Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en

Hallowe'en was, for the record, a massive hoot. Left for me now is only the task of retrieving Shannon's bowl from the kitchen at the Peter McManus Cafe. Her squash dish was, really, outstanding. Top rank. All good.

I hope I can find that bowl. I was supposed to bring it home with me tonight, but things got out of hand so quickly, and with such profundity that the words "out," "of," and "hand," were each, individually, and in any combination you might come up with, rendered functionally meaningless.

I mean really. Things got out of hand.

I hope I can find that bowl. Otherwise, I'm so screwed.

Here's Another Thing I Wish

I wish I could more accurately recollect the exact moments at which I cooked up some of the ideas for paintings that have proven to be of enduring interest. I mean, when--exactly--and how--exactly--did I decide to separate by color the annotations of Dow Jones employees vs. the general public on "The Annotated Murdoch"?

Truth be told, I can only remember one.

{Brief personal aside--after last night it's a miracle I remember anything}

The one I remember goes something like this: I was sitting at the bar at Half King, talking to my friend Eric, explaining to him that I had been invited to participate in a show at the Veridian Gallery; that the show was an anti-war/anti-Bush affair; and that they had rejected my idea of "Bush Guernica" on the grounds that they wanted everything to be three or four feet wide rather than the eighteen feet I envisioned for my magnum opus. Then I added that if I didn't come up with something real soon (the show was in, like, two weeks), I would miss the boat.

Then I balled my hand together to make a puppet-face (like Senior Wences, whoever that is), held it up to Eric and said: "Speak to the hand 'cause the face ain't listening."

Two weeks later, this painting emerged...



Up on the wall it went...

And, as one thing so inevitably leads to another, I'm now one of the most famous painters in New York. Certainly top 500.

{Additional personal note: For Hallowe'en I'm going as Curt Schilling. I'm going to the studio now to get some red paint and put it on my sock.}

Honestly, how pretentious is that apostrophe between the two Es?
Pretty
Yes she was. You don't know the half.
No, that's not what I mean.
What do you mean?
I mean putting the apostrophe in Halloween is pretty pretentious.
Oh.
I thought you were putting an end to these indented, red-typed internal dialogues
Sometimes I can't help myself.
Oh.

Monday, October 29, 2007

One Thing that I Wish

Of course I wish a thousand things. One thing stands out (just now, at least). I wish I hadn't painted over this painting:



It's called--or was called--"Grasso II (Peerless)". It might now be "Spikus Aurelius." Don't completely remember. Or perhaps "Blue Stephanie"?

The moral? If you don't like it, fold it up and put it away. Spend the twenty bucks or so for clean canvas. Wake the fuck up. Be a man.

Something like that.

Two things that annoy me

Well, of course, there are thousands of things that annoy me. Two stand out. Both are statements. Actually the first one's m0re of a rhetorical question. Anyway, they are:

1--Why would I want a painting of myself?
2--I don't have room in my house (apartment) for a painting that big.

The narrowness of mind; the paucity of spirit suggested by Statement One is so self-evident as to warrant absolutely no reply. Other, perhaps, than something along the lines of: "Wake the fuck up. It's not a painting of you; it's a painting by me." Honestly, how self-involved can people be?

The second one is toothier. I mean, they are big paintings. But that doesn't make them unmanageable. It all depends on how you view the intersection of your life and your art. Me? I'm of the school of total integration. And because I am, I'm good with ramming the paintings in with everything else.

Herewith, Big Maria residing on the wall behind the lamp and next to my guitar.



Were she five by six instead of four by five, I can assure you her bottom would be hanging down behind that marble-topped chest of drawers.

Likewise my boy Rupert (disregard the focus--I shot it freehand) :



Here he fits nicely in this tableau of Geoff Raymond domestic bliss. Who wouldn't want to sit in one of these chairs, The Times at hand, the coffee mugged, steaming and pre-creamed? Not me, I can assure you.

The fact that the lamp and, to a degree, the backs of the chairs exist in front of the painting doesn't bother me at all. And so, by extension, neither should it bother you. In fact, I like it. I also like the half-painted wall behind the chair on the right. It feels ... Parisian. Like I'm living on the West Bank. If that's not in Israel.

Back to the bad news...

I don't like how everywhere I go, I feel like somebody's watching me.



Is it my imagination, or should I get the hell outside? I wonder if I'm going insane.

Update on annualized income...

What do you want first? The good news or the bad?

Well, there is no good news.

The bad news? Based on this week's sales (zero), my projected annual income is now approximately $272,666--down from the $818 Large we had projected two weeks ago.

I feel like that guy from Merrill Lynch. Except that he makes a lot more money than I do.

Back, for a moment, to the question of good news. Of course there is good news. How 'bout those Giants? You should taste the lentil soup I made on Saturday. My painting is going well. I have my health. I just found a can of Schlitz in the back of the refrigerator.



Wow. How iconic. And this is without even trying, photographically speaking.

If one concedes that part of my job is to reinterpret the work of the so-called masters (Vermeer, Close, Pollock, Warhol...) with my representational drip technique, then surely it makes sense to paint a can of Schlitz. This would be killing, by even the most minimalist of accounting, three birds (Pollock, Johns, Warhol) with one stone.

See? There's plenty of good news.

Remain calm.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Just for the Record

Just for the record, I think some of the recent posts have been some of my best.

For example, I love--LOVE--the narrative flow of "This From Gertie."

Ditto: "Sunday Morning in the Park"--even if this is the one where Vietnam started cropping up again. And that's a great picture of my boy Smokey.

And I thought "The Annotated Media" was quite the post, even though it probably represents--under the don't bite the hand that feeds you category--a bad idea.

In fact, the more I think about it, I think I'm really hitting my stride. You don't like it? Get your own fucking blog. Where are the cheerleaders?

Classic Post--Levi 501 Button-Fly Jeans (August 2006)

The woman who used to do my laundry must have looked at my socks and wondered what the hell I was up to. Even as I now type I'm wearing navy socks with red, blue, yellow and white paint marks on their soles. It's quite festive, in a discrete sort of way.

All of which leads me to a further explanation of what I do and how I do it.

On a logistical level, every painting goes through more or less the same sequence over and over again. The sequence is this:

I am sitting on my sofa staring at the unfinished painting on the wall of my studio. Depending on how the painting is going, I am filled, for example, with unbridled optimism (usually at the beginning) or extreme self-loathing (usually about 3/4 of the way through) or elation (sometimes, at the end, if I'm pleased) or some other emotion. In any case, I am invariably studying the painting, deciding what to do next. When the fit seizes me, I stand up, tear the painting off the wall, throw it on the floor, kick my shoes off, rip my pants off and start painting.

I keep my socks on because, really, if I get paint on the soles of my socks, who cares? My pants are another thing entirely. First, if you get paint all over your pants (and if your painting style involves throwing paint from the end of a stick, you will get paint all over your pants), they are essentially ruined. Second, they cost a lot more than socks.

