Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The list of things I don't like

The list, as you can imagine, is long. But currently what I don't like is that the Julie Andrews/Richard Burton clip from the post below just COMES ON, without bidding. It just comes on when you open the page. Other youtube stuff has a play arrow embedded in the faceplate. What's up with this one?

Also it's too big by about 20 percent.

I may have to leave it there for a while, then redact it. Alternative thought--if I keep posting it will eventually be driven to the second page, if that's the right word, and thus into history. Then I can just stop worrying about it.

I wonder if, right now, David Tyree and his agent are discussing my painting of him. Hmmm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

October 30, 1974

Dateline--Kinshasa, Zaire (October 30, 1974):

Somewhere in the fifth or sixth round of the Rumble in the Jungle, in the midst of a clinch, in the midst of his about-to-be-famous rope-a-dope strategy designed to allow George Foreman to punch himself into oblivion (courtesy, in part, to 85 degrees; 90% humidity), Muhammad Ali whispered the following into George Foreman's ear:
Is that all you got?
Apparently it was. With nine seconds to go in the eight, Ali forcibly connected his right glove with the left side of Foreman's head; an act of malevolence that drove the pre-fight favorite reeling to the canvas. It was the end of the fight; a technical knock-out. Ali wins.

All of which came back to me as I watched Barak Obama rope-a-dope Hillary Clinton into oblivion earlier this evening.

Me? I think it's high time we put an Irishman back in the White House.

O'Bama in O'Eight

As an additional public service, I offer the following:

[REDACTED. This was a clip of Julie Andrews and Richard Burton singing "I wonder what the simple folk do"--or something like that--from the Ed Sullivan Show. It was good clean fun, but the youtube link didn't work quite right]

Honestly, how hot is Julie Andrews. Remind me to tell you about the time I had tea with her. And I like the political relevance today of a question asked in a Broadway show from 1961. And Richard Burton dancing near the end is a giggle too.

And while we're getting political, this from the Bulworth script. It's my favorite part of the movie; top five at least.

Rich people've stayed on top, dividing white people from colored people. But white people've got more in common with colored people than rich people. We're just gonna have to eliminate 'em.



Rich people?

White people.

Black People, too.
Brown people,
Yellow people.
Get rid of 'em all.

Get rid of them all?

We need a voluntary, free Spirited,
compatible, open ended program of
procreative racial deconstruction.


Everybody just got to keep fucking everybody
till we're all the same color.

Hey Mr. Tamborine Man...

I'm in love with this scrolling thing, so I thought I'd post another song.

Mr. Tambourine Man Lyrics

I'm having dinner tonight with my second and third oldest friends (oldest being a function of the duration of the friendship), both of whom, I feel certain, have spent their share of time silhouetted by the sea.

I was struck while reading an interview with Bob Dylan once in which he admitted he couldn't possibly write, at the age of 60-some, the stuff he wrote at the age of 20-some. I think he might have been referring to the more surreal stuff, like Shakespeare, he's in the alley, etc., but this, really, despite how many times one hears it, is quite a song.

I sometimes look at paintings, or parts of paintings, and wonder how I did them. This would be a for-good-or-for-bad kind of thing. But I still wonder.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Topographical Hooks

It took me a long time to figure out who this picture of Fidel Castro reminded me of. The answer is, of course, Liam Neeson. This is helpful to know, as it throws us a bone in the sense that we now know the emphasis has to be on the shape of the nose and the brow--thick and nobby in the first case and convex in the second--the so-called topographical hook that Erin Burnett refuses to cough up.

(Other similar items include the faces of both the Statue of Liberty and Britney Spears (dead ringers, if you ask me, for each other) and the hood of the BMW Z-3, circa 2004.)

If we can nail these features down, then toss on a scraggly beard and a green military uniform with a brand new (leopard skin) pillbox hat, we are, as they say, golden.

Still Life

Still Life: Studio with Glass of Wine.

I'm thinking of these two Fidel images:

But I do love this one:

And this one too, maybe most of all:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's late, but we think we are done

A bit past 1:30. Odd to be up this late and not be at a strip club.

Actually that's an old joke. We did it about fifty posts ago. We won't rehash.

Anyway, it's late, but we think we are done. With this:

Next stop Cuba for two quick paintings of Fidel. At which point I will be ready for my one man show entitled: "What do a couple of pretty girls, three old guys, Chuck Close, Fidel Castro and the chairman of Goldman Sachs have in common?"

Which is a pretty good name for a show. No? I see it as featuring, in rough order, Michelle A., Lilah S. (Ash Wednesday), Big Alan, Big Ben and The Warren Commission, Close but not quite, Close but no Cigar, Big Fidel 1, Big Fidel 2 and Big Lloyd II (Now more than ever). I might toss in Girl with the Pearl Earring (2003) if I need another image.

Now all I need is a gallery.

But the show is strong. No? And the Tyree thing turned out better than anyone could have possibly imagined.

