Friday, May 30, 2008

"The Annotated Bear" has been sold

If you are wondering what happened to the eBay listing for "The Annotated Bear", the answer is that it is gone. The reason? Somebody made me an offer on the street that I couldn't resist.

That said, in fulfillment of the purchaser's wishes, I'll continue to collect annotations over the next two days. Today I'll be downtown in Wall Street proper. Monday, weather permitting, I'll be back up at Bear Stearns--if that's even what they will be calling it on Monday--for one last session.

In the meantime, I do have two paintings currently for sale. They are:

"The Annotated Spitzer"--which really, I have to tell you, is a simply smashing painting. It is currently hanging in a group show this month called "Rockers and Posers" at the Brooklyn Artists Gym Gallery. The opening is this Saturday evening. The address is 168 7th Street, Brooklyn.


"The Warren Commission 1," which can be seen by appointment.

I can understand, I suppose, how somebody might not like the idea of a painting of Eliot Spitzer above his or her mantlepiece. But Big Warren? C'mon, the man's an icon. And the black and white, obscured box treatment gives this painting a palpable majesty.

If I didn't own it already, I would totally buy it.

"It would look great over the sofa."

The Guardian's use of the phrase "stunt painter" notwithstanding, coverage of the Jimmy Cayne painting has been pretty good. My favorite, so far:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quick recap...

Whenever I have a painting in play on eBay I get any number of new visitors to The Year of Magical Painting. For their benefit, a quick recap of my annotated series:

This is the first one I did--"The Annotated Murdoch" was exhibited outside the Wall Street Journal headquarters during the period last fall between when the Dow board recommended to the Bancroft family that they accept Mr. Murdoch's purchase offer and the moment they did so.

This one is actually pretty recent. Through a series of happy coincidences (I was actually painting the painting for another purpose when I heard the Spitzer news hit), I had Big Eliot outside the New York Stock Exchange fifteen minutes after Spitzer announced his resignation. Given that the Wall Street community pretty much loathes the guy, they were grabbing the markers out of my hand (to the tune of about 325 annotations vs. Murdoch's roughly 100).

And "The Annotated Bear" is a portrait of Jimmy Cayne, former Bear Stearns CEO. The annotations you see here happened today. You can read more about it in the previous posts.

I just got my letter...

Truth be told, standing outside on a nice day, whoring around with the media and watching people write on my paintings is one of my favorite things in the world. But was sometimes a little difficult.

I mean, watching people write hooker jokes on Big Eliot was one thing. But many of the people signing the painting today have had their lives dramatically altered for the worse. Sure there were giggles. "Nice Job, Cheesedick" made me smile. Ditto: "Pass the bong." One guy clearly hadn't gotten any of the recent memos. He wrote: "Should we raise more capital?"

But there was the dark stuff as well. Someone wrote "My blood is boiling." Another wrote: "Burn in hell, Jimmy." But the topper, the one that broke my heart, was by a woman named Bea Lana. She looked like she was in her mid to late forties, a secretary or other support personnel. She came up to me and asked, "I'm a Bear employee, may I write something?" I gave her the one of the red pens designated for Bear Stearns employees, and she stepped up and wrote: "I just got my letter!!" Then she signed it "bea lana, 5/28/2008." I thanked her and she walked back inside. I think she told me her last day was tomorrow, but I could be wrong about that.

When people ask me why I'm doing this (a question that comes up often), I tell them one of two things. First, I tell them I like that I can give people a voice--as much of a voice as five or ten words can be--at a time when they have no voice; no say in a matter of considerable importance to them. Alternatively, I tell them I like doing my annotated paintings because they are, on some level, documents capturing a moment in history.

Thank you, Bea.

Baiting my hook for Leviathan

I've baited my hook for Leviathan.

My loins are girded (whatever that means).

I'd bore you with a few stanzas of "The Charge of the Light Brigade," but, really, I've done that one to death here at The Year of Magical Painting.
Half a league!
I proceed later this morning to stake out a few square feet of sidewalk outside the headquarters of Bear Stearns, where I will then erect my portrait of Jimmy Cayne and let people write all over it. Updates will appear here on a daily basis, as well as on the eBay site, which will go online @6pm today, with bidding set to close Monday evening.

Having said all this, I wonder if I need to ungird my loins before I take my shower.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The (As Yet Un...) Annotated Bear

This is the finished painting.