Thus Levi 501 Button Fly Jeans. Provided you are not wearing a belt, there is no faster pant to be ripped off one's body than a pair of button fly 501s. You just grab the fabric in the vicinity of the top button and yank. The rest of them pop open in sequence, making a pleasing machine-gunny sound as the five buttons part company with their respective buttonholes. I'm reminded of how, back when the Knicks were really something to see, Pat Riley would signal to John Starks to enter the game and he'd jump up and somehow (I still don't actually know how--Velcro maybe) yank his warm-up pants off in one fell swoop, the way a magician yanks a tablecloth off without disturbing the dishes, and rush to the scorer's table.

Done painting, I let the canvas dry on the floor then put it back on the wall, put my shoes and pants back on and return to my spot on the sofa. The sequence then begins again.

What, Really, Is Normal?

A couple of readers have suggested that recent postings were "weirder" than normal. To this I would say, first off: if you don't like it, get your own fucking blog.

Second, I would ask what, really, is normal? And is normal what we're really shooting for here? I mean, is this that thing for which people pay significant money to subscribe to The Year of Magical Painting? Is any of this even normal? Abnormal seems closer to the facts of the matter. I like the sentence better when it reads: "...recent postings were "weirder" than abnormal." I'm also trying to figure out how to weave the brain scene from Young Frankenstein in here, but am coming up a little short. Perhaps something along the lines of...
I'm a gifted writer. I could do something about that blog.
What blog?
Which isn't even from the brain scene. That's weird.

Still, one has to listen to the public. To the stinking masses, if you will. So from now on, I promise to be more normal. No more of that creeping through knotted jungle, slathered with lard, a knife clenched in my teeth. No more of those Greek Chorus questioning voices.
What? Those are the best part.
I thought so too. But the public has spoken and your ass is out the door.
That's not fair. They're idiots.
You're telling me? You don't know the half. Don't forget to stop by Human Resources for your exit interview.

And no more of that "It's four in the morning and I'd like to vomit but I'm afraid I'll bleed to death through my eyeballs" business. Too graphic.

I've also decided to start a new section, called--at least for now--Classic Posts. This is me, of course, dragging old posts back up to the front, just to remind of you of the good old days before things got weird.

For the record, I think it's the Vietnam stuff that's freaking everybody out.

Wait 'til I start telling you about pushing that howitzer up a muddy Korean ridge.

erratum

I use the Latin singular because, honestly, if I opened the door for a close examination of the errata contained in The Year of Magical Painting it would, possibly, be the end of the world. At least as we know it.

That said, the quickest of notes on "Blood on Shit" as featured just below:

I think that is the complete image, and I apologize if I caused any inconvenience by suggesting otherwise.

This from Gertie

Gertrude Stein is really just full of interesting stuff, and although we couldn't be more different, generally speaking, we do share the firm belief--albeit often unshared by others--in our own particular genius.

She writes:
"It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing."
Which is an amusing quote--one I couldn't possibly let just sit there without adding, roughly paraphrased, James Thurber's famous thought on workplace behavior:
"The hardest thing about my job is convincing my wife that staring out the window is part of it."
To which I will now add a note from The XW--someone who doesn't get enough screen time here at The Year of Magical Painting:
"Geoff has developed reading The New York Times into an art-form."
She gets her own color.

I don't think it was meant as a compliment, but I'm taking it that way.

And speaking of The Times, I found myself in Chelsea last night, in the Sonnabend Gallery, staring at a work by Gilbert & George titled "Blood on Shit." It's maybe ten by twenty, so no wonder they couldn't fit the whole image on the screen. Or maybe they are worried about copyright issues.

Anyway, this is most, but not all of it:



It was hard to see, for me at least, because my date was so searingly beautiful I had to squint to avoid eye damage. I swear to God, to see this girl in sunlight would surely be to see Marxism die. I remember thinking, "She's so hot, if I can just hang in there 'til breakfast, I can fry the eggs right on her stomach."

It's good to be famous.

But that's not the point. The point is that there we were, staring at this odd but remarkable work. And now, a day later, I read that the gallery owner, Ileana Sonnabend, died a couple of days ago. Her first New York show? Those same Gilbert & George.

Of Mrs. S. and G&G The Times writes:

Mrs. Sonnabend’s exhibitions often had the art world talking. One was “Underneath the Arches,” in which the British team of Gibert & George, painted gold and wearing tweed suits, lip-synched a British vaudeville song over and over. The performance opened Mrs. Sonnabend’s gallery at 420 West Broadway — one of the earliest in SoHo — in 1971.

This is why we read The Times carefully.

FYI--In 1971 I was crawling through barbed wire wearing nothing but pig lard and a large sharp knife. There are nights when I wake up and can still smell that shit (A spooky thought as Hallowe'en {honestly, how pretentious is throwing that apostrophe between those two Es?} approaches). We did, once the acid had kicked in, take turns painting each other's faces in what could only be called "haute camo"--irregular stripes of heliotrope. viridian and celeste.

My boy Frankie C. later copped our whole gig for "Apocalypse Now."

And that, dear reader, is how I started painting faces.

Because Life is a Circle, it is worth noting that the first time I ever showed a painting in New York was at the Viridian Gallery on 25th Street.

Spooky.

Spo'oky.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Have located chicken wrangler

Regarding "The Chickens of Helmut Lang", the good news is that my friend Chuck has agreed to serve as chicken wrangler (no chickens were injured during the filming of this painting) for my upcoming chicken shoot.

"Upcoming" being one of those forward-thinking statements that typically appear in public financial documents and then, at the end of which, are disclaimed as forward-thinking (i.e. meaning they are the sheerest of conjecture).

Chuck, I must say, can cook a chicken like nobody's business. While this is not the skills set we are necessarily looking for in a wrangler, many say the measure of a man is how well he roasts a chicken.

My friend Earl is strong with beef, particularly on the barbeque. So when I need a cattle wrangler--for, say, "The Cattle of Ralph Lauren"--he will get the call.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Big Erin IV (The Hearing Impaired)

Eureka! By jove, I think I've got it.

Consider the following:



I'm loving how the blues of her outfit match the blues of the electronic set. And those oranges--very lovely.

Now, envision, emblazoned across her wonderfully pink solar plexus, in black panels with white type (mimicking the closed captions they provide for the hearing-impaired) the words: "If that idiot Cramer drools on my blouse one more time I'm gonna freak out!"

I'm calling it Big Erin IV (The Hearing Impaired)

Gertie

My parents were never rich --my father worked for the Department of Agriculture-- but we did, at one time, have a maid. Her name was Gertie. Which is really only of passing interest (the primary purpose of this admission being to plant the seed in your mind that my having clambered to the heights of whatever heights I've clambered to is made all the more noteworthy by my humble beginnings), since the Gertrude I really want to write about is Gertrude Stein.



This would, of course, be her.

I am, at a friend's suggestion, reading "Two Lives" by Janet Malcolm--a biography of G. Stein and (Alice) B. Toklas. It's interesting enough to drag me away from "Tree of Smoke," (Denis Johnson) which is really interesting. So that says something.