Dee dee dee dee

What's that from? The Twilight Zone theme song?

Dee dee dee dee?

It's what people will often say to each other when confronted by the paranormal.

Further to which, dear reader, I would submit the following painting. Look closely at the white blotch in the middle--the beginning of me painting gesso over the top of a failed painting--and tell me that you don't see the face of Ms. Monroe smiling sweetly at you. I dare you.

Dee dee dee dee.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Onward and Upward

Here's Mr. Tyree debunking the alleged housing crisis, almost done, un-inscribed pending negotiations with his agent (see marketing strategy several posts below):

A couple of thoughts. I'm unconvinced about several things. First, I might rethink the treatment of the black areas above and below the yellow zip. Second, the defender's hand is more defined now, but I may change it completely. And I may add his right hand slapped across the side of Tyree's helmet, perhaps with a finger or two in the ear-hole. And the 85 on Tyree's left shoulder is all screwed up--it needs to be repositioned.

But we are close, and it's turning out better than I thought it would.

And just to beat this whole Grasso thing to death...

Here, for the record, was an early iteration of Grasso II.

Man, I was really on to something. I wish I had left it like this.

Classic Post from what seems like a long time ago

For you obsessives, I have cut and pasted a post regarding this whole Xing out thing and the whole Bert Stern thing from April 3, 2007. You can tell my thinking hasn't changed much in the interim. In its entirety, it is this:

Here is the picture of what I called Wet Grasso for a long time, then switched to Grasso II (Peerless). I recently claimed I couldn't find it, but I was wrong.

There is actually a lot going on here. I liked the effect of pouring wet paint onto wet, untreated canvas. I also liked the idea of x-ing it out, ala Marilyn Monroe's response to some of Bert Stern's images (thought to be the last photos taken of the woman before she died).

Here is one from that shoot that she liked:

I mean, honestly, who wouldn't? Good, I suppose, to know that even in a day when our screen icons were a little squishier than they are now, physiologically speaking, Marilyn could hold her own with Naomi Campbell in the rear-end department.

Are you familiar with the Nembutol-enema theory about Monroe's death? The mind reels.

Anyway, this is more what I'm talking about:

One might rightly fault Mr. Stern for making a pot-load of dough off photos that she specifically asked not be publicly shown. Additional chutzpah points for also making one the poster shot for the show.

Anyway, back to Peerless--the execution of the Red X was simply unacceptable. Which, let me tell you, is a pretty bitter pill to swallow--looking down and saying, "Shit, I just irreversibly fucked up a painting I otherwise liked."

One can't, however, get gun shy. That's the worst! You have to be brave, like a bull.

Here is what we looked like at some point yesterday:

One last note about the Red X: If the canvas had been primed, and I was painting as I normally do, with a lot of paint density and saturation, I could have fixed the damned thing by whiting some of it out, patching, backfilling--the same thing you saw that person do while speedpainting Scarlett Johanssen. The thing that makes the Wet Grasso process scary is that you simply can't go back.

One might say this is freeing, and I suppose it is. Still...see the bitter pill business above.

I was also extremely fond of what were kind of hard to see in the image but which were wonderful in person--the red and green pencil marks that created the grid on the canvas. If you double click, you may be able to see them. Better still, pop down to the "To be or not to be" entry and click on the lower of the two images--you can really see them there.

For one brief, shining moment, it was a lovely painting.

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

The Briefest of notes on Lindsey Lohan, dressed up as Marilyn

The thinking here regarding the re-staging by photographer Bert Stern of Marilyn Monroe's famous "last sitting"--about which we have commented before--with Lindsey Lohan standing in is that Ms. Lohan is doing herself no particular favors.

In the end, at least for me, the take-away is that Lindsey ain't no Marilyn. Who would, of course, be seen here:

A couple of thoughts: First, the big red X you see on the picture (this is, I believe, actually the cover of a book Stern produced from the shoot and, perhaps, subsequent gallery shows, etc.) was put there by Monroe herself, saying she didn't like these images and didn't want them printed. Stern got a bunch of shit--rightly, it would seem to me--for ignoring her wishes and printing them up like nobody's business. Did I say Marilyn died six weeks after the shoot?

Second, if you compare these photos (some of them are really stunning, particularly when seen printed large) with the New York Magazine Lohan shoot, you can't help but say to yourself, wow, Marilyn looks way better than the other girl, even on the cusp of her demise, even from a good ways already into the abyss, even being fifteen years or so her senior.

The NYTimes shares:
Ms. Lohan looks narrow-hipped and voluptuous in the pictures, taut and soft. At 21 she seems even older than Monroe, who was 36 in the originals, and hardened by her excesses. The photographs bear none of Monroe’s fragility. In the first picture — Ms. Lohan wears a platinum wig and false eyelashes for all the images, by the way — she drapes the pink chiffon across her torso diagonally, and if she looks like anyone at all, it is Madonna. Monroe looked available in her Stern photos; Ms. Lohan looks available for sale.
So I am not alone in my thinking.

