Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Hundred and Fifty Bucks

This is what Radar online is paying me for a short first-person narrative of today's exhibition at the WSJ.

One hundred and fifty dollars is, I don't have to tell you, both a great deal of money and not very much money at all.

But the money's not the thing. The play's the thing. I hope they like what they get. Me liking it is very different from them doing same. If they don't, do I still get my $150? Conversely, if it suites them to a T, do I get a bonus?

For a man who often doesn't know what day it is, these are complicated questions. I think I liked my life better before I became a member of the media.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bit of a loss...

I'm at a bit of a loss, now that the Tour de France is over, as to what to do with the hours of 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Tomorrow I'll use some of it to catch up on newspaper reading, but once I'm current I'm afraid I'll be a bit adrift.

Likewise, I'll use some of the time to tackle more weighty issues here at The Year of Magical Painting, such as the connection between the theological premise that we are all sinners and the disappointing failure of Big Rupert to generate any bids on eBay.

First, I'm thinking, some sleep.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On the International Front

This just in from the Brisbane Times:

Face value

Rupert Murdoch's campaign to control Dow Jones took a twist this week when the New York portrait artist Geoffrey V. Raymond showed up at the company's offices with a painting of the tycoon's face, which was placed on the kerb for passers-by to scrawl messages on. Within a few minutes the artwork, titled The Annotated Murdoch, had been scrawled with "I don't care" and "Keep the Wall Street Journal out of this scumbag's hands". By week's end the work was up on eBay, with bidding starting at $US3500 ($4000).

I don't make the news up--I just report it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Observer Weighs In

Thinking back to when the New York Rangers won their last Stanley Cup (and I say this as a man who doesn't give a shit about hockey), there was one moment that has stuck with me. Well, several really--one has to admire the stuff Mark Messier was bringing to the plate, for example--but one in particular. It was a man who, at the end of Game 7 (if it went seven), held up a sign that said "Now I Can Die In Peace!"

So today The New York Observer, truly one of my favorite newspapers, published an article on their website titled "At Dow Jones Headquarters, Murdoch gets Graffiti." It is, of course, about The Annotated Murdoch and, likewise, yours truly. Click here to see.

I would describe it as largely accurate other than the author's claim that the painting is four feet tall. It is, in fact, four feet wide; five feet tall. And I'm not sure I ever said the words "I find it ratifying that people want to write on my painting."

Gratifying, certainly. Ratifying? An unusual usage, for sure.

And it might have been nice for them to have put a link straight to my eBay site, although I suppose it is not The Observer's job to be selling the damned thing for me.

And besides, these are small things. I find myself duly and fairly Observed and now I can die in peace.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bodysurfing, Volume 2

The assumption here is that you are standing in four feet of water somewhere off the shore of a northeastern American beach. It would be low tide.

(Of course it's low tide. Were it high, the water would be too deep to stand in and the wave, once it picked you up, would ram you vertically into the sand at the water's edge, the way those machines insert, then hammer pilings into the ground.)

As noted earlier, you can feel the pull of the wave without seeing it. I mean, if you stared out at the ocean, you'd see it, but you're staring at the shore. You can feel the water pulling you seaward, even as you dig your feet in the sand and lean against the flow. You're reminded briefly of that Hamlet soliloquy, but you shake it off. You half-swim, half-walk--really only holding position--towards shore as the wave approaches. You can do this because the water's getting shallower as the wave evacuates the area before it.

At the appropriate moment you spring forward as hard as you can. You can kick and paddle a couple of times, but if you need to paddle any more than that you've probably missed the wave anyway. When we say paddle we are, of course, referring to the Australian Crawl. After about the third stroke you reach out with both hands, pull them down and back hard (this is now more like the Butterfly stroke), then fold them flat against your side, arch your back, open your eyes (if you've shut them), and feel the wave lift you up.

There is a moment when you are about two-thirds up the face of the wave, rising quickly, your head and shoulders protruding, completely free of the water.

This is the moment for which you have paid the big bucks. Despite the No Fear decal on the windshield of your Volkswagon you realize you are scared to death. You whisper, sotto voce, the words "Oh shit."