And, under the category of You-Learn-Something-New-Every-Day, I discovered, while reading the book, that "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" was actually written by G. Stein. Which is disintuitive, to say the least, given the title.
You didn't know that? That's pathetic, for someone who likes to flash around pretentious literary references like Elvis Presley did hundred dollar bills.
No. I didn't. I don't think I've ever clapped eyes on anything by Gertrude Stein. And it is sort of pathetic. Shouldn't they have made me read this stuff in college? Or at least strongly suggested? But hey, everybody's got holes. Did I tell you my first sailboat was named Moby Duck?
You're not going to do that whole Rat slash Mole/Wind in the Willows/Messing around in boats thing now, are you?
I was going to, until you waxed snippy.
Sorry. Why don't you tell your Gertrude Stein story.
Apology accepted. I remember inviting my friend Elena to my studio for a first-viewing of my painting of her called "Elena in the Morning" and noticing that she didn't seem to like it. "What's wrong?" I asked (knowing that she couldn't be objecting to the nipple treatment, which was, if I do say so myself, fantastic).



"It doesn't look like me," she said.

Now this, dear reader, is just what Gertrude Stein said to Picasso after seeing his portrait of her. Picasso replied: "It will."

So I said to Elena, "It will."
Happy now?
Little bit. I think I'm going to have to read "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas."
They were lesbians.
No way. Really?

I can't paint mayonnaise

While we're on the topic of condiments, I don't think it was ketchup on Kurt Schilling's sock. I think it was mayonnaise. The reason nobody knows this is because then his ankle started bleeding and he then got all that famous blood on it.

Anyway, back to Erin Burnett:



This would, of course, be her. Shot straight from the TV screen. I think next time I'm going to use a tripod.

And really, even though she's an extremely attractive woman, she's like a lot of extremely attractive, 30-year old women with clean, regular features and nice grooming. Hard to paint (Trust me--I paint 'em all the time). To quote somebody: "There's no there there."

We're not talking intellectually. I mean, the girl has a pretty good sense of humor and obviously knows her stuff. It's just that I can't find the topographical hook (this is a technical term for a part of the face that, if rendered correctly, screams (in this case) "Erin Burnett" through the fog of the rest of my incompetence).

It's like she doesn't have a wrinkle on her face. And, given that this girl represents cash-money (i.e. an established commission), I can't just step away and say "sorry, I've got other fish to fry."

I'm so screwed. I can't paint mayonnaise.

Herewith a ray of hope...

All that said, I spent part of last night interviewing a friend in-depth on a variety of subjects. When I showed her the picture of Burnett, she said: "I love how she flips up her ends."

I think I responded with something about Mary Tyler Moore. But this morning, while making my peanut butter and jelly sandwich (Smucker's Natural, Smooth--I add a dash of salt before stirring--and Welch's Grape Jelly**), I realized it wasn't Laura Petrie I was thinking about, but That Girl.

Perhaps it's a hair thing. Perhaps that's the topographical hook. And this, by the way, is no the time for nose jokes. I love women with big noses.

** Geoff to The Mother Ship: Beam me back up please. I apologize.

Publish or Perish

Was pleased and honored to receive the following:
Dear Geoffrey Raymond,

Congratulations! We are delighted to inform you that your work has been
accepted to participate in the Politics of Power show at the BAG Gallery.

We have accepted the work:

Title: The Annotated Murdoch
Jpeg Image: IMG1702.JPG

Below are details regarding the opening reception as well as artwork drop
off and pick up information.

Blah...blah...blah
Good to see Big Rupert getting his share of snaps.

My heart soars like an eagle.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Irish Spring

I just popped open a new bar of Irish Spring soap and all I can think of is Willem de Kooning.



Although he's more of a yellow/blue/pink guy than a green/white/blue guy.

The question, of course, is how long should you stick with your original bar of soap? It's not that they get small and bent out of shape. I think age does something else for soap. I think you lose the foaming oil a lot earlier than you think. I mean, I've still got some soap left. Plenty. But the suds? The bar didn't have nearly the foaming action of the new one (size notwithstanding. Size, as we know, isn't everything).

In the metaphor, foaming, of course, represents legitimate creative output.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's 11:13 pm

It's almost quarter after eleven and I've got a real urge for the crab legs from Joe's Stone Crab House in Miami. Have you ever been there?

I'm looking at the size of my stomach and wondering if perhaps I'm pregnant. I think I need to go to Miami. While I'm there, I will certainly stop for a late lunch on the veranda of the Clevelander, where they have (or had) a baked brie and fruit plate which is also really something.

Literary Humor

Shakespeare and the King of England are sitting against a tree, taking shots of Jack Daniels straight from the bottle. At some point, Shakespeare get up to leave. The King follows suite until Shakespeare turns and points to the now-left-behind bottle of JD, saying: "Henry ... the fifth?"

Were I a more gifted craftsman, I would also weave in something having to do with "leave the gun, take the cannoli."

I Can't Wait for Christmas

I can't wait for Christmas.
Why?
Why, you ask? Because the painting I am working on now is a surprise Christmas present for someone who already owns an original Geoffrey Raymond. Wow! Now that, my friend, is a Christmas present. Still time to place an order for a loved one.

I have also been asked not to share the development of this particular image with you, my devoted public, for fear of, in one way or another, spilling the beans.

Nonetheless, into the breach!

Quick aside: How, I wonder, does one go into the breach? How does one actually get there? Is it a specific thing, like riding (See: Tennyson, Alfred Lord; "The Charge of the Light Brigade")?
Half a league! Half a league!
If Shakespeare is to be believed (and really, who wouldn't?), one doesn't even go into the breach. One unto's one's way in. If you will.

This from "Henry V":
KING: Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility,
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect:
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a gallèd rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height! On, on, you noble English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof,
Fathers that like so many Alexanders
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonor not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you called fathers did beget you!
Be copy now to men of grosser blood
And teach them how to war! And you, good yeomen,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture. Let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not,
For there is none of you so mean and base
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot!
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry! England and Saint George!'
Whoa! Stop everything.

Just to show you that life is a series of circles (and as further proof that I, your humble servant, don't just sit around doing shots and complaining that I don't know what to paint but rather, even on the fly, even in the midst of a post, rabidly research the shit I am feeding you), consider this:

The Battle of Agincourt (which, at least in Shakespeare's version, featured the above speech) happened on the same day as The Charge of the Light Brigade! Different year, mind you (1415 vs. 1854). But same day. October 25th. A mere coupla days hence.
What are the chances of that?
Pretty low, by my estimation. Right there with the likelihood that The Iceman, my boy Kimi Raikkonen--the Flying Finn, astride his flying red Ferrari--could win the F1 driver's championship on the last day of the season, coming from seven points behind Hamilton and four points behind Alonso.

Me? I am deeply moved. I swear, when Raikkonen won yesterday I almost burst into tears. Either I'm too sensitive or else I'm getting soft.