Enjoy it now because by about noon tomorrow people are going to be writing all kinds of stuff on it.

Dealbreaker has already written something about it.

As is the usual case, I'll color code the annotators--red for Bear Stearns employees or shareholders, black for everybody else. There is some temptation to drag the thing over to JPMorgan for a day, but then I'd have to get another color pen. Likewise downtown, for a quick showing near the Stock Exchange.

Thursday morning, BS stockholders will gather to ratify/accept/vote for (whatever the correct term is) the JPMorgan offer. Remind me to bring extra pens that day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Just reporting the news?

Me?  I'm thinking for the first time that this is not really true.  I have said previously that I try to make the portraits I use for my annotated paintings be neutral in spirit.  Upon reflection, and in light of the language found two posts down about finding the "assholeness" in the mouth, this is clearly nonsense.

My boy Frankie Goya is sometimes referred to as the proto-photojournalist because of his etchings of French soldiers executing Spanish and Portuguese prisoners in the early 1800s.  But I'm not Goya.  Not, many might suggest, by a long shot.  Although I don't think his stuff was particularly neutral in the first place, so maybe I am, at least so far as this whole painter as newscaster thing goes.

In either case, it came home to me over the last couple of days that Jimmy Cayne is a more negatively slanted portrait than either Murdoch or Spitzer (although each has its moments--the little curlicue of a smile playing on the side of Murdoch's mouth makes me happy every time I look at it.  Likewise the heavenward, holier-than-thou gaze of Big Eliott).

Some nitwit--it may have been Campbell Brown--accused me of "piling on" with my Spitzer painting.  My response was that I try to let the annotators determine the tone of the painting.  That said, I'm doubting that there are a lot of people in the Bear Stearns office who are still loving Jimmy Cayne.

So I guess I'm not just painting the news.

I apologize if this causes you discomfort.

And maybe some more white in the hair

And maybe some more white in the hair. With which I have also struggled. Not on a personal level, mind you. I have accepted the white in my hair. I'm talking about the painting.

The Annotated Bear Update

I'm leaving to have a beer at the Peter McManus Cafe to celebrate Memorial Day. Before I go, I'll throw you the leanest of bones...

This, of course, being the updated Jimmy Cayne painting. Fix a little of the mouth (but not too much because I think a lot of the "assholeness" of the characterization can be found in the mouth), letter in the title, buy some markers, and we are off to market.
Briefest of Predictions: Fixing the mouth is clearly a classic easier-said-than-done thing. We'll see.

78 and Sunny

Really, it could not be a nicer day in New York.

Actually, I can think of a couple of modifications; a couple of tweaks to the day so far that I might make, were I the king of things.

For starters, picture yourself on a train in a station. Okay, now forget that and picture yourself biking around Prospect Park for the third time. You are almost done and you are grinding your way up the last big hill. Grinding is perhaps a misnomer. Let's say peddling with moderate difficulty. You are breathing hard, but if somebody rode up next to you and engaged in conversation ...
Are you Geoff Raymond?
Yes I am.

The painter?
Yeah. Why?

I read your blog every day. It makes me laugh; it makes me cry.

Me too.

I particularly liked that post about winning big in Vegas and wondering what Kristen's number was.

Thanks. You didn't think it was tasteless?

No more tasteless than most of your stuff.

Which, I'm wondering, is a good thing?

Oh yeah. Besides, I used to work at the same agency as Kristen.


And I swear to God, I'd do anything to be rendered in your by-now-famous obscured box technique.
... you wouldn't be so out of breath that you couldn't actually conduct a dialogue.

So you're grinding up the hill, breathing hard, understanding that you could just continue steaming up if you were so inclined (which is a hill joke), but you decide, just for the hell of it, to pull over and have a drink of water and take in the view.
So what? Are you now, like, back in love with the commas?
Are you Kristen's friend?
No, I'm the Greek Chorus.
I hear you. I mean, that girl was so hot you could fry eggs on her.
Anyway, then circumstances unfold such that you put your hand on your bottom bracket and you realize it is actually hot to the touch. The heat of the thing makes you think back to the woman you were just having a conversation with (although you take into fullest consideration the fact that the whole conversation might have been an hallucination). Back to the real world, the heat of the thing almost certainly means that you are going to have to replace it, and it's going to cost, relatively speaking, a shitload of money.