Life is good.

The Press Release

Contact Geoffrey Raymond at: (917) 693 9936 or gvraymond@gmail.com

Painter To Exhibit Portrait of Rupert Murdoch in Front of Wall Street Journal

-- Asks passers-bye to “annotate” painting with magic markers --

New York, NY (July 24, 2007) -- Wall Street artist Geoffrey Raymond will be exhibiting a large portrait of Rupert Murdoch in front of the headquarters of Dow Jones & Company and The Wall Street Journal this week and asking people to share comments about Mr. Murdoch and his pending acquisition of The Journal by writing them on the surface of the canvas.

“I have my own opinions about the Murdoch acquisition,” explains Raymond. “But I thought it would be more interesting to paint a picture of the man and let other people share theirs. So I’ll be standing outside 200 Liberty Street with my painting and a bunch of magic markers, inviting people—particularly Dow Jones employees—to take a moment out of their lunch-hour and tell me what they think.”

Raymond has a history of depicting Wall Street’s movers and shakers on canvas. Last year he exhibited portraits of former NYSE head Richard Grasso, Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd Blankfein and television stock picker Jim Cramer.

“It’s likely the Murdoch deal will either happen or not before the end of this week, and peoples’ lives will change as a result. I want to give them an opportunity to voice opinions that might otherwise go unheard.”

“The Annotated Murdoch,” as the painting is titled, measures four feet by five. The medium is acrylic on canvas. Raymond describes his style, which involves throwing paint onto a flat canvas, as “what Jackson Pollock might have come up with if he painted like Chuck Close.”

Raymond chronicles the development of the Murdoch painting, as well as many others, on his blog: www.yearofmagicalpainting.blogspot.com .

Concurrent with the exhibition, the painting will be auctioned on eBay as “Portrait of Rupert Murdoch.”


Editor’s note: Blog features downloadable jpeg of painting.

What The Hell's Going On Here?

Do you ever get so enmeshed with the details of a particular notion that you don't fully explain the gist of it to the public at large? And then, just when you expect people to be following along closely, you find, instead, that they have no clue as to what's acually going on and are drifting off the back of the pack?

All of which brings me to The Annotated Murdoch.

This, I want to tell you, is exactly what's happening:

First, the painting as it stands now ...

Tomorrow, I will roll up the thing, transport it to a public space in front of the headquarters of The Wall Street Journal (and Dow Jones & Company), restretch it and stand there, magic markers in hand, asking people to spend a part of their lunch hour inscribing on the actual surface of the painting, their thoughts about Mr. Murdoch and what his acquisition of the paper will mean. As a stroke of brilliance, I've purchased both red and black markers--black for the general public and red for Dow Jones employees.

The mind reels!

Weather permitting, I will exhibit through Friday afternoon (possibly with a supplemental exhibition in front of the NYSE).

At the same time as all this is going on, the painting itself will be up for auction on eBay. The best way to find it, by the way, is to search for "Portrait of Rupert Murdoch."

And so, for these brief moments, The Year of Magical Painting (Season 2) will be transformed into The Year of Magical Markers.

I fully expect to make a killing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Piano Lesson

Turns out he was sitting behind the piano. And that is a window, whether you choose to believe it or not. Leastways a curtain. But you see what I'm talking about with that face, yes? Brrrr. Spooky.

I guess there's something going on with the shapes of the metronome, the window, and the kid's right eye.

Ahhh...Victory (Volume 2)

Now that, if I do say so myself, is a pretty tastey bit of freehand lettering.

Of course, the victory of which I speak is not mine, per se. Instead, I am channelling the spirit of that little blue wedge above Rupert's left eye. Targeted for obliteration more than once, it, like those hordes of unattractive British people in World War II, withstood all I could throw at it. And prevailed.

Are you familiar with the painting by Matisse entitled Boy with Piano, or The Piano Lesson, or something? It's pretty famous. It's an interior scene of a boy standing next to a piano. I think there's a window too. He might be sitting behind it, not standing. Anyway, what makes it unusual is that the boy's face is a strange, wedgy, geometric blur of a thing. It's almost as if Matisse, too ill to complete the painting, hired Mark Kostabi to do the kid's face. Except chunkier than your typical Kostabi face.