All that said, the reason I'm empowered to speak about this has something to do with this painting:

Called Grasso II (Peerless), it was a second take on my much acclaimed (I smile typing this) Big Dick I (Hundred Million). This time around I tried to paint him on wet canvas, just to see. And while there was much to like, in the end I decided that the image was unworkable.

So, inspired by the Monroe/Stern images, of which my favorites were often the ones she'd Xd out, I decided that a statement could perhaps be made by Xing this one out.

Xcept that I completely fucked up the X. And that was the end of that. A desperate act by a desperate man to try and save something that couldn't really be saved. Sometimes near misses are just that. And you can't get the bullet back--it's gone. Truth be told, if I had gotten the X right (and I am kicking myself because I know how I would do it now, and the effect would have been really smokin'), I almost certainly would have kept the painting.

Now, let's pause together, you and I, dear reader, for a moment and reflect on just what a miracle The Year of Magical Painting--the blog, not the years it chronicles--is. Where else do artists just cough up their failures for everyone else to see? And not just see! No, you get the whole blow by blow. Me? Hey I've painted plenty of crappy paintings. They're like hair balls. I got plenty more I can honk up from the depths of my gullet.

So to speak.

Anyway, it is a miracle. And I don't get enough credit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What does Barnett Newman have to do with David Tyree?

That, I suppose, is the question of the day.

Barnett Newman is, of course, the abstract expressionist whose works were characterized by a field of color separated by one or more thin vertical lines of paint. "Zip" was the term he coined for the line(s).

Here's one, called Onement 1 (1948):

I always thought Barnett was full of shit. But this, I guess, is a point upon which the Museum of Modern Art and I have chosen to disagree. Pretty ugly freaking painting, yes?

The one below is a little nicer. More glowingly Rothko-esque, if you will.

But still, c'mon. And besides, we haven't even gotten to David Tyree (who we see here giving the New England Patriots some head cheese).

So one of the challenges I was bitching and moaning about in a previous post was the relatively static nature of the image. It lacked dynamism.

So, in addition to doing a lot of other stuff--like pruning the back of the Pat's uniform so it seemed like he was more engaged in he struggle, and quantifying the fact that the brownish shmoo to the left of the Pat's helmet was, in fact, his right biceps, and adding numbers and mise en scene as appropriate, I added a zip.

A horizontal one--but a zip nonetheless.

Can you see it? It's yellow. And in a strange sort of way, it's made all the difference in the world. I love its thick fluidity. That makes me feel really good.

That said, it also make me feel dirty, in a way. I wonder if, given all the bad things I've done in my life, that one yellow zip will be the thing that ends up sending me to Hell.

But hey, we're about thinking positive thoughts here at TYOMP. You should see the painting now, by the way. Much additional work has been done and it's really starting to come together. I'm spending a lot of time deciding where to put the words Tyree debunks alleged housing crisis; says "What bobble?"

We should all, I suppose, have such vexing problems.

I wish it were magic...

Back to painting:

My problem with my David Tyree painting is that, although I am, I must admit, warming up to the thing, it doesn't have any sense of movement ... impact ... life. Feels static. Where's the beef? Which is a huge problem; one I plan to address forthwith.

I was looking at an almost-finished self-portrait of a guy I know from where I paint and he asked me if I liked it. I did, and I said that you got the feeling that there was somebody in the painting looking back at us.

I'm not getting that feeling from 'Tyree debunks housing crisis; asks "What bobble?"'

That, I suppose, is why we go to the studio. To try to make it better.

Reports to follow. Remain calm.

If it's magic...

If it's magic, then why can't it be everlasting?
This, of course, is a line from a Stevie Wonder song on "Songs in the Key of Life."

Check this out:

If It's Magic Lyrics

All of which brings me to yet another sports post. The reason we are having so many is because we are in the middle of a sports painting (see below). When I start painting Fidel Castro, expect less posts from the pitch, so to speak.

But for now, with the trade of top-five-ever-point-guard/
triple-double-machine Jason Kidd from the Nets to the Mavericks, one has to look back and say, manomanoman, that guy could really play. This would, of course, be him:

And there was a time--mostly in the early 00s--when watching him lead a young Nets team comprised of Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, Keith Van Horn and a couple of other guys to the NBA Championship series twice (though losing both times) was a thing of beauty.

And now all that's gone.

Quick note on statistics: All-time triple double leaders are The Big O first, with a shitload, then Magic Johnson with 138, then Jason Kidd with about a C-note ... and counting.