Which makes you angry.

Still, it is interesting, the notion that you can generate that much heat just by pedaling. What was that famous theorem? Einstein maybe? Temperature equals mass times velocity squared. Something like that?

Anyway, it gives passing credence to that whole Boy Scout thing about lighting a fire by rotating a stick against a piece of wood.

This, by the way, could be the most beautiful bicycle I've ever seen. I love the Celeste/Yellow color scheme and the mag wheels. Check out the polka-dots on the chain-stays. And, although you might not be able to see it, the map of the route of the actual Tour de France in which the bike participated is hand-painted on the down-tube.

I mean, c'mon.

I wonder if the polka-dots were a reference to the rider's prowess in the mountains (the top climber wears a polka-dotted jersey, just as the overall leader wears the more-famous yellow jersey).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Annotated Bear

This is where my portrait of Jimmy Cayne currently stands:

The color of the hair's a problem. And I'd like to achieve better resolution in the double-chin. Other than that, we're moving toward being on the street sometime immediately after the Memorial Day holiday.

Me? I'm wrestling with the name of the damned thing. I'm a big guy for parallelism in the naming department, and if I stuck with the established titling format, the name of this painting would be "The Annotated Cayne."

But really, you can't be a slave to the thing. You've got to have some backbone.

I like "The Annotated Bear."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Today's big idea

I was at a gallery opening last night. Actually, I'm not sure gallery is the right word, inasmuch as I'd bet my life the exhibiting artists paid to put their work up.

Which, by the way, is cheating.

Anyway, the gallery is housed within a larger facility, one that provides large-scale printing and which also appears to have transformed its basement into a couple of shooting sets for photographers.

Which brings us to today's big idea. Or rather, Big Idea.

I'll warn you in advance that today appears to be a bit of a slow one in the Big Idea department. Today's Big Idea isn't really earthshaking. Nonetheless, it is roughly this:

Upon speaking with the manager, I found out that they can feed canvas through their large-format printers. So it occurred to me that wouldn't it be interesting to take an image of one of my paintings in mid-stream, so to speak, and print it on canvas at the same size as the original. Now there are two, and I continue to paint both from there to completion.

A couple of thoughts occur: First is the idea of rendering moot Frost's poem called "The Road Not Taken," which, if memory serves, goes like this:

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Particular emphasis should be placed on line 2--that business about being sorry he couldn't travel down both. Well, I guess he never had a large-format printer that could feed canvas.

There's also that business with Yogi Berra, the bit where you come to the fork in the road and take it.

The second thought that occurred to me has to do with doubling down in Black Jack. Let's say you're in Vegas. Let's say you are feeling a bit flush, flying off the handle a bit, and are playing at a $25 Black Jack table. And then, Glory Hallelujah, you are dealt two aces. You then double down by coughing up another 25 bucks and asking for each of your aces to be hit again.

Let's say the first Ace gets a Jack. A voice calls to you from the dark side. It says: "With luck like this, you should be asking around to see if anybody knows Kristen the Hooker's phone number." But you are a strong man and you push that loathsome notion out of your mind.

The dealer than hits your other Ace and, Glory Hallelujah, she gives you yet a third Ace.

At this point, weakened by the effort expended in trying not to openly cry with joy, you can't help shouting out: "Does anybody know the number of a great hooker?"

Anyway, we're getting side-tracked. The Big Idea is this: You paint the painting to the half-way point. You then double your image and continue painting both. What, the question is, keeps you from continuing to double down on a particularly promising image?
Are you with me?
Can't talk now. I've got Kristen on the phone.
One quick cautionary note: The process of printing on canvas is not a particularly new one. And, by and large, the results are a kind of cheesy mess. But the idea of printing out a work in progress, then further applying actual paint, changes the playing field considerably.

And then, of course, there's Warhol.

I once thought my image of Dick Grasso ...

... could be my version of Warhol's Mao ...

... repeated, ad infinitum, in all the colors of the rainbow. Sort of.

Like that Rolling Stones song ...

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Have you seen her dressed in blue?
See the sky in front of you
And her face is like a sail
Speck of white so fair and pale
Have you seen a lady fairer?

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Have you seen her all in gold?
Like a queen in days of old
She shoots her colors all around
Like a sunset going down
Have you seen a lady fairer?