So I'm thinking of my little blue triangle as an homage to Matisse. Or fromage ... whichever isn't the cheese.

This is entitled Boy with Painting, or The Painting Lesson, or something.

Maybe I'll call it Ahhh...Victory.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Celebrity Commission Update

Commission has been pulled. Discount previous messages related to celebrity commissions. I'm taking it like a man, by the way.

No Fear

The title of this post is, ironically, No Fear.

Me? I'm scared to death. Therein, I think, lies the irony.

Not scared about the usual stuff, mind you. Not like, say, being a Jets fan and seeing what New England did in the off-season (although this also terrifies me, but that's not the point).

No. I'm scared about how far I next go with Big Rupert. I'm reminded of that saying: Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. Who said that? Kierkegaard? Anyway, it sounds true enough, although it must be somewhat dependent on who you loved. And how you lost. Likewise, the golf saying: never up, never in. The implied message being that if you don't strike the putt hard enough, it has no chance of going in, no matter how good your aim.

None of this actually counts in painting.

I mean, maybe some of it does. You, dear reader, have to listen to me whine about buying No Fear decals for my Volkswagon, or how Picasso approached the last day of a painting just as he approached the first day--like a lion. And I guess that has something to do with the above thoughts.

I think I'm scared about two things:

First, and which was the originally intended subject of the post, I'm scared about not knowing when enough is enough. If you scrounge around during my Leesburg posts you'll find a set of three images--the portrait of Robert E. Lee when I first took the tape and masking off; the same portrait after I'd fixed somethings and should have left well enough alone; and the final image, after I didn't leave well enough alone. Trust me, #2 was vastly better than #3.

But you can't go back. My style, in particular, particularly when utilizing the obscured box technique, doesn't allow for going back and fixing things. At least not felicitously. If that's even a word.

(Quick aside: I can't believe she chose Ben over Noel)

So off we go. Forward. Stiff upper lip. Half a league. I mean, its not like I'm not going forward. Actually that's exactly what it's like. Actually that's not accurate either. It is fair to say that the last week has been a drain. I mean, you get emotionally vested. So yesterday and today have been what I call off days. Somebody suggested the term: marinating. Because I'm slow, I'm not sure if it's me that marinating, or the painting. Either way, one thing is sure. Nothing is getting done.

That's not true either. Both yesterday and today I've taken time to sit in front of Big Rupert and stare at it. I like to alternate periods of intense concentration with periods of intense self-loathing.

Hey, it works for me. For yesterday and today. But not for tomorrow. Tomorrow, we advance. Tomorrow we are putting paint to canvas. Tomorrow we are solving some of the structural problems of Rupert's neck. Likewise we are whiting out that weird little blue triangle. Likewise we are adding a second coat of gesso to the background so people will have someplace nice to annotate. And likewise some other stuff, which I'd happily get into but for the fact that I just hit upon the second source of my fear.

What if people write stupid stuff on the painting? I mean, it's a nice painting. You should see it. If you saw it in person, in sunlight, you would realize that abstraction is dead. Really, it's that lovely. So what if somebody who isn't me is responsible for ruining my painting?

Is that better, or worse.

Half a league.

Note to self: Stop whining.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Well, victory is a strong word.

But I did finish painting Big Rupert, which ended up looking, still masked, like this:

And then, finally (although finally is a strong word too), unmasked, like this:

Be still my heart. I mean really!

To paraphrase Harold Brodkey: To see this painting in sunlight was to see abstraction die.

There's still stuff to do, no question about it. Case in point: what's with that weird blue triangle above his left eye? And other items too numerous to mention.

But what I will say is this: Better the painting should live with the problems than, by resolving them, die. Syntax may be a problem there, but the sentiment is strong.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Celebrity Commission

Have received a tasty commission with a celebrity twist. Confidentiality prohibits me from saying more... at least until the mid-process whining begins.

