lots of stuff going on, but then I was always a sucker for the dreamy Beatles songs. Or Girl, by Snax.

It should be noted, dear reader, that neither of these songs are as good as, say, Jimi Hendrix playing Hey Joe. But they should make you smile.
I could argue that the ukulele version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is better than anything Hendrix ever played.
You could?
Yes. But only as I look around and see what they've done to my country.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Flying Finn

Sunday, in Australia, which is either Saturday or Monday here, the Flying Finn, Kimi Raikkonen, will slide into his shiny green Lotus, a car which, at speeds over 100 mph, is more than capable of driving upside down, and, to paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, scream off into the night.
That's a lot of commas.
Yes it is. Everyone of them necessary.
Anyway, all of which is by way of saying the 2012 Formula One season will commence shortly. To suggest that I am in ecstasy is minimizing the situation.

Poor Kimi, who spent time away from the sport racing NASCAR pickup trucks, was never really comfortable with good ole boys scrapin' paint and spittin' whatever the redneck term for tobacco is, as is evidenced in this Jalopnik article about his first competitive truck drive.

Reader's note #1: I understand that most of you don't give a damn about any of this. I would only click on the story if you are really motivated.

Reader's note #2: I like to think his Lotus will be green. It might be black and gold.

Wow--could they have come up with an uglier car?
I hear you.
Maybe if those red side panels were black to it might be cool, in a kind of ninja-assassin way.
Nicely said. Regardless, my enthusiasm remains in no way diminished.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Even though I'm not going to NYC tomorrow (with the temp now predicted to lick the bottom of seventy degrees--oy gevalt), at least Naked Greenspan is finished.

It, now and forever, will look like this:

So it could be worse.

I showed it to some friends, and strangers too, at my bar of choice last night. Really, enough with the crinkling of the noses, people. This is serious stuff!

It's important to realize that every painter worth his salt in the history of the world basically never gave a shit about what the vast majority of other people thought about their work. It's a must-have personality component. My friend Bruce has it to the Nth degree, and I admire that very much.

Me? I give a damn about what a couple of my friends think, and that's about it. And, of course, my client base (although that's a more complicated dynamic than can be tossed off in a couple of sentences about thick skin). And then there are people like the 21st century art curator at MOMA. I suppose I care what he or she thinks.

I mean, I'm not an idiot.

While we're on the topic of full nudity, check this out:

Painted by my above-mentioned friend Bruce Cahn, just a couple of months ago (all rights reserved by him). Bruce usually paints women, so this is a bit of a departure for him. Having breezed through a few evenings sitting around Bruce's kitchen table drinking Guiness and Jack Daniels and staring at this particular painting, let me tell you it is lovely in the flesh. I also think there's a bit more black above the guy's head in the actual painting, but I could be wrong about that.

Also, just as an aside, check out the gun on that guy. Bruce paints 'em as he sees 'em. Me, I'm a bit more of a gesturalist:

But I do like this black and white painting business. This is more of a drawing, but it's one of my favorite Wall Street paintings ever:

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Word of advice to you would-be painters

You may remember a few posts ago I suggested that painting John Maynard Keynes wouldn't be particularly difficult.

Word of advice to you would-be painters: Don't ever say stuff like that.

All by way of announcing that you shouldn't expect to see me outside the NYSE on Thursday, no matter how lovely the weather. Because Mr. Keynes won't be ready for his close-up. I suppose, were there some draconian time-sensitivity about the whole thing, that I could just bing the rest of the guy out. But there isn't. And I have my dignity, despite all the Mel Torme business.

Super Tuesday

I think there's too much talk of politics on the blog lately.
You do?
I do.
Okay. Maybe you're right. But Super Tuesday always gets my sap flowing.
I hear you, but still. Michael Steele? Really?
I know. I swear he's a changed man.
Enough already with the politics.
Alright. I'll talk more about painting and music and stuff.
While we're on the subject, enough about Judy Garland too.
But ... but ...
No buts. And no more talking about your turntable either.
But ...
Why don't you just paint the goddam Keynes painting?
So this is what the new Greek austerity program is doing to you? Turning you into a humorless nag?
Yes, I suppose it is. But I find that firing everybody in order to achieve a smaller government is an odd way to stimulate job growth. It's hard to keep a smile slapped on your face.
Now who's talking politics?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Tumble dry under low heat. Otherwise will come apart like a cheap suit.

I, Geoffrey Raymond, am telling you, dear reader, that I am currently all fucking business.