Consider this (if, perhaps, for the fifth or sixth time):
1.

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.

2.

"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.

3.

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.

4.

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.

5.

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.

6.

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 wish my father was still alive. I would call him up and share with him this interesting fact, and he, in his own way, would express gentle shock that this was just now coming to me for the first time.
"In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility"
That's quite a line.

Do you know that, at 100 mph, Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari could just as easily drive across the ceiling as across the floor (assuming your apartment was big enough)?

What to paint....

Paralyzed by indecision. I should just paint fucking Hamlet.

A couple of weeks ago it hit me: Paint Roger Ailes. Display it for annotation to coincide with the launch of the Fox News Network (whose obsession with the evils of Big Government as its guiding business philosophy is already tiring; heading towards annoying; and potentially dangerous in the way other Fox properties already are). Great idea.0

We know how that turned out, so now the question remains, "Whither Geoffrey?"

Then it hit me: Why not just paint the commissions? I mean, when I'm done with them, someone will give me some money. Yes?

Hell, someone will give me money if I just start one of the damned things.

So really, what's the question?

Don't bother calling, I'll be too busy. Unless you are a member of the financial elite. Or Helmut Lang.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Space Food

Remember how, back when space travel was new, there was some fascination with what people would eat in space, and how they'd eat it? Some discussion centered around the idea of food with the rough consistency of toothpaste.

Fast forward to this morning. Despite declaring to my friend Chuck that I would never eat at the Purity Diner, I ended up eating my breakfast there. It is, I believe, the most horrible restaurant I've ever been in more than once. Have you ever ordered a pint of beer in a bar? If so, you know how big one of those glasses is. So I ask the waitress for a small orange juice to go with my glass of milk, plus, of course, my two eggs over medium, sausage and hash-browns.

She says to me, "We only have one size," and points to my pint glass of water. A pint of orange juice? What kind of diner doesn't have some of those little glasses for juice?

And the hash-browns? They were horrible. The consistency of toothpaste. How, one wonders, can you possibly screw up hash-browns? As I understand it, they are a combination of diced potatoes, onions, maybe green pepper, some paprika and some hash oil. After a bit of initial cooking, you just leave them on the back of the grill and serve them up with the eggs.

The only reason I went to Purity was because Dizzy's was about as busy as Grand Central Station on a Friday afternoon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Update on annualized income...

The bad news is in.

Based on this week's sales (zero), my projected yearly income is now approximately $409,500.00--down from the $818 Grand we had projected last week.

I guess Geoff Raymond, as a business model, is its own bubble.

I'm blaming Greenspan.

It's 4:53

Okay.

Do you remember that talk about The Chickens of Helmut Lang? Here's a taste:



I mean, who wouldn't want to paint this? I'm thinking of a tighter crop--more like a head and shoulders portrait, if chickens have shoulders.

Also, it should be noted, this is not one of Helmut Lang's chickens. Its just a chicken.

It's 4:52 (pm)

It's 4:52 (some thirteen hours later) and things are coming around. I will, however, be hell pulling the band-aids off my eyeballs.

It's 3:51

It's 3:51. Don't even ask. I've been to the edge of the abyss. I saw Caroline the Vegan there. Pulled her back from the edge, as best I could. Now I'm home.

Don't even ask.

"Do you even know," I shouted into the darkness, "what an egg is?"

No answer.

Not even an echo.

Man, that's an abyss.

Now it's 3:56. Going to bed.

Manomanoman.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Springsteen concert leaves me speechless

The Bruce Springsteen concert was smashing. Left me speechless.

Really. I literally can't speak. Or is it hear? Definitely one of the two. Whichever is the one where you find yourself in a bar after the concert and you say to a pretty girl, "Can I strap my hands across your engines?" and, in reply, she furrows her brow, starts moving her lips at a rapid rate, but nothing comes out except a kind of burbling like a loudspeaker under water and some crackling noises? Then she slaps you?

So maybe it's hearing. It's definitely one of the two.

What exactly is Mary's dress doing?

Readers from the Garden State suggest that the lyric should read that Mary's dress "sways" instead of "waves."

These people obviously don't realize that you can't raise the Cane back up when it's in defeat.

I, your dedicated correspondent, in the interest of accuracy, consulted three lyric websites to get some consensus. The first two were split, one each for waves/sways. The third, Brucespringsteen.net (who, you would think, would know) offers:

The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside
darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold
Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back
If you're ready to take that long walk
>From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely
For words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free
All the promises'll be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers
And I'm pulling out of here to win.


Truth in blogging? I always thought the lyrics were:
The screen door slams
Mary, dressed, waits...
Which I think is pretty good.

Of course, I also always thought Roy Orbison was singing for baloney.

This is a town for losers. I'm blowin' out of here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The screen door slams...

In approximately 24 hours, Bruce Springsteen is going to shout the words "The screen door slams."

At which point I, my friend Chuck and the rest of Madison Square Garden are going to shout the words "Mary's dress waves..."

Then there will that dancing across the porch and Roy Orbison business.

Or something to that effect. I don't know what songs he's singing on this tour. But something like that will happen.

Me? I didn't particularly want to see a Springsteen concert. But I felt, as your intrepid reporter, that it was something I had to do. Not for me. For you.

Report to follow.

Bonus note: the last time I was at Madison Square Garden I was hoarse the next day from shouting "woo woo" during Sympathy for the Devil.

Fair warning: I'm sure the next several days will be filled with Springsteen quotes. If you don't like it, get your own fucking blog.

I joined MySpace

I joined MySpace because I used it to hunt somebody down that I wanted to contact, but they wouldn't let me send her an email unless I was a member.

So: myspace.com/geoffreyraymond. I wish I could figure out how to customize the look of my page, but it has so far eluded me.

A number of people have asked to be my friend. They fall into three categories: 1) the Tom guy who is everybody's friend, B) my daughter (and possibly some of her friends) and iii) young women who I can only assume, based on the nature of their communication, are hookers.

I'm gonna have to sell more paintings.

Monday, October 15, 2007

This Painting is now Officially Famous

You can see "Elena in the Morning" hanging here next to my '64 Rickenbacker in the Northeast corner of my living room. Do you like the crown molding? You can't see all of it.



On the surface of the painting is affixed a piece of typing paper with the following message on it:
This painting is now officially famous...
Page Six
New York Magazine
Dealbreaker
Etc.
Etc.
Honestly, how more do you need to justify squeezing out five grand?
This actually was part of my Big Maria marketing strategy--designed to inform passers-by that Big Maria was, in fact, the real deal. It's what we call motivational copy.

The reason it's on "Elena" is that it's part of my letting go process. Defacing the painting, if you will. Sticking shit on it. Putting a lamp in front of it. Hocking the occasional loogie. Etc. Etc.

Remain calm. Tomorrow it's gone. Then I'll be okay again.

Monday in the Park with Dog

My boy Smokey has several endearing qualities. One is that, once he has decided where he wants to dump his load, he runs in a little circle for a couple of rotations before dropping and pooping. It helps me, the bag man, identify the exact location of the poop for scooping purposes.

