Monday, June 30, 2008


I'm at 697 and counting, and the 4th is still several days away.

Because I have math anxiety I asked my accountant to help me. He tells me that 700 posts over a two year period is equivalent to one post a day, with about two weeks vacation per year. Me? I thought it would come out to be way more than that.

Also worth noting is the fact that with each post averaging, conservatively, 350 words, I am now at 245,000 words--roughly the length of War and Peace.
That is an assload of blogging, Kemo Sabhay.
Yes it is.
Plus, you've got pictures.

Yes I do my friend. Yes I do.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Big Fucking Julian--start to (almost) finish

This is the rough chronology of Big Fucking Julian...

Start with gray...

Then a smaller, secondary grid in black...

Realization that we're completely screwed leads to the abandonment of the grid; leads to this:

Well and good, but I'm not liking the glasses, or the eyes...

Which shows you that we do sometimes use a brush. I then repaint the eyes...

Which gives us a Lone Ranger kind of a thing. Then, moving forward we get to this...

Which, for the record, is supposed to look like this:

But back to the matter at hand. When I started out, I wanted to replicate the feel of "Close, But No Cigar," which is this:

Obviously that ship has sailed. Nonetheless, with the intention of doing two Big Julians (the second one to be titled "BFJ 2" for the show, with BFJ 2 destined to look like "Close, But Not Quite," (which is, of course, this):

I thought I'd try to stick with the rough, sketchy feel against the white background.

So I'm feeling okay. All that's left is to stare, in a self-loathing way, perhaps armed with a shot of cheap bourbon, at what you see here for about a day, then tinker a little bit, then scrawl the title across the top and sign the lower right.

I will, however, say this: When I painted the orange lenses I literally painted over top of the eyes (which had been executed primarily in a kind of puke-green). And even though I've already noodled a bit with them, I'm going to be thinking about how to make the eyes pop just a bit more while still retaining the feel of looking through colored lenses.

Interestingly enough, if you scroll up to image #3--the first execution of the eyes and the lenses--they actually come across better. That's because I painted the orange lenses in around the existing eyes, rather than over them.

The urge is to write "Lesson learned", except that I'm one of those people who appears to be congenitally incapable of learning from my mistakes. But that's another post.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Greek Chorus Weighs In

Hey Geoff? You in there?
C'mon baby. I know you're in there. I can hear you breathing.
In where?
In wherever it is that we exist.
Speak for yourself. I exist in the real world.
Really? 'Cause I'm not sure all this "Huck fucking Finn" swimming up the Saigon River eating snakes business is exactly livin' in the real world.
C'mon baby. I know you're in there. I can hear you breathing.
What do you want? I'm trying to paint this goddam picture.
How's it going?
Not well, but the acid should be kicking in soon.
Do you think that's wise?
Dropping acid when you should be painting.
I spilled paint on the mushrooms.
I'm not talking about the acid specifically. I'm talking about self-destructive behavior in the face of looming deadlines.
What's the problem?
I don't want to sell my paintings. Leastways not the old ones.
Do you have a source of income other than the sale of your paintings?
How you gonna eat?
If you do enough acid you don't get hungry.
Why don't you just paint some new ones and sell those?
I'm trying, but really this whole Schnabel thing is an embarrassment. I mean, have you seen it?
Yeah. It's a wreck, man.
So you're right. You are completely fucked.
(Odd slurping noise)
What's that noise?
It's me getting my stomach pumped.
Really? You have your own stomach-pumping machine at home.
You'd be surprised how often it comes in handy.
Wow--that nurse is really hot.
Yes she is. But that's not the point.
What's the point?
The point is, now's the time for a man to be a man.
You think?
Yes I do, my Greek friends. And by God, once my stomach is empty and everything stops blinking orange and blue I'm gonna march down the hill, grab some paint and start whaling away. By God, I will not be defeated. By God, I will never be hungry again.
You're like Scarlett Fucking O'Hara swimming upstream, eating snakes.
You're an impressive man.
Yes I am, in a slightly disconnected way.
I think you should paint the nurse.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Could be worse...