No Fear

Do you know those hats, t-shirts, etc. that sport the "No Fear" logo? I've been thinking about getting one of those decals that goes across the top of your windshield, black with the words "No Fear" dropped out in white. Problem is, as near as I can tell, they don't make them for Beetles. I remain nonetheless sanguine, whatever that means.

But it does speak to a larger issue: that being the nature of one's behavior as one nears the end of a painting. I once read, in an article full of advice for novelists, that the closer you get to the end, you should slow down, not speed up. I'm sure this is good advice for as essentially pussified an endeavor as writing a novel, but it hardly reflects what I assume would have been Picasso's approach to the end of a painting.

My Picasso fantasy, such as it is, is that he was as bold in his strokes on the last day as he was on the first. And so, as I enter the last day of primary painting for Big Rupert, I must will myself to boldness. No Fear, I must say to myself. No Fear.

Which is easier said than done, given the state of Rupert's upper lip when we last visited him.

Still...what are the options? I'd like to get one of those bracelets that says "What Would Picasso Do?" Absent that, one turns, of course, to Tennyson:


Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.


Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

I am on Day Four of The Annotated Murdoch.

I'm but half a league from my goal; me and my 599 imaginary compadres.

Half a league. Oh shit, they're shooting at us! What would Picasso do? Shit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Could Not Be More Fucked Up!

This, I suppose, is the usual mid-process whining that you, dear reader, have to suffer through whenever I'm having second thoughts about a painting.

Which is virtually always, whilst in the middle of things.

Truth be told, I liked the image I showed you yesterday--the "half way there" one. Although Big Rupert looked a little like the aging Sinatra. But hey, did you ever listen to "In the wee small hours of the evening"? I'm not a big Sinatra fan, but that one, plus "Only The Lonely" (note: all titles approximate) give you a sense of what all the shouting was about.

Anyway, consider this:

It is the square containing Rupert's left eye, cropped from yesterday's image. It is, if I do say so myself, a classic Geoff Raymond eye. This said, of course, with the understanding that that weird blue triangle above his eye will be dealt with accordingly.

For the sake of comparison, here's the square containing Robert E. Lee's left eye--another classic:

Now consider this--the square, painted today, containing Murdoch's right eye:

I don't know about you, but the words "I could not be more fucked up" certainly do run through my mind. First of all, they are quite a distance from eachother on the color chart. Now granted, this one should be lighter since it's closer to the light source. But still, it looks awfully vanilla to me. Lacks the sharpness of the first squares drippings. But really... it just seems too vanilla.

Likewise, what's with that upper lip? I mean, how big is it supposed to be before somebody builds a condominium on it? I'm trying to think of somebody with a really big upper lip. All I can come up with is the Cowardly Lion. Which, now that I think about it, is about right.

Now, as you probably can remember, the visual experience derived from seeing the left one butted up against the right one in the final painting is called dynamic disjunction. I am not sure America is ready for this much disjunction.

Also, how more screwed up could his eyeglass frames be?

What's that old saying? Denial heals all wounds? Maybe when I finally slap the thing together (which should be tomorrow), everything will work out. And all this is not to say that there won't be a fair amount of heavy lifting, paint-wise, once the tape comes off. But I'm worried.

That said, worried or not, either way, I'm going to drag my butt out to Liberty Street on Monday and the chips will fall where they may.

This, for the record, is where we currently stand:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Half Way Home

As you can see...

We're half way home with The Annotated Murdoch.

Actually, not really half way. But we are half way through the "primary" days.

There is also the urge to change the title to: "Big Rupert 1 (More Paper)"

I'm of two minds. I'll probably stick with the first, even though the second is more in keeping with my traditional title structure.

But hey, structure is overrated.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Let The Spectacle Begin

As suggested earlier, my first significant endeavor in my new studio space is not--I repeat NOT--Cheerleader With Banana.

It is, instead, this bad boy here:

Which would, of course, be a badly cropped shot of the first day of The Annotated Murdoch. Looks a little like one of that fake Tudor houses. But it is, of course, a painting.