So there I stand, armed with one of those blue plastic wrappers that the daily Times comes in. The technique is to slide your hand inside the bag, then grab the poop, then roll the top of the bag back down your arm, pulling the poop that had once been on the outside of the bag so that it now resides on the inside of the bag.

And so it goes. And I'm marveling at how warm the poop feels in my hand. I'm feeling very close to the dog. Then I pull my hand away and find that there was a hole in the end of the Times bag and instead of holding the poop through the bag, I'm simply holding the poop.

Uttering the word "shit" at this point has many meanings.

Sunday Morning in the Park

I've been sold a pig in a poke--whatever that means. Polk?

This is my man, Smokey:



I hold no grudge against the dog himself. He is, in fact, one of the finest of his kind.

I will say this, however: When I agreed to the dog-sitting gig, it was specifically mentioned that, for the Sunday morning off-the-leash walk in Prospect Park, I could bring the paper along and read it at my leisure while Smokey did whatever he had to do.

Fine, I thought. Splendid. Sign me up for the dog-sitting. Nothing I like better than dogs and reading The Times in a pastoral location. Seemed like the perfect combination. Perhaps a cup of coffee...

Anyway, let me set the stage: Sunday in the Park (with apologies to both George--whoever he is--and the guy with the very small paintbrush):



Now, Prospect Park's version of the Great Lawn is a rolling swath of grass and trees, perhaps a hundred yards wide and 3/4 of a mile long. Really quite stunning.

Now picture yourself on a train in a station.

No...that's not right. Picture, instead, the park filled with dogs and people. Perhaps a thousand of each. Look more closely. Consider that perhaps 80% of the dogs are both black and medium-sized. Now scroll back up to take a gander at Smokey the Wonder Dog. Medium-sized dog. Black (by and large). You do the math.

Actually Smokey has a couple of highly distinctive characteristics. His right eye has no pigment in the iris--it's a milky white while the other one is a more traditional doggy brown. Had Smokey been involved in Pickett's Charge, the confusion related to "wait 'til you see the whites of their eyes" might have caused a good deal of disfunction among the Union ranks and perhaps resulted in some of my southern brothers being spared for another day.
Captain, are we waiting 'til we see the whites in both their eyes, or is one enough?
Good God, man. Fire the musket! Fire the musket!
Smokey also has a kind of a white goatee. I think men with goatees seem like they are trying a bit too hard. But on the dog it's a good look. Really.

And this, I have to tell you, is all well and good when you are, say, sitting on the couch and Smokey is five or so feet away. But try using these features for definitive identification when the dog is a hundred feet away, running at top speed, and you are so hung over you're seeing double and what you really want to do is throw up, but you're afraid that if you do, you'll bleed to death through your eyeballs.

Anyway, it goes without saying that there was no Times-in-the-Park-on-Sunday-for-Geoff. Instead? Non-stop terror. What if I lose the dog? What if I lose the dog?

Honestly, I can't even imagine that conversation.

Were you in Vietnam? Two things I remember: First, crawling through fields of barbed wire, wearing nothing by GI issue boxers, slathered with animal lard so the barbs didn't catch the skin, K-Bar in my teeth, nothing but bad intentions on my mind.

The second? Non-stop terror. You can't even imagine.

What you likely can imagine is how jarring this whole walk-the-dog thing has been.
Shoot her!
She's a civilian?
Shoot her. Shoot her
No way.
Okay I'll shoot her. And her little dog too.
Bang.
Bobby? You okay? Bobby?
Just for the record, that whole hung-over thing a couple of paragraphs ago sprang straight from my imagination. I don't drink nearly that much anymore, and besides, I didn't dare go out Saturday night. Got-to-watch-the-dog. What-if-something-happens-to-the-dog?

Non-stop terror. You can't even imagine.

My troubles are many

When I saw that this week was going to feature perfect weather for al fresco exhibition of controversial paintings, I rued the absence of my much-talked-about Roger Ailes painting. Then I thought to myself: "How hard, really, would it be to bang out a picture of a bald man with a double chin and scary eyes?"

Then I came to my senses. Besides my mind is on other projects right now (although Ailes remains an excellent subject).

A portion of my mind is thinking about Vinny Testaverde. I'm one of those Jets fans who, even after all these years, doesn't give a shit about Chad Pennington. I admire him, sure. But sometimes I listen to my friend Lawrence wax rhapsodic about that numb-nuts of an Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. His eyes glaze over in adoration, like some kind of religious cult. That's what I'm looking for in a quarterback. A religious experience. And what do I get? Chad Pennington.

I wish we had Vinny back. Interesting last name--Testaverde. Sounds like a reproductive disease. As in: "Shit! My balls are green!"

You have to love the Italians.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shit! Shit...shit...shit...shit!

It just hit me. I mean really, it just hit me.

As tempting as "The Annotated Ailes" is, I ain't doing that painting. For purely practical matters, I'm probably at about maximum media saturation right now, and certainly part of the marketing strategy for a painting like that is to get a bunch of media coverage. So, as lovely as the timing is with FBC's premiere on Monday, it just ain't happening. Another reason why it ain't happening is because it didn't happen. I mean, there's no painting. Nada.

But that's not the point. The point is this: Or, rather, the build-up to the point is this:

I sold two paintings from "inventory" the other day. Went to great lengths below to explain my feelings about said transaction. No need to dredge up more unpleasantness. And truth be told, "unpleasantness" isn't even close to the right word. I'm delighted to get the money. "Delighted!"--now that's a word. Plus, a man has to eat (caviar-speckled blinis at Petrossian, washed down with champagne). And my grieving at the loss of "Elena in the Morning" is coming to an end, so I'm pulling myself together. Plus, really, I've got to man-up a little bit here. What kind of an idiot becomes a painter, then falls apart when he sells one?
"Falls apart" is pretty strong, don't you think? I don't think you "fell apart." You just voiced an honest emotion about how much you were going to miss one particular painting. This is why people read your stupid blog. It would be strange if you weren't attached to the damned things.
Thank you. That's nicely said.

You're welcome. Although I did think your line about drooling so hard you were afraid you'd short out your digital camera was disgusting.

That again? I thought we were past that--what with all the explaining I did in the subsequent posts.

You will always be accountable for the shit that you do--you loathsome excuse for a human.

Hey. She wanted to take her clothes off.

Sure--after six Heinekens, two shots of sour mash whiskey and enough dope to sedate Secretariat. Puleeze.
So the point is this: I need more inventory. I need to be painting non-sensational images. Images like my Chuck Close painting. Bush Guernica (my as yet un-started magnum opus). The portrait of Rob from Elmo. The Chickens of Helmut Lang.

Have we discussed The Chickens of Helmut Lang?

Because if I keep selling from inventory (which is good), I'm gonna run out of the damned stuff (which is bad). Then what am I going to do?