Could be raining.

Which leads us, inexorably, to this:

Which is supposed to look like this:

But which doesn't. Actually it does...a little bit. And that's something. But still.

Also looks a bit like Gary Oldman in one of his woolier moments. I loved him in Dracula, by the way, although he was less scruffy than the way my boy Julian usually rolls (He has a penchant, if you didn't know it, for always wearing pajamas. And that's just for starters, in the scruffy department.). This, for your viewing pleasure, is Oldman getting ready to suck the juice out of Winona Ryder like she was one of those thin-skinned oranges from Florida.

Love the dress. But manomanoman, whatever the hell ever happened to her? She was like the Natalie Portman of her day. Maybe she's in the slammer?

Anyway, back to the painting; a couple of thoughts: First, although it worked really well with the Close painting, maybe floating the secondary grid (which is the one in black and is, for reasons I'll get into at some point, significantly more obviously "gridded" than it might typically be) six inches in from the edge is a bad idea here. Maybe I should just bleed it out on the upper, lower and left hand side of the image the way Big Julian's actual face does in the photo. I mean, you could almost squeak by with the top and side, but the way the bottom of his beard is cut off--really, it's just a disaster.


Hmmm. Upon reflection, I don't really have a second thought. Just that first one. Which you can read in the second paragraph above if you haven't already. Although it was, you have to admit, a complex one. Probably on some level actually a collection of several thoughts.
Quick note: This would be an example of how, although you are supposed to read the blog from the bottom up (i.e. in chronological order), the posts themselves should be read in the standard left-to-right, top-to-bottom manner. Why I even have to tell you people this leaves me dumbfounded. I mean, do you need me to chew your food for you?
Anyway, all that negativity aside, if we are all agreed on the idea of extending the black grid to the edge of the painting, then I am reasonably sanguine about my chances of pulling the damned thing together once we start slapping on some color.

Big Fucking Julian

This is the primary grid, laid out in gray, of Big Fucking Julian.  Note the iridescent gold dots.  Those lacking vision--although obviously you have to have some vision to see the damned thing--might suggest similarities to both Sean Penn and Steven Spielberg. 

To this I would say I can't be in charge of everything.

Note the dynamic disjunction with the eyeglasses.  Fasten your seatbelts, it could be a bumpy ride.


If you see her, say hello

These days I find that I'm misting up at the least appropriate moments.  What's that line?
Either I'm too sensitive or else I'm gettin' soft.
Which, by the way, I always thought ended with the word "old" not "soft."  

In any case, I was reading a story about Rocco Mediate this morning and I couldn't help but get a lump in my throat.   Felt a bit loose in the eyeballs, if you get my drift.  Likewise, when Tom Brokaw broke up while giving Tim Russert the cheese on last week's Meet The Press, I thought I was coughing up hairballs.  Likewise, when I'm riding my bike at a certain velocity in cold weather I find that I tear up way more than I used to.  Which can be dangerous--both eyes going way-blurry and you realize you are nowhere near the bottom of the hill (the proceeding down of which being the cause of the increased rate of travel) and you realize you can't see a goddam thing.

Although that's more of a physical ailment than an emotional one, I suppose you can't have it both ways.  Either I'm too sensitive or else I'm getting old.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Can't post ... exhausted from the effort required to squeeze out the last one.

I have begun Big Fucking Julian, so that is something.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wouldn't it be odd?

Wouldn't it be odd if my five year plan actually worked?

I mean, really, who would have, objectively speaking, said, upon being informed that I was literally dropping off the face of corporate America to become a portrait painter, "Hey, that makes a lot of sense."?
You're having trouble with too many commas again.
Perhaps, but my question has to do with where the question mark goes at the end of that sentence. I mean, people aren't saying "Hey, that makes a lot of sense?" with a question mark at the end. So I put a period in, closed the quotation marks, and then threw down a question mark. But it looks strange.
Me? I wouldn't have put the comma before "and then threw down a question mark."
I love the commas.
Everyone knows.
Anyway. Really, who would have thought? Because I'm feeling like a good deal of progress, despite whatever the odds are, has been made. And we're not even done with Year Two. We're about two weeks short.