You can see several things:

First, the shit-eating look Murdoch has in the photo I selected of makes me laugh. I can't wait to see how the people outside the Wall Street Journal choose to "annotate" this one.

I mean, look at it:

I want to slap the fucking guy and he hasn't done a thing to me. Were there a thought balloon it would read something like this:
"You guys can bitch and moan all you want, but the family that owns the Journal is gonna bite on my bid because nobody else is gonna come close. And sure, I'll patch together some ridiculous editorial advisory board to make sure that the editorial coverage is not unduly affected by my business dealings. But when the uproar dies down, you can rest assured I'm gonna pull the teeth out of that damned board and have my way with that paper like she was a prison bitch ... or the Times of London. You do the math."
Something like that. Should be a great painting.

Additionally, the record should show that I buy the Post every day and enjoy it a great deal. Mostly on the subway.
Quick note on the Constitition of the United States of America. My First Amendment rights, as they relate to artistic free speech, allow me to just cop this image straight from Getty Images and use it as the basis for The Annotated Murdoch. I can assure you I paid nothing for it, although I do send them my very best. Likewise, since I don't sell advertising on The Year of Magical Painting, I can post it above without fear of retribution.
Maybe it's the Second Amendment. I know it's not the one that goes "Thou shalt not covet thy Neighbor's Wife."

Anyway, back to the painting, you can see that I've gone to great lengths to make sure that the top of the painting is continuously indicated (see the big blue arrow?) and that the correct squares, and only the correct squares, are accessible to my dripping. This, of course, is an attempt to pre-empt the unfortunate incident with my portrait of Robert E. Lee, in which I confused the location of a key square to everyone's--but mostly my--chagrin.

This, on a related note, is a Duke cheerleader.

I mean, honestly. Who wouldn't want to paint this person?

Ditto. Although the Duke thing is troubling.

Don't these people know that the education they are receiving was built on a sub-spec foundation? That is to say, rather than digging trenches, pouring the appropriate amount of cement, and then building carefully up to ground level with cinder blocks (we're talking metaphorically here, so try to keep up), don't they realize that their house is built on the dead bodies of nicotine addicts, unfortunate souls lassoed by the Marlboro Man, condemned to wheeze and snort their last hour on the stage before dying an agonizing death?

Fuck Duke.

What's the name of that book? Here it is: To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever. I just googled it. Written by Will Blythe (odd name, that), it's a pretty engaging account of a die-hard UNC boy's hatred for all things Duke.

Good for him. I hope it sold well. I bought one.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cheerleader With Banana--An Idea Whose Time Has Not Yet Come?

First impressions aren't everything. But they do count, and I take my status as Artist in Residence seriously. I don't want my new associates at the BAG to think I'm any more bizarre or perverted than I actually am.
The very statement of which is pause for a deep breath and reflective thought.
So I worry about the long-term consequences of the first shot from my considerable armamentarium being Cheerleader With Banana.

How much fun is this picture, by the way?

I may instead jump to The Annotated Murdoch as my ice-breaker. Or maybe my re-do of Big Maria I (Plane Too Many).

What? You thought I'd forgotten about that one? She haunts me.

She haunts me.

Honors and Accolades

You'd think, for a painter with as much public recognition as I get; what with the critical hosannas that have become like so much water coming out of my shower head, I would tire of honors and accolades.


So it is with some pride that I announce that I, Geoffrey Raymond, have been named an "Artist in Residence" at the Brooklyn Artists Gymnasium (located on no less convenient a street than my own 7th Street). Odd name, I'm thinking.

The fact that anyone who's both breathing and willing to cough up about 200 bucks a month is eligible for such a designation doesn't take the edge off the thing, even in the slightest.

I'd like to use this opportunity to thank all the little people who's necks I stepped on to get where I am today.

I mean, I'm not an ogre.

The Bares and the Bees

Report from Gay Pride Day in Denver:

So I get a call, some weeks ago, from my friends Aimee and Earl. Although it's hard to hear, what with all the screaming in the background, I eventually come to understand that they--dutiful correspondents to The Year of Magical Painting--are reporting in from Gay Pride Day in Denver.