As we say in the biking community, adios campagnolo.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Man, I'm glad I don't do that anymore

This from Gothamist:
The incoming president of the Obesity Society has filed a 33-page affidavit questioning the city’s new rules requiring chain restaurants to prominently display calorie information on their menus. Dr. David B. Allison (pictured), a professor of biostatistics and nutrition at the University of Alabama, cites a study indicating that dieters who get distracted by calorie information are more likely to overeat. And even if the daunting calorie details prompt diners to go for lower calorie items, they'll just end up overeating later because their healthier choice won't really satiate them.

But Allison’s affidavit has drawn fire from colleagues because he was paid an undisclosed sum to write it on behalf of the New York State Restaurant Association, which is suing to block the new rules. Dr. Allison has previously consulted for Frito-Lay, Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola, a company he defended against a proposed ban in schools by citing research showing that birds put on weight when food is scarce.
This sounds alarmingly like the crap I used to do for a living. Not as obnoxious as this, but plenty. I slightly highlighted the last sentence because it did, I must say, make me laugh. You, dear reader, likely read this and offer a titter of laughter, a wry shake of the head. Me? I reflect on the machinations behind companies like Kraft and Coke (one of which was a client of mine a long time ago) defending what is essentially an indefensible position (coke machines in schools) by arming some numbnuts like this guy Alison with a bird study. If you only knew how many meetings and conference calls I've sat through when the relative merits of hairbrained ideas like this were seriously discussed.

Man, I'm glad I don't do that anymore.

Although the pay was pretty good.

Big Warren

This, by the way, is Big Warren; done, 'cept for a signature and a scrawled title--which may end up not, in fact, being scrawled on the surface of the painting. The title, that is. I'll sign it for sure.

In some earlier post, I suggested to my daughter that he looks a little like her grandfather. I added, "who you barely knew." Speaking with her moments ago she informed me that she wasn't alive when he died. So all the better--now you know that Grampa looked just like Warren Buffett.

She also says hello.

Herewith, we name the painting

This would be the sketch (about which I spoke so ungraciously in an earlier post):

And this is the initial... the initial... the initial whatever. I need to develop some jargon for this stage. Perhaps "early iteration."

By Jove, that's it. Here's an early iteration (which, truth be told, was more likely the point at which I pulled Michele A. out and stapled her to the wall, hoping for some comfort):

And here, thankfully, is where we were at about six o'clock tonight (We've gone farther since then but we have no visual record to share):

All of which is well and good, but the title of the post says something about naming the goddam thing, so herewith, we name the painting.

As you can imagine, I have some thoughts--the first one being (albeit a bit too long):
David Tyree gives the Patriots a taste of some head cheese.
This is amusing. That said, I always wondered what head cheese actually is. I now know, and as a public service I am sharing a clip from Wikipedia:
Head cheese or brawn is in fact not a cheese, but rather a terrine of meat from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow). It may also include meat from the feet and heart. It is usually eaten cold or at room temperature as a luncheon meat. It is sometimes also known as souse meat, particularly if pickled with vinegar.

Historically the cleaned (all organs removed) head was simmered to produce a gelatin (formed from the collagen in the bone) containing any incidental meat which came off the head. The more modern method involves adding gelatin to meat, which is then cooked in a mould.

Sheesh. This seems unattractive on a number of levels. I always just thought it was some kind of cheese.

Armed with this new knowledge, I then thought, "Hey, if my primary constituency is the financial community, maybe I should try tailoring it to that market." At which point I came up with:
Tyree debunks housing crisis; asks "What bobble?"
Which, if I do say so myself, is strong on about ten levels, not the least of which are the punchy, headline-type prose style; the felicitous employment of the semicolon and the amusing bubble/bobble pun.

Now the question of the day:

How do we sell this damned thing?
Obviously a telephone call is in order, followed up by some emailing and related wheeling and dealing. That said, is the first call placed to Tyree's agent? This has a couple of attractive strategic elements. First, either the agent pitches the painting to Mr. Tyree--which is fine--or, and this might even be better, he buys it and gives it to Tyree as a gift. Or--hang with me now--he hangs it on the wall of his office, spends X amount of time staring at it, then calls me up one day and says something along the lines of:
"Hey, Geoff. Maria Sharapova is one of my clients and I was wondering if you could cook up something where she's not dressed like the Virgin Mary. Something sexier, maybe?"
The mind reels.

Alternatively, however, one could contact the Giants themselves. Because in the end, when all is said and done, all I really want to do is paint big freaking paintings of Wellington Mara, Bob Tisch and Leon Hess, on commission, to be hung in the new Giants/Jets stadium. The extended fantasy is that Tiki Barber is the commissioner, if you will. And that he and I later, over beers, discuss my greatest athletic moment at the University of Virginia.

And the final alternative is to scrawl the words 'Tyree debunks housing crisis; asks "What bobble?"' across the top of the damned thing and take it down to Wall Street, employing the usual marketing strategies.

Voting is now open. Take your time as there are at least several days until the painting is finished.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

One Last Football Note

Some interesting thoughts about the greatest Jet, cut and pasted from Sports Illustrated's website.