She comes in colors everywhere;
She combs her hair
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors
Shes like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors
Sort of.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Annotated Stearns

I'll save you the intermediate stuff for now and just throw down the beginning...

And where we are now...

The beauty of painting somebody who is, for all intensive purposes (I write it like this just to give you people something to talk about), not part of the general public's apperceptive mass is that I won't have to listen to a bunch of shit about how this doesn't seem right, or that could be done another way, or that maybe less purple, more yellow would be better.

Which, by the way, I always thought was something like saying to Juan Fangio, "Hey Juan, if you rethought the apex of turn five you might be able to get back on the gas a little sooner."

Me? I'm finding the whole thing pretty refreshing. Hell, I could paint just any old body and tell you he's Jimmy Cayne and you'd just pretty much have to go along with it.

That said, if you do know what Jimmy Cayne looks like, hold your comments til the end.

Thanks in advance.

Meet the Beatles

Okay. Now I'm just screwing around, wasting time before dragging my ass to the studio.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Or, perhaps, John, Meg, George and Ringo.
Don't you think your time would be better served painting your portrait of Jimmy Cayne rather than fucking around with graduation pictures of your daughter?
Yes and no.
Do you think your daughter can name more than two of the Beatles?
I doubt it.
Or any Rolling Stone other than Mick?
And you call yourself a father?
Okay! I apologize. I'm leaving now. I'm going to the studio.
Great idea in theory, but aren't you worried that you may have missed the Bear Stearns boat?
A little. But you never know what happens 'til you're outside, handing out magic markers.
There's probably still X number of really pissed off people shuttling between Stearns HQ and Connolly's Pub.
That's what I'm counting on.

One last note on The Warren Commission 2

One last note on The Warren Commission 2:

This is the actual front page of the report itself. Really, where would you get this stuff if not for me. Interesting bunch of signees.

The idea of the day

Were I a photographer all this would be a hell of a lot easier. That is to say, how long does it take to snap a photo? 1/250th of a second? Plenty of time for drinking afterward are the words that immediately jump to my mind.

Anyway, I'm not a photographer. And it takes a longer time to paint a painting than to take a picture. Far longer, in fact. And longer even still than the time it takes to dream up ka-ka-mamie (as if that is even close to how you spell it, but I like the hyphens) schemes such as "The Idea of the Day."

Which brings us to Henry Moore.

I'm sure you're familiar with the guy. I mean, who isn't? This one is called "Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 5"--which is a pretty strong title in anybody's book. The Wall Street Journal (or at least what passes for the WSJ these days) tells us today that an exhibition of 20 Moore sculptures in the New York Botanic Gardens is opening today, or shortly.

More specifically, a Ms. Rossi from The Journal writes:
When exhibiting sculptures of monumental scale, monumental space is important. But to truly appreciate the essence of these works, a complementary setting is essential. Such a perfect fit can be observed as one wanders through the beautifully manicured grounds of the Botanical Garden's 250 acres and encounters the imposing, voluptuous figurative and abstract sculptures of the English artist Henry Moore (1898-1986). Among the 20 pieces on display are the powerful "Draped Reclining Mother and Child" (1983) and the totem-like "Upright Motive No. 5" (1955-56).
Accompanying the piece is this:

Which actually would be my photo of choice to illustrate my ka-ka-mamie scheme, except that it's too small a file to allow double-clicking. It is the aforementioned "Draped Reclining Mother and Child."

This one might blow up a bit if you have at it:

Anyway, the idea of the day is this:

We (me, really) will travel to the Botanic Gardens and photograph a selection of Henry Moore sculptures. We will then paint them. Or at least one, just to see how it feels. If we, in fact, choose to start with this one, we'll call it "Draped Reclining Mother and Child (Giving Henry the Cheese)"--the parenthetical phrase being a joke about the phonetic similarities between homage and fromage, and the difficulties of French in general.

The finished image--which I envision being quite large--will then join the pantheon of Geoffrey Raymond cheese paintings that includes "Girl with the Pearl Earring (2003)," "Elegy to to the Spanish Republic (2004)," and "Portrait of the Portrait of Gertrude Stein."