Which is odd because I didn't think either of them even knew anybody who was gay.

Anyway, Earl mentions something about wanting to hang out with a group of people called The Bares. Because he was slurring his words quite a bit, I don't fully understand the term. I assume he is talking about men with absolutely no body hair. Which he finds fascinating. Neat, even (honk!).

Makes a guy want to wax philosophic (honk!).

I hope his wife doesn't read this blog, although maybe I've got it all wrong. There was a lot of background noise. Maybe they said Penn State.

As for me?

Don't get me wrong--I'm a guy who's as in touch with his inner woman as anyone who ever strolled barechested down 7th Avenue. That said, I can nonetheless assure you that I'm as straight as a ruler. An arrow. A beam of light. The shortest distance between two points. I'm straighter than George W. Bush.

Which, upon reflection, isn't saying much. I mean, you know that guy's overcompensating for something.

Anyway, do you know how I can tell?
I can tell I'm straight because whenever I watch a carefully tivoed episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" I fast forward through the dance sequences but linger in super-slo-mo on all the Cat Deeley footage. She, of course, would be the host of the show.

I usually watch each of her segments about three times, sometimes taking notes, then I go back and watch at regular speed a couple more times so I can listen to her speak. She's British, so I mean... c'mon.

Ms. Deeley also seems like someone who can open her mouth really wide. I mean, really wide. Cantelope wide. Which, I must tell you, I find compelliing on a number of levels.

The problem with super-slo-mo, as anyone will tell you, is that there's no audio. You'd think that in this day and age they could reprocess the audio, modify the pitch, and have it come out sounding normal... just really slow.

Do you watch "So You Think You Can Dance?" It's the most disfunctional television show currently on the air. Which, I must tell you, I find compelling on a number of levels.

But hey, enough about me. How do you like my suit, Butchie?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I find myself once again in Leesburg

Daughter #2 was kind enough to ferry me from Brooklyn to Leesburg for the round figure of $100. Last time I was here I rented a one-way U-Haul and so found myself in Brooklyn with a lot of furniture but no car. Back to the hundred bucks--since hers is a leased car, and every mile counts, I figured that was reasonable. Plus, I gave her a nice tip.

She and I achieved what might be the zenith of Father/Daughter bonding when we ate our lunch at Mike's Famous Harley Davidson, then toured the inventory. It is not without a kharmic echo that I ordered Cincinatti Pasta (a plate of overcooked spaghetti topped with a bunch of chili, hot peppers and sour cream), given my current fascination with John From Cincinatti.
I got my eyes on you, Butchie!

Daughter #2--not surprisingly, given her predeliction for large SUVs--seems to like the big, fat-assed Harleys with the swath of plexiglass for a windshield and the flat foot rests instead of pegs, and those big matched-color fiberglass luggage compartments that occupy most of the back end of the damned things.

I tried to tempt her with a lean, angry-looking V-Rod (my Harley of choice) but she seemed disinterested. Go figure.

As for me? I am closing in on a painting space that will, I believe, suite my needs nicely. I've decided that I may shoot some photos at the apartment, but it's not really suitable as a live/work studio.

At which point, I can assure you, up will pop Cheerleader With Banana.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Today, of course, being the first of the rest of my life

I am celebrating the renewal, if that's the right word, of the Year of Magical Painting with extraordinary productivity.

9-9:30 Wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head
9:30-1o Continue getting my shit together
10-1:30 Watch Stage 2 of the Tour de France. Robbie McEwen comes literally out of nowhere (ten miles before the finish line he was felled by another biker, slightly injured, surely written off as an influencing factor in the day's events) to win the final sprint by a bike and a half.
1:30-3:30 Watch the Iceman, Kimi Raikkonnen, pilot his Ferrari from P2 on the starting grid to finish first at the British Grand Prix--his second consecutive win, by the way. Worth noting that Ferrari has recently changed the hue of its racing red away from its sponsor's so-called Marlboro Red back to the original Ferrari Red. Nicer on the eyes. Plus, fuck Philip Morris.
3:30-4 Read some of Bangkok 8.
4-4:55 Nap
5-5:45 Afternoon Mass around the corner. Because the musicians didn't show up it was the fastest Mass in recent memory.
6-6:45 Grab a bowl of ochra and seafood gumbo and a citrus-flavored beer at NoNo, the local New Orleans-style restaurant.
7-8:15 Continue reading (am rushing to finish Bangkok 8 so I can re-read MacBeth); misc. communications with Daughter 2; wash some dishes
8:15 forward Am finishing this post, then placing myself in a zen-like meditative state in preparation for John From Cincinatti.