I remember when I was in the Cambodian Highlands, circa 1968 (tell no one, by the way, because us being where we were at that particular time was really totally inappropriate), and I was two weeks short. Crawling through the jungle, two weeks short, doing the usual shit. I will say, my head was spinning a bit because after about 36 hours of no sleep, several of my key people and I had decided to drop some of the acid. Just to take the edge off the speed. (Now changing to present tense for added effect) Fast-forward half an hour and there I am, crawling through the jungle, face camo'd in a nice combination of heliotrope and puce, wearing nothing but a knife, an AR-15 with a twenty round magazine (the thirties were too big--you couldn't get close enough to the ground), and some GI boxers. I am slathered in pig fat for reasons I can't, at that exact moment, put my finger on but I remember it has something to do with the barbed wire surrounding the NVA compound we are scoping. I had recently added a couple of ears to my necklace (I only later learned they were ears. For the longest time I just thought they were dried apricots), and now they're stinking like week-old sea scallops, the drugs are kicking in, and I'm thinking, "I wish I was half an hour outside Barstow instead of crawling through this fucking jungle."

Now it is axiomatic that when you survive long enough in the deep jungle with the same couple of guys you start to think alike. No sooner had I thought about Barstow than Bobby the Gravedigger starts shouting, "I feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe you should drive." Which, really, is the worst idea imaginable since: a) I was already on the point, so I was, de facto, doing the driving, and b) about half the North Vietnamese army wakes up and starts unloading half a ton or so of small caliber ordinance in our general direction.


You can hear a round go by you if it's close. It sounds like shitttt.

At which point I suggest to Bobby that he shut the fuck up.


He, undeterred, shouts back, "Tell me you've got the golf shoes." Which is okay, I suppose, since by this time the noise from what one might call the opposition is so loud you could have said anything you wanted and not drawn any more attention than we were getting. Black Eddie then crawls up next to me and says, with kind of a crazy grin, "Could be worse. Could be raining." At which point the mortars start going off.

"Let's get the fuck out of here," I reply, as calmly as I can. And Black Eddie says, "I don't mind running for my life, but I'm not carrying the bag."

He is, of course, referring to the one piece of luggage we all took turns carrying. He hands me his rucksack and I take a quick inventory of its contents. After one day and two nights in the bush it still contains two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, laughers, screamers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls.

I pull out two of the amyl nitrites, give one to Black Eddie and pop one myself.


This is me actually saying "shit." I always do that after I pop an amyl.

And fuck Bobby, by the way. No drugs for him. He gets nothing. I mean, if he hadn't started shouting we wouldn't be in this mess. Then we all run as fast as we can to a predetermined spot about 600 meters away and hide like cats under the bed during a thunderstorm until the shit has passed.

The next day, when I show everyone that I still have the bag, we decide we should make something up so I can get the Congressional Medal of Honor. Lawrence suggests we shoot Bobby in the head and then claim that I had risked my life because I wouldn't leave his body behind. And while we all think there is a good deal of merit to the idea, it has it's share of problems as well. So we come up with something else.

And that, kids, is how I became a hero.

And then later threw it all away to become a painter.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I'm recanting my vegetarianism. Had steak and eggs for breakfast.

Fitness kick

Up early. Can't sleep.


Thought this might be a good time to announce that I'm eating only vegetarian these daze. Trying to get my shit together.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Upcoming show

Here are three you will see in Andes:

Disregard that thing under my chin.

The Annotated Fed

Which would, of course, be this:

It will be interesting to see what everyone has to say.

Not you people. Everyone with a magic marker.

It's a black, black day

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. I mean, who hasn't? But the one that currently weighs most heavily is my obviously incorrect insistence that today's New York Mets are interchangeable, at least in my mind's eye, with the 2006 Met team that was, arguably, the best team in baseball.

And now they've fired Willie Randolph--a man of whom I was fond. And Cyd Charisse is dead.