The strategy is this (if you feel the need to know, first hand, straight from the horse's mouth, the Geoffrey Raymond strategy): Use the high-visibility paintings to: a) sell portraits to the financial elite and b) while I've got their attention, sell them what might be considered "fine art" paintings from inventory.

So that's what I'm doing. Don't bother calling--I won't pick up. Unless you are a member of the financial elite.

And if I haven't told you about The Chickens of Helmut Lang, remind me to. I can promise you, they are going to be huge. In every sense of the word. Mammoth.

It's 8:00 a.m.

It's eight in the morning and I'm walking the dog. Last time I was up at 8, I don't think I'd gone to bed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Walking the dog

It's important, every once in a while, to dog-sit for friends. Just to remind you why, no matter how lovable they may seem, dogs should be appreciated from a distance.

Now I am one of those people who watches "The Dog Whisperer" so devotedly that I can name a good portion of his pack. Daddy would, of course, be my favorite. And, having watched so many episodes, I realize that the first order of business with any dog, including Smokey, my weekend guest, is to go for a walk. Cesar uses the initial walk to help the dog understand who is pack leader. And once that relationship is established, nothing but good things happen thereafter.

Of course there was some initial resistance regarding what I think is the right and wrong way to conduct one's affairs. A couple of minor clashes of will, if you will. And the question did hang in the air for quite a while as to just who was the owner of the mushroom slice I bought on the corner. Stuff like that.

But all is well. I am in command. I'm like Alexander Haig, I'm so in command.

I'm sitting, staring at "Elena in the Morning", playing my guitar, singing the blues. Have you tried those PomWonderful tea blends that come in their own glasses? Man, they are okay. And it's hard for me to say such a thing, since their antioxidant research is second-tier, at best.

Smokey is in his dog bed reading The Times. Apparently he's one of those intelligent dogs--a Sheltie, or a Shetland Sheep Dog, or a Border Collie. Whichever are the ones who are smart enough to read The Times.

And we've reached a consensus on the Amos Lee/Ray LaMontagne issue. We both agree Amos is half the man Ray is.

Life is good. Smokey can smell the eucalyptus. I can smell Smokey.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Annotated Elena

People have a tendency to run around like chickens without heads, so I thought I'd just offer a bit of clarification about the "Look Ma...I'm Rich!!!" post, wherein I wrote:
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.
For the record, she wanted to pose nude. I said to her, "Would you be interested in posing for a second painting nude? The fee is double." (She had already sat, clothed, for one painting) And she said something to the effect that "Yeah. That might be interesting." And I said, "If you're nervous about anything, you're welcome to bring a friend." And she did.

So really, things couldn't have been more appropriately handled. Just for the record.

But--when push came to shove--it did take her a while to build up the courage to not only take her cloze off, but to then pose for digital photography. I mean, have you seen the internet lately?

Me? I was sipping green tea. After all, somebody had to take the pictures.

Look Ma...I'm Rich!!!, Part Deux

In keeping with the Truth in Blogging Act, we should probably get back to the 800 grand. This figure supposes, I suppose, that I'll be able to replicate this week's haul for the next 51 weeks. This may be difficult.

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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm a firm believer in channeling the inner woman

It is often suggested that women reach decisions by talking (sometimes, perhaps, too exhaustively for some tastes) them through.

Thus, I am pleased to announce that, based on all the Nelly-boy yakking committed in the previous post, I have seized upon "The Annotated Ailes" as my next painting.



Now this, I want to tell you, is a real photo.

TBD remains the question of painting it in black and white vs. defaulting back to color. What is decided, of course, is that the background will be gessoed white. White like the underside of a dead fish. White like the corners of their eyes when the Union Soldiers opened up on Pickett's men.
You can't raise the Cane back up when it's in defeat.
They say that Longstreet wept openly as Pickett began his bloody march.



These are George Pickett's eyes.



These are Roger Ailes' eyes. Can you tell what he's thinking? I'm going with something along the lines of:
If you're going to get my painting done by October 15th, you'd better get your ass in gear.
Certainly a point taken. I'd forgotten until a couple of minutes ago that this was the 10th. This, I suppose, goes hand-in-hand with my frequent inability to identify what day of the week it is.

I hope the weather's nice on the 15th.

The Bartiromo/Burnett Wars

Who's to say there's even a war. If there is, and victory is predicted as a function of media saturation, then my girl Maria is gonna be kicking ass and taking names in the near future.

How, you ask, do I know this?

Well, I don't actually know this. But I can tell you this: If you Google Bartiromo for images, you get about a zillion. If you do the same with Burnett, you get a page and a half.

Do you know what this reminds me of? Try Googling Geoffrey Raymond.

I mean: a) How many of us can there be? and b) Surely, given the recent events, I'm dominating the first Google page.

Except for this professor from UCSB. This son of a bitch--he whose name cannot be mentioned but which is not Voldemort--is firmly ensconced in slot one. Page Six got me to the number two slot, thank God. But then there's some guy named me who joined Broadleaf Capital a while back. (It says "His main activities are in strategic planning, risk analysis, value management and training"--which I would have been excellent at in the previous iteration of GVR.) Then back to Geoffrey Raymond from Santa Barbara. Then, if I'm correct, him yet again. Then me.

How, one might ask, am I to become the pre-eminent portrait painter of the 21st Century if there are two guys out there with the same name as me that have a better pr programs in place?

This is galling. To suggest that I'm verklempt is like suggesting that Andre Soltner stuffing pate de foi gras under the skin of a tender young chicken and roasting it is a good idea. It's the understatement of the millennium.



I guess we're italicizing verklempt?

Whither Geoffrey?

Herewith today's quandary--titled for your convenience "Whither Geoffrey?"

All of which is to say that, as I sit at my keyboard I realize I'm filled, not with the urge to write the usual pablum that passes around here for state-of-the-art blogging, but rather with the urge to begin a new painting.
Easy enough...
"Easy enough?" That's all you have to say? Do you think this shit is easy? I've got a headache thinking about it. More specifically, do I paint the 5x6 version of the Chuck Close self-portrait that will bookend nicely with the one I already have? The one I'll call "Close, But No Cigar"?



Or, in a spasm of timeliness, do I paint "The Annotated Ailes" and present it for commentary in front of the NYSE to coincide with the launch of the Fox Business Channel?



Show of hands. How many of you have even heard of Roger Ailes? Looking closer, is that even the question? I mean, I'm marketing myself to a select group, likely all of whom have heard of Roger Ailes. But still....

Or, do I ride the wave and paint Erin Burnett in a manner similar to Big Maria?



The thinking here (which by the way does make me giggle--always a good sign) is to interpret her in a religious manner ala Big Maria, with the arch over her head inscribed with:
"I swear to God, if Cramer drools on me one more time I'm gonna freak out!"
And, just to show you how verklempt I am about the whole thing, I pasted the wrong Roger Ailes picture in the slot above. This is the one I'd use, were I to use it:



I mean, honestly! That is a picture. Kind of screams Citizen Kane, doesn't it?