Nobody remembers that Joe Namath didn't even throw a touchdown pass against the Colts in Super Bowl III. Nobody remembers that the real heroes for the Jets were Matt Snell, who rushed for 121 yards; George Sauer, who caught eight passes for 133 yards; and Randy Beverly, who intercepted two passes. Nobody remembers that in his career, Namath lost 31 more games than he won and threw 47 more interceptions than touchdowns. And nobody certainly remembers that in 33 career games against winning teams after the Super Bowl season, Namath had a 2-31 record.

No, we remember the guarantee and the final score, 16-7. That makes Namath's guarantee the ultimate defining Super Bowl moment. Because for the rest of his career, he had no other moments at all.

This painting is kind of like that for me. I may spend the rest of my life stinking up the joint, but when push comes to shove, I can always point at this one.

I keep it rolled up in my studio. And when things are going badly, I take it out, unroll it, and staple it on the wall. Then I drink some tea and look at it.

It's on my wall now. Because you should see my first shot at David Tyree.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm frustrated

I'm frustrated at the difference between how paintings in general and Big Warren in particular look on the web--i.e. this blog--and in real life. I mean, Big Warren, almost done, two posts down, looks like shit on my computer. And I've got a nice monitor.

Yet when you see it in person, manomanoman, it's positively monumental.

As for me? I'm checking my gym shoes to make sure I have a pair, then walking out the door.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Briefest of Dance Notes...

Balanchine, who many people think is God, revolutionized ballet in a number of ways.

So I find myself staring at B. W. Buffett and thinking about George Balanchine.
Why, you ask? Because while looking at the seam down the middle of Warren's face, my mind is drawn to Balanchine's notion that a dancer was divided into two parts. Nothing new, here, one might counter. It has always been so.

Except that Big George didn't divide them at the waist, as was the accepted thinking. But rather, down the middle. Which, I should say, given His obsession with thin dancers, didn't leave too much on either side. But that's more of a diet thing than a dance thing.

These girls are smiling because they didn't dance for Balanchine. Although they surely wish they had. But while doing so they probably wouldn't have been smiling.

Too hungry.

On a number of levels.

The Briefest of Theological Notes...

So I arrive at my Y, preparing to worship in the temple of my body, and I find that, of the total of four white athletic shoes that I own, the two I pull out of my gym bag both fit my right foot. One wonders what the course of events was that lead to this. Two white shoes under my bed (presumably a pair) and two in my closet (ditto). In haste I grab the two from the closet.

Later, while playing basketball, I found I could only go to my left. Good thing I'm comfortable with that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is a little better, black-wise

See title above; picture below:

Merry Christmas/The Unveiling of B. W. Buffett

We start, as you can imagine, if start is the right word (and if imagine is, likewise the right word), with this:

This you may find amusing:

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, in full, double-clickable, high resolution, is something that will very much resemble the final black and white, obscured box painting of Warren Buffett:

Now a close look tells you a lot. First of all, the blacks are actually black. For the life of me I can't figure out how to render them in a compellingly rich version here on TYOMP. Second, obviously we are not done--the collar, tie and suit jacket are barely there. As a way to triplet this painting with its two colored brethren, I'll use the same shirt/jacket/tie treatment as Big Alan and Big Ben.

Then there is the raging question of how much to do with the image itself at this point. For example, the general tone of the right eye is darker than that of the left. But when you see it in real life, you say--or at least I do--something like "Whoa, Nellie." The suggestion being that it's actually pretty good without much touch-up. Likewise his caved-in right ear. And the complete absence of the rim of his glasses in Square 8. And all that business, predicted earlier, going on between squares ten and eleven.

Me? I'm chewing on the whole thing for a while.

Finally, there's the matter of the title. I'm going to chew on this. We are floating in the vicinity of B. W. Buffett, but that is full of problems. We were earlier considering The Warren Commission, which I still like. In metallic silver for this one, however, rather than iridescent gold. But, push comes to shove, I like the idea of some thing like "Big Warren (What the Hell Are You Fucking Idiots Doing With My Economy?) I"--but that's a little long.

All this said, my Maps/Massle Curve is flat-lined. Which is good, if you understand the thinking behind Maps/Massle.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tomorrow is Christmas

It's thoughts like this that make it easy to go to bed.

Now, technically speaking, tomorrow is not actually Christmas. Not, that is to say, the major Christian religious holiday that falls near the end of the year.

No, gentle reader. Tomorrow is Christmas in the sense that, procedurally speaking, the fifth day of any obscured box painting is the day you unwrap the goddam thing. Get it?


So tomorrow we unwrap B. W. Buffet. Which looks like this as we speak:

Truth be told, when we arrive at the studio tomorrow we will still be late on Day Four, touching up some stuff. But sometime tomorrow, perhaps around two or three in the afternoon, Christmas will arrive.

Then we will have Day Six, which is the fix-it day.