I say this because the New York Times tells me that it will be in the high 60s in New York on Thursday, and this strikes me as an opportunity to generate Inverted Keynes (which, as these things go, should be easy) and drag him down to Wall Street for some spring annotation.

Disregard that blue line. I like the idea of sepia-toning the entire thing, background and all.

My all-time favorite inverted painting is Inverted Perry. It's hanging in the studio as we speak--I just walked over and took this picture of it:

There are plenty of Republicans I'm perfectly fond of. Papi Bush jumps to mind. Michael Steele, amazingly enough (and I say this based solely on his recent appearances on Morning Joe). Joe Scarborough himself, although lately he's been giving me a bit of a cramp. There are others. David Brooks, maybe.

But Rick Perry? I loathe the man. I included the radiator to suggest that here was somebody unable to take the heat so he stepped out of the kitchen. He looked tough, but when you looked at his label it said "Tumble dry under low heat. Otherwise will come apart like a cheap suit."

Best annotation reads: "Hard to believe but true: Rick Santorum makes this guy look like the ideal candidate. Lord have mercy."

I'm so tired of photogenic ideologues with brains the size of prostate glands running for President. This is not solely a Republican phenomenon, but recent examples (Little Bush, Palin, Perry) seem to skew that way. Let's not even start on Donald Trump, who is despicable in an entirely different way.

Anyway, wouldn't it be fun to take John Maynard Keynes for a spin on Thursday?

More on the title...

The title "Former Fed Chairman" for the Greenspan painting only really makes sense if you factor in my intentions of painting the following individuals in a similar manner, with their respective titles:

Hank Paulson--Former Treasury Secretary
Jimmy Cayne--Former Bear CEO
Richard Fuld--Former LEH CEO
Jon Corzine--Former MFGlobal CEO.

Others jump to mind as well, most notably George W Bush--Former President.

All that's left is the titling

I can't stop listening to Judy Garland.

I'm not talking about one of those "Judy's Greatest Hits" albums, or "Judy Does Carnegie Hall while Drug-Addled, Desperate for Something Akin to Love"--if that's the name of the album I'm thinking of. No, I'm talking about a mid-career Judy, backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, just singing songs in, honestly, the loveliest way. It's called "Judy in Love" and released in 1958, when I was five and she was thirty-six.
Who cares about Judy Garland? Let's talk about Alan Greenspan. I thought "Naked Greenspan" was the title.
That's the working title. One thought is to have no title, but I'm not sure that's how I operate.

I'm not sure either. What are the alternatives?

Well, "Former Fed Chairman" is the one that sticks in my mind. Another possibility is "The Myth of the Rational Market II")
Regardless of that, here is this:

Really, I'm awfully fond of the whole thing. I love, in no particular order, the ambiguity of his left arm (which is hardly rendered at all, hence the ambiguity); the deformity of his right shoulder; the lovely diagonal progression of his testicle, his penis and his left thigh; the question of whether he's handcuffed or not; the dirt on his feet; and his entire head, if you can believe that. All that's left is the titling.
The 7-Eleven graphics came out great too. Show us that picture again.

Manoman, I'd kill for a grape Slurpee right now.
I hear you.
I'm not done with this whole Judy Garland thing, though. Likewise, Mel Torme. I mean, I don't want you, dear reader, to think I'm just an old fart (I say this with a level of pathetic desperation that would have made Judy herself proud). I'm also listening to quite a bit of trip-hop, which should re-establish my coolness credentials. Portishead, Mazzy Star, Tricky. All quite something, in that kind of a Oh, so this is what taking heroin is like sort of a way.

But really, this woman's voice. Just singing. Without having to be Judy Garland, all Caps. Absolutely amazing.
I'm not sure that Judy Garland at age 36 wasn't already rendered in all caps.
Just listen to the album, man.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Naked Greenspan--The Early Results are In

I decided the other day that I wanted to buy a saxophone and teach myself how to play. I googled something like "Best value for saxophone" and came up with something called a Yamaha 23. I went on Amazon--where else can you buy a sax and get free shipping?--and looked it up.


Crikeys, that's a lot. My target number was roughly a tenth of this. So it's back to painting...

This is difficult for me, because I never really felt like life drawing (which is some kind of art school code for painting naked people) was my strongest suit. It is, however, the reason why some of you pay the money to subscribe to TYOMP--to see these things emerge, for good or bad, warts and all, insert additional cliche here, from whole cloth into actual paintings.