Which makes this sound like a busy summer. To wit:

Big Erin 2--Almost finished. Am re-doing type.
The Annotated Cayne--currently underway.
The Wounded Man--currently underway (but handed off to Kate, my collaborator).
The Annotated Murdoch 2--planned to coincide with the anniversary of Murdoch's purchase of Dow Jones and Co.
A possible series of paintings for my buddy Tim in Thailand--still very much up in the air.
The Annotated Greenberg--still in the planning stages. I am very much wrestling with the idea of painting Hank Greenberg, the Detroit Tigers slugger of a previous era, but asking for annotations related to Hank Greenberg, the ousted Major Domo of AIG.

Plus some others.

You think this shit is easy? I was explaining to a friend of mine the other day that I couldn't come up to the country for a weekend visit and she said "How busy can you be?", or words to that effect. Well, now you know.

A final note on the Wall Street Journal. Every time I type those words these days I think of the bit of dialogue from "Sin City" in which Mickie Rourke (amazing make up job) says something about Mercedes that goes like:
I was driving a Mercedes. At least what passes for a Mercedes these days. They all look like electric razors.

Monday, May 19, 2008


"Clunky" is defined as "Awkward, solid, heavy and outdated" by the dictionary widget that pops up when I push the button on my super-mouse.

I'm surprised they didn't have my picture of Big Erin next to the definition.

So we're going back to the lab, folks. Or, rather, the studio. And we're keeping the copy but we are re-scaling it downward, hopefully making it less awkward and heavy.

Which, although it is a pain in the ass--I hate, I mean really HATE, hand-lettering, it is all for the best. 'Cause I can't stand it the way it is, and I'm actually pretty fond of the painting itself.

So back to the lab we go.

After we move the car.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Graduation

I leave now for the graduation of my youngest daughter from college. To quote from something, "My heart soars like an eagle." Either Hoffman or Pacino. He was an Indian.

Anyway, when I graduated they listed my name in the graduation program as having graduated with honors. Although this was not an accurate assessment of my actual academic standing, my parents were so pleased that I let a sleeping dog lie.

My daughter graduates with a 3.46--4 hundredths of a point shy of honors status, and about a solid point higher than her dad. She does however occupy a dominating spot on my honors list.

To repeat: My heart soars like an eagle.

Now, away!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Productivity very high after recent adventures with the bike

Productivity is peaking after a recent period of not even picking up a stick, as they say.

Witness Big Erin 2:

Still a couple of items to deal with (like correcting the "blacked out" letters on rows 5 and 7), plus maybe just a couple of things. But I've signed it, so that must mean something.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Unveiling of the Color Buffett

At a theater near you?

A couple of thoughts: a) somehow I selected the wide-screen format which appears to have cut the top of my head off, b) I do like that moment where the stuff gets stuck to my shoe (I'm reminded, in passing, of something called the Cotton Eyed Joe, whatever that is), and c) I've got to start dressing better for these videos.

For you obsessives, the back of my shirt reads:

New York Rangers
First Home Game
Of The Millennium
St. Louis Blues

January 3, 2000
Madison Square Garden

Just the interesting bits

Rather than burden you with the entire sequence, I thought the most interesting part was what we call "Day Six."

The term functions on at least two levels. It of course refers to the day God completed the creation of the world (on the 7th day, he rested, according to well-accepted Christian tradition). At the same time, the employment of the term as it relates to the obscured box technique speaks directly to the notion of the Artist as God.

A notion, by the way, that I willingly embrace (although I'm more of a natural selection guy than an intelligent design guy).

On a more mundane level, Day Six is the sixth and final point, as close readers probably know, along the arc every OBT painting describes; preceded by Days One through Four (the minimum amount of days required to cover any gridded surface by painting groups of non-adjacent sections, assuming each section takes a day to paint--which it actually doesn't, unless you are drinking a lot of coffee. Which I no longer do.) and the fifth day, which we call Christmas Day because that's when we unwrap the damned thing. The 7th Inning Stretch, explained three posts below, by the way, doesn't count as a day. It is just a moment that occurs between the Days Two and Three.
The people who read from the bottom up probably know what you are talking about.
Nicely said. And to those who read from the top down, they deserve whatever confusion confronts them.
There's a character in "Guys and Dolls" named Nicely-Nicely. Are you referring to him?
No. Had I been, I would have said "Nicely-Nicely said."
Nicely said.
And besides, who knew Brando could sing?
Nicely said.
Day Six, in this case, actually took a day. A long day. I got home at about ten last night.