Then, on the Seventh Day, I will rest.

Some dog named WireImage wins W'minster Dog Show

How 'bout this: a beagle wins the Westminster Dog Show for the first time.

Apparently, despite appearances, the dog's name is Uno, not WireImage. Which would, one has to admit, be an odd name for a dog.

This, for the record, is the painting I did of my daughter's late, and sadly still missed, beagle Zoe:

What I liked more about Zoe--speaking on a purely visual level--was that she was a brown, black, white mixture. Uno appears to be only brown and white. I wonder if this is a male/female chromosome thing. Years ago I owned a male three-color cat named Moose. When we would tell the vets that Moose was a boy, they would not believe us until they conducted the between-the-legs visual inspection. Then they would go in the other room and say to the other vet, "Hey, you gotta come look at this." Moose had, if memory serves, something called Kleinfelder Syndrome--meaning a male with an extra chromosome that enables it to sprout hair in three colors. Regular males can, apparently, only do two.

So maybe that's what's up with Uno. Of course I could be completely wrong.

What an odd name for a dog--Gettyimages.

Me? I like a three-color beagle.

Monday, February 11, 2008

BW Buffett and the Maps/Massle Curve

I'm painting The Warren Commission as a black and white painting. Here it is during the seventh inning stretch.

So far (what might rightly be called Day Two procedurally, although it is actually Day Three in real time because I fell a little behind), the total volume beneath my Maps/Massle curve is barely measurable. Were we engaged in real-time Maps/Massle measurement, I would be experiencing a slight blip right now, given my inability to adequately render what should be a black and white image.

Are you familiar with the Maps/Massle curve? It's a well-regarded scientific technique for measuring and illustrating general frustration during the course of a painting. I can't get into it now, but the term itself is a set of modified acronyms standing for, respectively: Me Am Penn State and Massive Self-Loathing.

Prediction: There is going to be hell to pay regarding what I can only assume will be significant dynamic disjunction between squares 10 and 11. In layman's terms, the question is "What the hell is the bottom of his nose doing way the hell up there?"
(Quick note to my daughter if you are reading this: The picture currently looks a lot like your Grandfather on your mother's side--who you barely knew. He had a nose that rode high on the upper lip. Less hair, if memory serves. Similar glasses.)
But I'm crossing that bridge when I come to it. Which will be Day Five (sometimes referred to as Christmas Day because it's the day we unwrap the thing).

Me? I'm dreaming of a black and white Christmas. You?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Go Blue--Final Edition for Now

My last football post for a period of time:

Caught the last half of the Pro Bowl. Although I strongly believe Big Blue was represented by my boy Osi, I didn't see a single Giants helmet play a single down. Plenty of Cowboys, though. Which I hope they choke on.

The Modern

I should say that the food at The Modern was exactly as expected, albeit in slightly shorter supply than even I might have imagined. My fish did, in fact, arrive with foam on top, albeit not anise-flavored. And the stuff it sat upon was not jicama, but could easily have been. And man, was that portion small. Good thing I ate before I went. Am pleased to announce that it was, to me at least, free due to the magnanimity of my host.

Above, even, and beyond the paying for lunch part, the company was lovely. And I did discover that, if finessed properly (which I didn't do, I simply discovered), one could penetrate the perimeter of MOMA from The Modern without paying the twenty bucks they seem intent on peeling off you. More than penetrate the perimeter, I should say. One can travel right into the very heart of the thing without a ticket.

Me? I had already bought my ticket so as to permit the wasting of a couple of minutes prior to lunch and the subsequent investment of an hour or so after lunch perusing the Lucien Freud show and the permanent collection. All of which was, of course, good clean fun. And one has to wonder if the calm look on my face as I snuck into the museum (due to the fact that I wasn't sneaking at all; I had my ticket in my pocket) in fact contributed to my ability to do that very thing. Sneak in, that is. Some version of the notion that the people who look most nervous in the customs line are the ones that get searched.

Is it "snuck" or "sneaked?"

In any case--because credit should be given where credit is due--if you walk into one of the galleries in the permanent collection and turn back around, these two paintings sit on either side of the door. Like those two huge stone Kings of Elder Days that guard the entrance to Gondor that they paddle past near the end of "The Fellowship of the Ring."

This one is on the left:

And this one is on the right:

And to suggest that your breath is taken away doesn't begin to do the moment justice. Both, as I am sure you know, are big honking paintings. I love the dog in the Three Musicians. God, said maybe Phillip Johnson, is in the details.

And what is amazing, if you are not amazed enough, is that both were painted (by Picasso, if this needs to be said) in the same summer. 1921. The Three Musicians is an example of, if I'm not mistaken, synthetic cubism. The Three Women at the Spring is an example of something else entirely--massive, tubular women? Was that a style? Tubular women?

But I mean, really, how cool to be able to just shuttle back and forth like that.