So here I stand, naked before you.
I thought it was Alan Greenspan that was naked.
We're both naked, man.
How does it feel?
Not too bad, really. I like the bottom image. Although not certain how to proceed from here. When you take the minimalist route, it's harder to go back and fix stuff.
For you completists: I had Eggs Benedict for breakfast with sausage (since my local breakfast spot doesn't carry Canadian bacon), and I'm now listening to something called "Van Morrisson--the 1967 New York Sessions." If I had this on vinyl I could die a happy man.

The canvas, it should be noted, measures seven by three. Greenspan is 5'5", so it's fair approximation of life-size.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The internet is a humbling experience

So I go to Google Stats, as related to The Year of Magical Painting, and see that today's most popular posts are:

Whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting ......

The relativity of genius

Cheerleader with Banana (Fallen Angel)

It's 11:26 a.m.

It's 4:00 a.m.

Really? This is what people are reading? 150 people peeked at my shit today--which equates to 54,750 people in a year--and this is what they are peeking at? Of the bunch, three are not particularly interesting (Whoever comes...; Cheerleader...; It's 4:00 am); one is touching (It's 11;26) and one is strong beyond belief (The relativity of genius).

I would suggest you click on it and bathe in the warm waters of TYOMP at its best (although the last two paragraphs are a little weaker than the preceding ten or so, and in retrospect I wish I could have finished stronger). Nonetheless, if that's how you spell it, I'd like to call your attention to the second and third paragraphs, which read:
That said, really, genius ain't what it used to be. People call me a genius all the time--an event that makes me frequently squirm but mostly just makes me reflect on how the term has experienced a bit of deflation. Or inflation--whichever means that it ain't what it used to be.

Me? I prefer the term idiot savant. Calling me a genius is like calling a shrimp jumbo. C'mon.
Honestly, for a genius, could I be more self-deprecating? And honestly, people write me often, particularly when I'm in the news, and tell me I'm a genius. So I'm not making it up. All by way of saying, be sure and read the one comment attached to the post. To save wear and tear on our computer, I'll share it with you here:
Genius??? If you're a genius, I'm the queen of England.
The shit I have to put up with. Remind me to tell you about my Vietnam story tomorrow. It just happened.

Naked Greenspan

One primed canvas, three feet by seven. Soon to be Naked Greenspan.

For you completists, I had a bacon, goat cheese, onion and pepper omelet for breakfast. No toast. While priming, and now while typing, I've been listening to Glenn Miller on this, my latest gadget:

I play it through something called a Neuhaus T-1 hybrid amp (which means it contains a bunch of sophisticated digital technology which is then filtered, if that's even the right word, which it certainly isn't, through a pair of analog tubes). The mellowing presence of the tubes makes the usual iTunes stuff my computer is pumping out sound so vastly better as to defy description in words.

Then, after ordering the turntable, I realized (that's not entirely true--I already knew it) that all my LPs were in storage in Brooklyn. So I went to the used record store around the corner and bought a bunch of jazz albums. Big bands, Art Tatum, Mel Torme, Thelonius Monk (I like the piano guys), plus some classical stuff. And the sound of this stuff on vinyl is so extraordinary, I can't go back to my digital files.
So you've turned into one of those assholes?
I suppose the short answer is yes.
Anyway, the difference between jazz guys and rock and roll guys ( a category I'd put myself in) is that the jazz guys all take obsessive care of their LPs. You go to the store and buy any number of two and three dollar albums, take them home, open them up and, Lordy, they are almost pristine.

Not so much my personal collection, so perhaps it's better they're in Brooklyn.

And then there's this:

You'll remember my earlier discussion of this painting and how I was going to paint the thing completely in black and white, with the only exception being an interpretation of the 7-Eleven how-tall-is-the-perp? graphic that festoons the upper interior corners of doors in every 7-Eleven in the world. This would be one of those.
Personal Aside: Back to this whole new-stereo business. Lest you think I'm a maniac with the money (which isn't a good idea in my line of work), the entire system cost less than a lovely lunch for one at Per Se, assuming you chose the Tsar Imperial Osetra Caviar over the Oysters and Pearls ($75.00 supplement)--which would be crazy because the O&P are a must-have experience and you can get raggedy-ass caviar any time you like at Petrossian--and the "Gateau" of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras ($40.00 supplement) over the Sicilian Pistachio "Panna Cotta"--which, as noted below, was the smart move--and limited yourself to one medium-priced bottle of wine. Although thinking about it, two half bottles would probably make more sense.