Then you add to this toxic mix the news that the Celtics thrashed the Lakers to within an inch of their lives last night and, really, once I'd finished my two-eggs-over-easy-with-sausage-and-hashbrowns, I had to ask the waitress for a large coffee to go, so I could digest the sports page in private. Away from bystanders whispering to each other: "What's wrong with that man?"
Do they want an alphabetical list?
Please. Could you just go easy on me today? I mean, it's a black, black day.
Do you know what Bob Marley used to say?
"In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty."
You're referencing the recent email from my dealer?
Yes I am.
So my upstate dealer (as if I actually had a New York-based one) writes:

The first info on the show just went out to the arts organizations, calendars, newspapers etc. It will, of course, be followed by press releases, invitations, etc.

It's gonna be big, Geoff.

Geoffrey Raymond
The Greatest Portrait Painter of the Century
Opening Gala: August 2, 2008
Andes Art and Antiques Gallery
That title makes me smile, and I wonder what "big" means, quantitatively. In any case, I do love a gala (although my preference would be a masked ball). Makes me feel like I'm in an episode of Gossip Girl.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just for the record

Just for the record, this is the house I grew up in (June through August, annually, from age 8 'til the summer between my junior and senior years in high school). Ken's, as it has always been with your back to the ocean, is the one on the left. This gives you a sense of the bottom floor as well as a better sense of the new, light-gray coloring.

What may not be clear is that these are pretty big houses. Mine was 7 or 8 bedrooms. Which was typical.

Father's Day

Here on Father's Day, I couldn't be happier to be a father. A rough outline of the related celebrations:

Thursday--Went with my next-to-oldest (duration, not age) friend Ken to Bay Head and sprinkled most of what was left of Dad into the Atlantic, then into Barnegat Bay. For you obsessives, Bay Head is in New Jersey.

Here's what the ancestral home looks like today. When I spent time there, the shingles were a dark, dark slate blue and the trim was white. Much nicer looking. Also, back in the day, there was a small boardwalk that connected all the houses on the ocean side. Now it's been replaced by a pretty massive sand dune. Massive enough so that you can't even see the main floor--what you see here are the second and third floors. I used to sleep on the third floor, all the way to the left. The dormer that's there now didn't exist at the time.

The shot, by the way, was taken with my feet more or less in the Atlantic. Moments later I called my brother Nick to tell him Dad had been suitably deposited in the drink.

For you obsessives, Ken's family's house is the one to the left.

This is a quick shot of the Bay Head Yacht Club.

Were I to turn 90 degrees left, you would see the main Clubhouse, if that's the right word. To my right 90 degrees is the spot where we tossed Dad. Directly ahead is a prime example of what I think is called a B-Cat, which might have once been called a BugEyed Cat, although on this I could easily be wrong.
That, and a lot of other stuff.
Yes. Thanks for the reminder.
Anyway, when I was a boy, I sailed a Barnegat Bay Sneakbox--a 16 foot gaff-rigged catboat with a really big sail. There are very few Sneakboxes left, as near as I can tell. These B-Cats look like sailboats for pussies. I preferred a raw-er experience. That is to say, more raw. Less cooked.

Friday--rest from the rigors of Thursday

Saturday--Celebrated Father's Day with the girls. Uneventful, but couldn't have been lovelier. That's both the day and the girls. Later that day I made great progress on "The Annotated Bernanke," which is now available for viewing here for the first time:

It is obviously not finished.

Sunday--Concluded the celebration by having brunch next door, staring out at the people who were caught in the line squall that rolled through Park Slope, reading the Times, drinking a glass of Champagne.

When the Times is as done as it's gonna get, I'll repair to the studio.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Likewise, "Big Fucking Julian."

Big and Bigger

I don't usually paint two at a time, but in this situation I'm gonna take the notion for a spin.

Several items worth considering: a) I would like to generate some inventory for my upcoming show; b) the technique I will be using for The Annotated Bernanke will differ significantly from the technique I'll use for Big Bobby (see all below); c) I have barely set foot in the studio for a couple of weeks--almost unheard of for me--and now that I have some images I want to paint, let's get painting.