Anyway, both of these paintings fall into my personal category of "paintings that make you want to be a painter," and have to rank, each of them, in my list of top ten favorite Picasso's; and possibly top ten, period.

I love that dog.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Black and white

It's a black day because I found myself staring at the speed channel watching practice for the Daytona 500--the NASCAR season kick-off--realizing that I would never again, other than as a nostalgia thing, see those beautiful, wickedly-asymetrical old NASCARs rumbling sideways as they come out of turn four. This year, all the teams have transitioned into what used to be called The Car of Tomorrow but which is now simply the car all those guys are driving.

For those of you who don't follow this closely, it is a) too complicated to explain, and b) even more complicated to explain when you are weeping like a baby.

I would pose this question: Do the aesthetics of the car count NOTHING to the NASCAR viewing public? Are they, as a collective singular, that big a numbnuts? For that matter, is "aesthetics" a collective singular? Does nobody but me not think that those rear wings are an abomination?

That, by the way, was a complicated double negative--I'm not sure what the previous sentence actually says. That's how fucked up I am about this, because usually, even when they are nonsense, I know what my sentences are saying.

It is, however, also a black and white day. And this is something to be thankful for. Black and White (henceforth b/w) because it hit me, while staring at a Jasper Johns painting entitled Celine (which would, of course be what you see below)

... that what I needed to do to solve my Warren Commission problem was paint him in black and white (henceforth b/w).

Not that Celine is black and white, but it's certainly leaning in that direction. And the deeper you go, the blacker and whiter it gets. Which makes it a lot like the abyss.

Sidenote: A lot of Anselm Kiefer in this painting, by the way.

And tomorrow I have lunch at The Modern. The introductory sentences of The Modern's website go like this:
Taking Museum dining to sophisticated new heights, The Modern is a fine dining restaurant located at the Museum of Modern Art featuring the original French-American cuisine of Alsatian-born Chef Gabriel Kreuther, with desserts by Marc Aumont.
You know how--and I understand the image is tacky--sometimes you hear somebody going on and on and it's just a load of bullshit so you put your tongue in your cheek so it makes a bulge that everybody can see and then you ball your fist up and make a motion like you were pulling something like rope out of something like the front of your pants, and you roll your eyes? This is what I'm doing as I read this.

My specific comments are, roughly, these:

a--French-American cuisine! Hey, that sounds new and exciting.
b--Who gives a shit if the guy was born in Alsace? Shouldn't that mean he knows more about French-German cuisine?
c--And enough already about desert chefs. Who, really, in the history of the world, except a tiny handful of food pedants, gives a shit about who the desert chef is?
d--This is a Danny Meyer restaurant and the last time I ate at The Modern I was so offended by the treatment our party received from the host I almost wrote Mr. Meyer a letter.
e--This is NOT museum dining. This is dining in a restaurant that is in the same building as the museum. If it were museum dining, I wouldn't than have to go spring twenty bucks (another abomination being the current admission price at MOMA, paid for the privilege of walking through the ugliest fucking museum in the world).
f--Abomination number three, if I've counted correctly: Not only am I going to have to pay the fucking twenty bucks to go upstairs (because when you get this close, some of the Matisse's just call to you--think of those sirens on those rocks and those poor sailors) when lunch is over, but I'm going to have to pay a hell of a lot more than that for some raggedy-assed piece of fish sitting on a bed of mesquite-smoked jicama with anise-flavored foam on top--or whatever else passes for French/American food on West 54th Street these days.

Me? I'd rather have the beef stew on yellow rice with a side of beans at Sonia's. And be the only guy in the restaurant that doesn't speak Spanish. $4.50!

Or, if I'm doing it up, I'd rather go to Le Cirque and have the top-hat shaped ravioli stuffed with foie gras on a bed of cabbage. Did I say they cook the cabbage in cream, black truffle oil and truffle shavings?

Or if I wanted Alsatian food I'd go to Lutece and have the poulet Lutece, except that Lutece is closed and my life has, incrementally, never been the same. So don't talk to me about Alsatian.

Anyway, one does what one has to do to maintain the friendship.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Hmmm. Four things need to be painted:

Erin Burnett
Warren Buffett
David Tyree making his head catch
The enunciation of Joseph
And something in the five by six format using the same box/grid technique I used for "Close, But No Cigar"

Not sure where to start. Start is also the wrong word because some of these paintings have, in fact, begun. (Been begun?).

Plus, close scrutiny of the list above suggests that the number would be five, not four.

I like the idea of pounding out Erin (I can't believe I'm typing the words) and maybe Big David in one massive swell of productivity.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Quick Note

I think the picture below is going to be the one I use for my Tyree painting.

Be a Man

You might just as well man up and stop your whining now because I'm going to post pictures and accounts related to Big Blue's Super Bowl win for several more days.

First, here's David Tyree (what the hell he was even doing in the game at this juncture is still not clear to me), using his head to catch what I suggested in a previous post was the penultimate catch of the SB but was, in fact, the third to last.

