Saturday, May 26, 2007

I would urge you to...

I would urge you to visit my newly upgraded on-line portfolio. It features all the new stuff you've seen unfold, and is tangible proof of what feels like my recent productivity.

Throwing a bit of water on that "recent productivity" business, I am chagrined to report that I have still not started on Jeb Stuart.

My problem? I can't stop wrestling with this cheerleader business. One fan wrote in:
Isn't it a bit skeevy for a 50 year old man to be painting high school cheerleaders eating bananas?
Funny, when I describe my work, and the wide-ranging thought processes that contribute to it, I use words like "noble" and "high-minded." My fans? They use words like "skeevy." And not to put too fine a point on it, but isn't it "skeezy?"

Anyway, my thoughts regarding the above accusation are these: First, I thought that painting the suggested images on the surface of beer cans added an insouscience, if you will, that insulated me from barbs like this. I mean, can't you have some fun with iconic American images? Given the history of art in the last 100 years, do I even need to ask that question? Or, likewise, permission?

Second, now that I'm thinking more about it, I might just paint a couple of cheerleaders straight--that is to say, without the beer cans and with the banana. Check this out:

It's called Michelle A, and one of the things I like about it is the flower in her hair and the fingers wrapped around her face. I don't mean to say that I'm dependent on visual props to create compelling images, but there is something to be said for mise en scene. This one was painted a couple of years ago, right after I saw the Gauguin show in Boston. The flower was my attempt at giving Gauguin the cheese, and man, I thought the whole thing came out gangbusters.

It should be noted that what really makes the painting is neither the flower nor the fingers, but the look in her eyes. Dreams of the South Pacific. I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair. Stuff like that.

So, to paraphrase the character named Gold Hat in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre:
Bananas? I can assure you, sir, that we don't need any stinking bananas!
That said, now check out Elena in the Morning:

Could be one of my favorite paintings. This is her in real life:

Brrrrng! If that's how you spell it. Breeeerrnnnggg, maybe.

So I'm thinking two things: First, some days at the office are less difficult than others (see above). Second, I am liking the idea of rendering her life-size across the span of either four or five of the pieces of water-color paper I used to paint Self Portrait II (...Beets). And then painting in her pleated cheerleader dress, and her white socks and saddle shoes--the black and white ones with the pink soles that look like little police cars--and a pom-pon just to the right of her head. The foreground is green grass--i.e. a football field--and a banana peel. The back fades to black.

Undecided as to whether she's wearing a top. Doubt it, though. Adds a frisson of something, don't you know.

I think it's the return of "Friday Night Lights" that's making me think these skeevy thoughts. I wouldn't, otherwise, I swear. But I am, and that's just the way it is. Do you know the price of choosing to make your way in the world of ideas? It's that you don't have much control as to just where your mind is going to take you. And I'm not talking about some stinking blog; I'm talking about my mind. You should be glad I edit the stuff you see as tightly as I do.

The mind reels.


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