If they ever draft me and send me to Vietnam, I hope they let me wear Erin Burnett's hair as a helmet. Gotta be bulletproof.

I'm a great multi-tasker, but...

I'm a great multi-tasker, but today all I can think about are La Tasha Colander-Richardson (now that's a name!), Jearl Miles-Clarke, Passion Richardson and the rest of the girls who shared Olympic gold medals with Marion Jones in two relay events.

The question on the table is, of course, should they give back their golds, given that one of their teammates was ingesting performance enhancing drugs.

Were it me, I'd hold onto mine.



This is a picture of my girl La Tasha. Good to see she drives a Toyota.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

West Coast Correspondent Smotes Opposition in Chicago Marathon

TYOMP (pronounced, dis-intuitively, "triumph") West Coast Correspondent Aimee Something recently ran in the Chicago Marathon. Although first hand reports are skimpy, and newspaper reports suggest that someone else won the women's division, I have no doubt that she comported herself with grace, sportsmanship, and a joie de vivre of the very first class.

At least until her knees started really hurting. Then I'm sure she was all elbows and surly glances.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ave Maria

Let this be the last time we speak of "Big Maria I (Plane Too Many)."



Ave Maria
Gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tuae, Jesus.
Ave Maria


Ave Maria
Mater Dei
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Ora pro nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Et in hora mortis nostrae
Ave Maria

I came in second for the Latin Medal in 10th Grade (who's impressed now?), although I'm a bit rusty now. For those of you rustier than me, it translates roughly, assuming I've got it right, into "Next time, fly commercial."

Plus some other stuff.

The Annotated Media...continued

One last thing about the portfolio.com piece. It included not only a picture of the painting, but also a facsimile of the sketch I did when first planning the piece.

This would, of course, be it:



In a world that often lacks delicacy, it was, I thought, a nice touch.

The Annotated Media.

Callen Bair wrote a nice piece about me on Portfolio.com. I thought, since it was a nicely put together, pretty accurate presentation of the story, that it might be the perfect candidate for a new feature here on TYOML... The Annotated Media.

Tah daaahhhh!!!

The piece went like this. My comments have been added in red.

Painting the Faces of Business

I like the headline. In her earlier quicky-blurb about Big Maria she used the phrase "portraitist-to-the-business-elite," a line of copy of which I'm extremely fond.

As mentioned earlier this week, Geoffrey Raymond of Annotated Murdoch fame (this I like too, for purely egotistical reasons), is downtown peddling (I was feeling pretty good up until "peddling," which only further reinforces the artist-as-cheap-whore image explored a couple of posts ago) the faces of business again, this time with a portrait of CNBC business news anchor Maria Bartiromo as the Virgin Mary — he's calling it Big Maria.

When I was talking to Ms. Bair I did refer to it as Big Maria. Truth be told, I'm not sure what the hell the name of the painting is. I'm of half a mind to keep the original "Big Maria I (Plane Too Many)" title, although she couldn't be expected to know that.

"The original reason why I painted the picture...was that I was actually kind of outraged by the...Bartiromo / Todd Thomson / Citigroup / private jet quasi-scandal," Raymond said. "It struck me as one more aspect of how the media isn't what it used to be."

Exactly. I might have put a slash after "private jet", but that's just a quibble. Further: what outraged me was that poor Todd Thompson lost his job over the damned thing (although you could argue that this was merely the window dressing for what would have probably happened anyway, given the ongoing Citigroup cleansing by the now-not-so new boy Chuck Prince), whereas Ms. B--presumably one of the most influential financial reporters on television--didn't even get her hand slapped. The fact of the matter is that she should be scrupulous in not just avoiding impropriety, but also in avoiding the appearance of impropriety. I mean, isn't all this about credibility? And if all this is okay with CNBC, they should look at their policies on this matter. I wonder if CNBC's policies on reporter/subject relationships are the same as NBC's.

Bartiromo as the Holy Mother, then, would be ironic commentary.

I couldn't have said it better.

Raymond has been exhibiting the painting in front of the New York Stock Exchange — where the "Money Honey," herself, reportedly peeked out to take a look at the portrait — and Goldman Sachs — because "that's where the money is." Even so, the passers-by interested in acquiring the paintings Raymond has put on view always low ball him, the artist said.

Big Maria is also up for sale on eBay. Raymond bumped up the starting bid to $4,999.00 from the $3,500.00 for which The Annotated Murdoch eventually sold (to a guy in Thailand who had read about it in the paper). But he wants to see it sell for $10,000 or $15,000.

Ten to fifteen grand! Harumph. Shows you what I know.

No bids yet.

The successful bid came in at "<1 minute" in what one might call eBay jargon. In regular language, this would be called "at the very last conceivable moment."

3:10 to Yuma

I caught the 3:10 to Yuma earlier today. Odd, because I thought it was the 2:55 for sure. Maybe the discrepancy was, in fact, social commentary--a reference to the annoying gap between the time they say the movie is in the newspaper (as if they ever even give times in newspapers anymore) and when it actually starts.

Or, perhaps, the scheduling was done by the same people who decided last year to air "Friday Night Lights" on Tuesdays. One of my favorite shows--although this season's first episode, shown last Friday night, suggested that it may have only taken one season plus one episode to jump the shark.

A general rule of thumb is that whenever, during the course of a given television show, teenagers kill someone by accident and then choose to toss the body off a low-lying bridge (as opposed to calling either a responsible adult or the cops), this bodes poorly for the general creative energy of the show. It was suggested during the off-season that the show was renewed at a lower budget. This means less football/stadium action with hundreds of extras. Cheaper, by a wide margin, is having two of the characters drive an '82 Chevy wagon to the middle of a bridge and toss some big lumpy thing off the edge.

It's three shots, really. Tossing the lumpy thing off the bridge. Cut to the rushing water. Cut back to the two kids embracing, one of them with a far-away look in his/her eyes.

For the record, my favorite yuma is, of course, toasted almond. Mmmmm. Good yuma.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The spectacle ends...

Life is good. I can smell eucalyptus.

The long and short of it is that Big Maria sold to a man in Philadelphia for the minimum price of $4,999. Under ordinary circumstances (see posts below) this would be cause for the gnashing of teeth. Except that, after some excruciating, last-minute, back-room negotiations, he also commissioned a "sister" painting of Erin Burnett.

This, as they say, takes the edge off the rough parts nicely.

Life is good.

Evan Williams

It turns out not to be Jack Daniels, but something called Evan Williams. I think they modeled their bottle after ole Black Jack.

The Tension is Palpable

The tension is palpable, yes?

Less than two hours 'til the end. No bids. Several emails offering side deals. Hmmmm.

I think it's going to take off in the last half hour. Until then I'm going to drink my coffee and read the New York Times. Putter around the house. Have some cereal. Listen to my new Bruce Springsteen album.

At the half-hour to go mark, I'm hitting the Jack Daniels.

Friday, October 05, 2007

One day, seven minutes

As I begin typing there are twenty four hours and seven minutes left on the Big Maria auction. Gracious me, the tension is palpable. You?

