Thursday, October 11, 2007

Look Ma...I'm Rich!!!

$818,948.00 is, based on this week's sale of paintings, my annualized income. No. It's not hedge fund money. But it is some serious scratch nonetheless.

Out the door go Big Maria:

And Old Bobby Lee:

Both, if I do say so myself, are fabulous paintings. Truth be told, Big Maria might be more of a media event than she is the best painting in the world. Hey, sue me. But Old Bobby Lee is a painting, I have to tell you. It is a real painting! A stunner. The embodiment of classic obscured box dynamic disjunction--if that isn't too much jargon for you. I love this painting, period. But I love it all the more because I painted it during my stay in Leesburg. So there's all that stuff too.

But I'm okay with saying goodbye to Bobby Lee. A man, after all, has to eat (caviar-speckled blinis at Petrossian, washed down with champagne).

But it's saying goodbye to this one that is killing me:

It is, of course, "Elena in the Morning."

Do you see those white things sticking out from the edges of the painting? When I was first gessoing this particular canvas I gridded it out by laying thick household cord across the wet surface. I then painted over them again and again--white, white, white then the reddish brown that became the base color. The white things (the actual technical term for which is either doodles or noodles ... whichever isn't the egg pasta) are the unpainted tips of the cord. I like how they pop against the black wall the painting was mounted on when photographed.
"I'm a gifted surgeon. I could do something about that hump."
Its a painting of my friend Elena. And let me tell you, it took enough beer, Jack Daniels and inappropriate mood enhancers to subdue a regiment before she mustered the nerve to take off her clothes. All the while with me just standing there, channeling some combination of Humbert Humbert, Marty Feldman from Young Frankenstein, and that Wormtongue guy from the Lord of the Rings. Manomanoman, I was drooling so hard I was concerned I would short out my digital camera.

Okay, okay. Wait a minute. It wasn't at all like that last part.

It wasn't at all like that last part. I'm repeating here, for emphasis. Italicizing.

But I did think it was brave of her to pitch in the way she did.

People ask me how long it takes to paint these things. In the end, it's not the time spent painting, it's the time spent looking at the painting. I bet I stared at this painting for a hundred hours. What's a hundred hours? Two and a half weeks, assuming a 9-5 work dynamic (which couldn't have been farther from the way painting works)? Hell, I spent a thousand hours staring at this painting. Hell, I bet I spent a week, on and off, agonizing about just the nipples.

Because let me tell you: the whole damned thing was done except for those nipples and, at one point, I said to myself, "Man, if you fuck these up, you might as well jump the train to Harlem, buy a cheap gun and shoot yourself in the head."

Anyway, they turned out great. You should see them. People comment on them when they walk into my living room.

So Elena was an adventure. A gesture of love. A leap of faith. I love that faraway look in her eyes.
What are your plans for the weekend?
My plans for the weekend? I plan to spend a fair amount of time staring at this painting over the weekend. Some of that time leaning back in my chair, drinking my fake Jack Daniels, playing my '65 Rickenbacker. Which, by the way, hangs on the wall next to "Elena in the Morning." The color of the scratched, sweat-stained wood on the guitar is almost exactly the same color as the painting.

I can't believe I'm not going to have this painting to look at anymore.

I really can't believe it.


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