Anyway, here is what it looked like when we unwrapped it. Not our finest hour, but if all I did was show you my finest hours ... I'm telling you, this would be a short blog:

Also, honestly, how pretentious is my constant use of the Royal We? I mean, it's not like there was anybody unwrapping it beside me. With perhaps the exception of my double chin, which, really, seems to have taken on a life of its own.

Anyway, here it is when we tried to integrate some of the discordances:

I like the unfolding of the blues. Just for the record, you may notice that the more we bear down on the blue on the leeward side, the more a touch or two crops up to windward. And manomanoman, that eye was killing me. Simply killing me. I mean, sometimes you just know it when you're painting the box itself. You're thinking "Man, this is a disaster."

That said, sometimes the easiest thing is just to press ahead. There's a saying in video production that goes: "We'll fix it in post." So you say to yourself, paint stick in hand, "We'll fix it on Day Six," and then proceed forward. I mean, you can get bogged down.

So this is us beginning to fix the eye.

And we're done:

Do you know what the secret was? It was two goobers of white, applied by thumb, across the bottom of each eye, creating Warren's pretty-characteristic squint. And we aren't actually done. I need to tune up the bit on the lower right that has to do with his neck, his shirt, and his jacket. Mostly, that little bit of dripping will just go all black.
Your father was a sucker for all that Damon Runyon stuff, wasn't he.
Yes he was.

The Warren Commission

After some considerable but unavoidable delays, I am happy to present my color portrait of Warren Buffett.

As close readers will remember, it's the second one I've done.  The first was black and white.  Both drew from the same resource photo.  Both employ the now famous obscured box technique.  

For the record, the complete and exact name of this particular painting is
If nothing else, I believe it puts the lie to the suggestion (mostly from the western contingent of TYOMP readers) that the obscured box paintings don't have the same ooomph (or, as might have it, the same "Phallic rise"--whatever that has to do with painting) as my straight fling-from-the-hip stuff.  

To them I say Faaaa.

I'll give you the whole sequence in my next post.


Friday, May 09, 2008

On deck...Jimmy Cayne

Just to give you the long view, even as I work on Color Buffett, I've got a painting on deck. That would be "The Annotated Cayne"--which I am hoping to exhibit outside Bear Stearns in a week or so.

The opening bid will be two no-trump.

This is Dave's brain...

This is Dave's brain:

This is Dave's brain on drugs:

Sometimes when you get the VIP tour at just the right time, you are allowed to participate in the process itself. To walk in the shoes of the great ones, if you will. To something without something something. You know the line--it's from Man of LaMancha.

The problem with letting civilians, if that's the right word, march in the shoes of battle-scarred veterans (and let me tell you, painting--like love--is a battlefield) is that they are typically insufficiently prepared for when the bullets start flying. I would have preferred, for example, more of a bend to the knee. I mean, I know we are getting old...but this is action painting. Action! Put your legs into it, man. And if he had stayed inside the lines (there are lines, you understand), that would have been nice.

But all that said, things are moving in the right direction. Box 11, by the way, where Dave spent a good deal of his time, is looking just fine. That yellow is my fault, not his.

The reason we are even painting this picture, I should explain, is that my black and white version of Warren Buffett, which of course would be this:

... was rejected (probably rightly so) by the client who commissioned it. His point was that the others in the series I had done for him were in color and the b&w Buffett seemed out of sync.

As noted moments ago, the point was a legitimate one and I was happy to comply by squeezing out a new one. So now we find ourselves up to our elbows in colored paint and obscured boxes. And the upside, clearly, is that I get to keep for my own purposes the original Warren Commission.

Interesting quick note: Here are both Warrens during what we call the 7th Inning Stretch (that point at which we have completed half the boxes and take a moment to unwrap the obscured portions of the canvas to see where we are. By sheerest happenstance, I painted the boxes in a different order the second time around.

Here's BW Buffett, half done:

And here (again) is Color Buffett, likewise half done:

When I unwrapped BW Buffett I decided to leave it the way it was. No changes were made at all. That clearly won't be the case with the current version. I'm going to have to work on a couple of things--most notably the red/yellow color shift between boxes 3, 7 and 11. That eye is going to need some work too.