For the record, I don't get tense about selling the damned things. In fact, I hate--HATE--selling them. I mean, the money's nice. But handing these precious things over to perfect strangers in exchange for a couple of bucks. It makes me feel cheap. It makes me feel...

Good God, I'm a whore!

I'm a cheap whore winking at the boys on Wall Street, whispering through the perfume things like, "I bet this would look great above the fireplace."

Or, even more degrading: "You're a handsome man. I'd love to paint your portrait." All while scrounging around in the bottom of my counterfeit Chanel bag to see if I have a condom left.

Lord have mercy on my soul.

Anyway, back to the tension. I don't get tense about failure to sell. I think of it like the guy in the old Fram oil filter commercials who says, with a shrug, "Pay me now or pay me later." I, in a brand of cock-eyed optimism wholly unsupported by the facts of the matter, believe that all these paintings are, literally as we speak, increasing in value.

So failing to sell doesn't bother me.

What bothers me is selling the damned things at the minimum bid. That's what makes me positively morose. I recently increased my minimum bid level from $3,500 to $5,000 specifically to address this issue. Hoping, the way every cheap hooker does, that more money will dull the pain. I doubt if it will work. Perhaps heavy drinking (although it's bad for you, and should not be done at home unless you are a professional) is an option.

So the tension is palpable, yes?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My next painting

People ask me what my next painting is going to be. I'm thinking a portrait of Becky Quick as interpreted as the Virgin Mary. Above her head I will inscribe the following:
If I see that bitch Erin Burnett on the Today Show one more time I'm gonna freak out.
Or something to that effect.

Celebrating My Birthday

It was nice of Page Six to help me celebrate my birthday by making me famous.

Me? I've decided to buy the new Bruce Springsteen album; spending in advance a portion of the money I am sure I'm going to make from the auction of Big Maria.

I remember, with some annoyance, my friends Dave and Jerry raving about this guy they just saw in concert. We're talking Charlottesville, circa 1971, and the guy was, of course, Bruce. I must have missed the concert because I was studying Old Icelandic.

Anyway, I have since seen the Great One himself three or four times--which is, at the same time, quite a few times and not very many at all. The last time I saw him was at his wife Patti's concert at the Bowery Ballroom. He came out at the end to play rhythm guitar on a couple of numbers. I was about as far from him as I am currently sitting from my painting of Rupert Murdoch. Next to him was under-appreciated guitar god Nils Lofgren. I thought I would have a spasm. Bruce was playing a 12-string Fender Telecaster, which also made an impression.

So today I clicked the "buy" button on iTunes and am now listening to song called "Your own worst enemy" (certainly a subtext of my own life) from the album "Magic." In ten days or so, I'll be sitting at Madison Square Garden listening to the Great One singing it live.

Or, rather, standing.

Life is good. The mind reels. I smell eucalyptus.

If that's how you spell eucalyptus.

Look, Ma. I'm famous.

I'm on Page Six! If only my poor sainted mother were still alive. This, of course, would be the entry:

Hot For Maria

MARIA Bartiromo has an artistic follower. Geoffrey Raymond was standing outside Goldman Sachs yesterday exhibiting his new painting depicting CNBC's "Money Honey" as the Virgin Mary, with the quotation above her head: "If I see that bitch Erin Burnett on the 'Today' show one more time, I'm gonna freak out!" Raymond told us, "I think the picture is actually very pro-Bartiromo. Were I she and I saw Burnett popping up on 'Today,' I'd freak out, too. It seems like a very honest emotion. Maria's much hotter than Burnett, in one man's opinion. I'm all-Bartiromo, all the time."

Just a couple of quibbles, if I might:

a: Although I did so willingly, I feel like being drawn into the debate about who's hotter is a fool's errand. It diminishes the majesty of the thing itself.
b: I wish they had thrown a line in about eBay.

Still, to actually be on Page Six is something. This must be how Jasper Johns felt in the early days.

All that aside, and far more to the point, consider this item--also from Page Six:

New Art Era

ART connoisseurs, shocked at prices for contemporary works, figure the rising tide can only make the Old Masters more valuable. Dealer Larry Salander has put a $100 million price tag on a Caravaggio he's showing at the former Forstmann mansion on East 71st Street. He told writer Gregory Speck, "If people can justify paying $90 million for a new work by Damien Hirst, they should consider that these 400-year-old paintings are worth far more from an aesthetic point of view than anything from the contemporary field of junk, in which I think the emperor wears no clothes."

Amen. Let the record show that I skew closer to Caravaggio than to Hirst. I mean, have you seen the way I treat my dark areas? (I'm talking just painting here, not my larger psychic landscape).

In the end, the three guys with the best dark areas (I'm talking just painting here) are Caravaggio, my boy Max Beckmann and your boy, me.

And to carry Larry Salander's argument to the next level: If the Caravaggio is going for 100 large, and the Hirst went for 90 (We're talking millions here), then surely some forward thinking soul, some budding David Rockefeller, the next Gertrude Stein, can see their way clear to squeezing out ten or fifteen large (we're talking thousands here) for Big Maria.

As I type the words "ten or fifteen large," the thought racing through my head goes something like:
From my Mac to God's ears.



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

How to find "Big Maria"

The easiest way to find the eBay listing for the painting is to go to eBay, then search for "Portrait of Maria Bartiromo."

I would advise you to bid early and often.

Citizen Kane

I rented "Citizen Kane" a week or so ago because it was quoted twice on the face of my "Annotated Murdoch" painting and I hadn't seen it since college. I'm not certain the passage of time has been as gentle on CK as it has been on, say, "Casablanca."

But, that said, it does contain a couple of really toasty items for the eyes. The one I'm particularly thinking about is the image of Kane, caught between a pair of facing mirrors, multiplied upon itself, disappearing ad infinitum.

You know what I mean?

The reason I'm thinking about this is:

Maria Bartiromo Gets Her Picture Painted

Portraitist-to-the-business-elite Geoffrey Raymond is down in the Financial District again, this time camped out in front of the New York Stock Exchange with a painting of Maria Bartiromo as the Virgin Mary. The caption reads, "If I see that bitch Erin Burnett on The Today Show one more time I'm gonna freak out!"

He must be feeling pretty good about the reception of this piece because on his website, he's written:

Anyway, I have to tell you, it is more than a little odd (in an uplifting way) to hear a perfect stranger speak at relative length about your work to another bunch of strangers. This must be how Jasper Johns used to feel in the early days.
I'll be making a field trip to the NYSE later this week...
This is a quick take from the art blog at Portfolio.com. I am awfully fond of the "portraitist-to-the-business-elite" verbiage. From author Callen Bair's word processor to God's ear.

Me? I prefer being referred to as "the painter of record" 'cause I love that whole NYTimes thing, but that's just me.

Back to Kane (at least metaphorically), I also like the idea of a quote from my blog enclosed in a quote from my blog enclosed in a...

You know what I mean?