Even more interesting is the other end of the matter--my boy Eli eluding the grasp of some really nasty guy playing for the Patriots.

Both images courtesy of Getty Images.

My question is this: does that Number 10 jersey just snap back into shape after a wash and dry? Or is it stretched out of shape for all eternity?

They should send it to the Hall. Along with my Schilling sock from Hallowe'en.

A Poem

Yo dog, check this out. I found it in an old New Yorker. It's about my boy Blake.

I watch William Blake, who spotted angels
every day in treetops
and met God on the staircase
of his little house and found light in the grimy alleys--

Blake, who died
singing gleefully
in a London thronged
with streetwalkers, admirals and miracles,

William Blake, engraver, who labored
and lived in poverty but not despair,
who received burning signs
from the sea and from the starry sky,

who never lost hope, since hope
was always born anew like breath,
I see those who walked like him on graying streets
headed toward the dawn's rosy orchid.

Adam Zagajewski
translated by Claire Cavanagh
Cool. I'm a big fan of William Blake. I love the line about "poverty but not despair." In this regard, I am Blake-like, albeit with a bit less talent. I hope whoever reads this gets the urge to buy me dinner the next time they see me.

This is Plate 1 of "The Book of Thel," which I am assuming you have read.

If not, it's way too complicated to explain. But perhaps this, Thel's motto, rings a bell:
Does the Eagle know what is in the pit,
Or wilt thou go ask the Mole?
Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod,
Or Love in a golden bowl?
Manomanoman, that boy could generate some copy. I'm assuming the whole Mole thing is a Wind in the Willows reference, but I'm not getting it.

Warren Buffett, just for the record, said Never ask a barber if you need a haircut--which is a somewhat easier connection to make.

Vince Lombardi said, "Dancing is a contact sport. Football is a hitting sport."

Anyway, now you are a better person. At least incrementally.

I am still, however, your daddy.

Go Blue

I'm going to paint a picture of David Tyree executing the penultimate catch of the Super Bowl with his helmet and one hand. Then I'm going to sell it to the Giants.

Then I might paint another one. Something of Strahan, perhaps, that they can buy and give to him for retirement.

Then, slowly, inexorably drawn by the money, my ass will be dragged into the same primordial goop that imprisons LeRoy Nieman.

Omigod! Look what he's done with Lombardi!

God help me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hoo Care About Meredith?

Hoo cares about Meredith? How 'bout those Giants?

Friday, February 01, 2008

I Slept With Hillary, Part Deux

Note to self

Note to self--remind me to sign Big Ben. Should read:
GVR 11-07
Pthalo green, straight from the tube.

I Slept With Hillary

Alan Greenspan is done:

A couple of items regarding the above. First, the idea was to pair (or triplet, if you count the Warren Commission) Big Alan with Big Ben, which you've already seen. Thus the same treatment of the jacket shoulders, the similar approach to titling, etc.

What is different, and which I like, is that Big Alan is a bit looser than Big Ben. Barely a trace of thumbpainting (whereas Ben is covered with it, albeit to good effect).

Basically Big Alan is an all-thrown painting. Which is good for the soul. Mine, at least.

Finally, and here is where it gets interesting ... I suppose ... I mean, who really knows what interests you people.

Anyway, during the course of time in which I was painting Alan I was surprised at the number of women at the studio who remarked, in one manner or other, that they were kind of hot for the guy. Really.

So, seizing the initiative, I took the black felt-tip pen I had used to visually clarify some of the title type (by overlaying a thin black border on places where the color of the letters too closely matched the color of the top of Alan's head) and I wrote the following words along the line of his jaw, just to the right of his main jowl:
I Slept With Hillary
Can you see it?

It makes me smile, although I'm not sure whether it's a good idea going forward, a bad one, or the best fucking idea ever.

I'm counting votes.

Hitler's All the Rage, Part 2

How odd is this?

On the heels of my posting of two Hitler gag videos (both, oddly, taken from the same German-produced movie, with the actual subtitles replaced by comedic ones), somebody asks me to paint a portrait of Hitler.

I've chewed on this for a half a day or so by now. On one side, I'm in no condition to pass on the cash--commissions are, as we artists say, commissions. Another on that same side--the one we're calling the "plus column"--is the fact that it might be interesting to paint the guy.

On the other side, however, is the skeevy quotient. This guy (the prospective buyer) is not quite kosher (honk), based on what I know of him, and I don't want my beautiful portrait of Adolph Hitler presiding over the Brooklyn chapter of Skinheads United. There's enough trouble in the world without me greasing the skids.

So I think I'm going to pass.

I wonder if he'd consider commissioning Eddie Rommel. The Desert Fox himself.

Certainly a less inflammatory choice. And I could twin his painting up with one of that pantload Mongomery.

Tanks are cool. Plus I love the hat.