Have we discussed the film adaptation of MacBeth I saw the other day? Unbelievable. More later.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

There's a fine line between a lot of things

How much do you need to know about "The Ecstasy of St. Teresa?"

First, I suppose it is worth noting that there are at least two significant works of art in the Western canon thus-titled. The first would be Bernini's sculpture in Rome. This, of course, would be that:

Or leastways, a detail.

The second, and in my humble opinion no less significant, of the duo is my painting of the same name. And the same subject. This, of course, would be that:

Mine, if that's an accurate way to describe what now more likely belongs to the world, is two panels, each measuring about five feet by seven. If you have enough room, it looks great above the sofa.

Teresa herself wrote:
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it.
The secret is in the spear that the angel is using. You can see it here...

...in his right arm. What you can't tell is that instead of being pointed at her heart, it's pointed straight at her johnson.

Now, if you look back at (yours,) mine (and ours), you can see that at one time there was a left arm. The idea, going into the painting, was to have the left arm gripping the shaft of the spear, helping--if you will--with the ramming into and out of the entrails.

Hey, I don't make this stuff up. I'm just reporting.

Anyway, at some point, I decided I didn't like the spear and whited (blacked) out the arm. I knew I was allowed to do this because my father took me, as a small boy, to the National Gallery of Art and showed me a painting by Winslow Homer in which he did the same thing, more or less.

Nonetheless, the idea behind both works is the same. That being, of course, that there's a fine line between spiritual and physical ecstasy. Bernini showed it his way. I took a more literal approach and created the two panels, one celebrating the flesh (the right one), one celebrating the spirit.

It has been called one of the most sensual works of art in existance.

Bernini's sculpture has been similarly praised, fyi.

I bring this all up because Simon Schama's latest episode was about the Bernini. Kind of fun to watch; widely exhibited on the PBS family of stations. Barring this, you can read the Wikipedia article on it here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The New Year

Herewith we begin Year Two of The Year of Magical Painting. Which is mathematically disintuitive, but there you are. I mean, shouldn't it be The Years of Magical Painting, if there are now two? Toothy question, yes?

The answer, however, is a simple one. It's not The Year of Realistic Painting, although my style is, I am sure you'd have to agree, surprisingly realistic. No. It's The Year of Magical Painting.
That's the point. This shit ain't bookkeeping. It's magical.

How else could something like this be explained?
I've got my eye on you, Butchie.

Monday, July 02, 2007


I got my eye on you, Butchie!

This would, of course, be the initial sketch for Cheerleader with Banana. You may notice two things: First, no banana. Second, we seem to have run out of steam a little when we got to the feet.

Also, I suppose, there's no cloze. Hey--it's a work in progress.

If you bodysurf in less than four or five feet of water (which I prefer, given my not-so-irrational fear that a shark is going to come up from below eat either all or part of me), the typically accepted idea of swimming toward shore until the wave catches you up and propels you forward is, in fact, not the way it works. Unless you have flippers and are a strong swimmer, the best way to catch the wave is by keeping your feet embedded in the sand, fighting the outward current as well as you can, until the moment comes when you actually jump forward. It doesn't hurt to paddle a couple of times either, but really it (like pitching) is all in the legs.

Painting, however, is not in the legs. Hands and eyes, mostly--if you think painting is a physical activity.

For me, it's all about meeting women.

I will say Cheerleader with Banana has a certain presence, when witnessed in the flesh. It's basically life-sized, so that's fun. And there's a topographical feel to the top line (i.e. her shoulder, neck, hip, calf, etc.) that I find appealing.