"The Annotated Bernanke" will be taken from this:

It will make a nice counterpoint to Big Ben (We're Totally Screwed) 1", which is here:

And finally, the first of my series of the Kennedy boys:

You know how they sometimes describe episodes of Law and Order as "ripped from the headlines?" In this case, the painting can be described as "ripped off the cover" of Vanity Fair. The first amendment is a wonderful thing.

The thing about Big Bobby is that I'm going to paint him using the obscured box variation, where I use the cardboard template. He's also going to be six by five, which, let me tell you, will be a welcome relief from the typical 4x5 dimensions of a Wall Street painting.

I can only assume, since you people are not idiots, that you watch Gossip Girl.

This is a promotional poster from a couple of months ago. I share this because the insertion of the F in the already-well-recognized OMG acronym created a bit of a stir. Good for them.

Anyway, all this said, given the dimensions and the fact that a lot of 4x5 paintings are titled "Big Maria" or "Big Something...", the urge to call my first Kennedy painting "Big Fucking Bobby" is palpable.
Come Watson. The game is afoot.
No shit, Sherlock. Let's get our asses to the studio.

Images for my show

Did I mention that I may have a show at at gallery in the Catskills? These are some of the images that I'm thinking about including. On the business side:

Plus an annotated Bernanke, just to fill things out.

I have other stuff, but most of it is sold and I'm still holding onto it. It would be fun, for example, go include Big Maria--since it is a relatively famous painting (Page Six!). Likewise, I can get the Annotated Murdoch and the Annotated Bear from their owners, but what's the point

On the non-business side (I suppose there should be a better name for this category), I'm considering both my Chuck Close paintings, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and maybe Michelle A--although as noted previously I don't think I'm ready to sell her yet.

I also like the idea of bunching together a couple of homage paintings, like Girl with Pearl and Portrait of Portrait...

Plus a self-portrait:

Plus, since there's some rumor about a Julien Schnabel show opening at the same time in a gallery across the street, it might be fun to paint a Big Schnabel. He looks like this:

And this:

So really, how hard could it be?

He paints (or used to) stuff like this:

So you can see the link.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barnegat Bay

I leave now to sprinkle bits of Dad in Barnegat Bay. I'll report back when done. Remain calm.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I didn't expect it to be so hard

I didn't expect it to be so hard. The selling of the paintings, that is. The ones I really like, more specifically.

The assumption (which, by the way, is faulty) is that the one's you really like are the ones that sell for the most. Truth be told, Big Jimmy was an important painting (if that's not too self-absorbed a word--I mean, important says who?) in the whole Wall Street series, but I didn't mind selling that one at all.

But I'm still all choked up about the fact that I don't get ever get to see Elena in the Morning--probably my favorite sold painting--anymore.

I love those strands of yarn peeking out on the side of the canvas.

And now it looks like I'm having a show in the Catskills in August and I'm worried that I'll have to sell some more of my favorites, because I don't have enough inventory of Wall Street ones. This, I suppose, is an okay problem to have, but still.

Plus, consider the following statement:
Hey buddy, I know you love this painting, but would you take twenty thousand for it?
The good news is that, given current trends, this is not so far-fetched a statement as to be dealing in hypotheticals. Okay, yes it is a hypothetical situation. But, given the trends, you might also call it good solid business practice--the anticipation of potential scenarios (i.e., the first twenty thousand dollar Raymond) and the planning of related strategies.

Now consider this potential scenario: The painting in question is Michelle A. And it's part of my Catskills show when the offer is made. And the dealer takes 45% off the top (which is neither high nor low). And taxes take 40%. And I'm sitting there at the front door of the gallery watching some asshole load Michelle A. into the back seat of his Bentley holding, speaking with some license here since, obviously, you don't pay the tax right then and there, a roll of about sixty hundred dollar bills.

I don't want to sell Michelle A. to net six grand. Who would?

And I know my dealer is gonna want this one in the show.

I'm so fucking depressed at the very notion of the thing that it's all I can do to keep from buying a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and a thing of onion dip and watching the bicycle racing on Tivo.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Whup! Shalooby

If you haven't already, I would urge you in the firmest possible manner to dial up iTunes and buy "Shine a Light", the soundtrack of the Martin Scorcese/Rolling Stones movie by the same name. The opening guitar line of "Shattered" is worth the price of admission alone. It goes something like:
dah-dah dee dah dah-dah dee dah-dah dah dah dah
Later in the song, after they repeat the riff, Mick replaces the last two dahs with the word "Shattered." They repeat this several times and really, it's just fabulous. Plus the whole "Whup! Shalooby" stuff.

As for me?

I see a line of cars and they are painted black.

Why? Well, I spent much of the day involved in the process of picking my daughter up at Kennedy Airport, that being her re-entry point to the United States from her three or so weeks in southern Europe. Standing around drinking coffee, waiting for her to clear customs, listening to the Rolling Stones on my iPod, I couldn't help but look at all the limo drivers and reflect that we are all, each and every one of us, but a cataclysm away from being limo drivers.
Whup! Shalooby.
(Shattered, shattered)
Me perhaps closer than some others.

I think the mistake with the Stones is to have stopped paying attention to them after Sticky Fingers or Exile on Main Street. I mean, to do so would have been to have missed "Shattered," which, really, is just fabulous.

As part of this extended effort to bring my daughter home safely, I found myself on the subway earlier today, rocketing northward towards Tiffany's. Tiffany's is a nice enough store, by the way, but the man they have manning the customer service desk on the sixth floor is really an ass of the first magnitude. One of those loud-voiced people who feel the need to enunciate beyond what is normally called for and then be so smugly pleased with themselves for their clipped diction that you just want to reach over whatever counter might be separating you from such a person, grab him or her by the lapels, and kick the shit out of them.

This, I worry, will likely slow down the process of picking up my item, so I resist. Nonetheless, his exchange with a very pleasant Asian woman as I stood by--him with his over-aggressive enunciation and her with her difficulty with Ls and Rs. Who's that famous Republican that just died? Imagine that guy without the sense of humor manning the customer service desk at Tiffany's. Me? I'm still troubled.

The woman would spell her name (it included an R, plus a couple of disintuitively placed vowels) and he, while typing it in, would repeat each letter back to her in a loud voice, but each time screwing it up slightly. In the end the woman was embarrassed and likely thinking she'd go to Harry Winson the next time.

All this by way of saying that I was on the F train wizzing northward this morning and found myself staring at a different Asian woman entirely. And for the longest time I couldn't explain why I found her to be so attractive. Because, objectively speaking, she wasn't really that. That attractive, leastwise not in a classical sense. But there was something about the sharp, almost geometric parallelism of the line described by the top of her nostril (I was looking at her from about a 45 degree angle, so I could only see one side of her nose) and the line described by the ridge of skin that divides the upper lip from the lip itself... This, plus the lushness of her flume... I mean, really, it was just fabulous. Hours later I still can't stop thinking about it.

It also had something to do, I think, with fractals.

Anyway, she got up to leave the train a couple of stops before me and I found myself whispering the word "shalooby" under my breath. Quietly, I thought, but apparently not so quietly that the woman sitting next to me didn't turn her head and stare at me.

You think this job is easy? Is all I'm saying.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Woman in a burkha

I'm not sure why I never win the grand prize at the BAG group shows, but I never seem to. It could be because I always have to ask for a dispensation, since the size of my painting is always bigger than the stated maximum size on the entry form. Which annoys them. Or because the last two paintings I exhibited were either not for sale or priced higher than the stated maximum price on the entry form. Which annoys them.

My level of self-obsession doesn't allow me to allow for the fact that an independent panel of relatively intelligent people could think that there were other, better, paintings in any given show.

That said, I had an interesting chat with a guy at the most recent show by the name of Basem Hassan. Mr. Hassan, unlike myself, had received an honorable mention for a work he calls "Sara." This would be it:

And manomanoman, I have to tell you, it was really something. Click it twice and see if it blows up really big. I tried to import the large size file. You might also check out his website.

Anyway, I've been thinking about it for a while because: a) anybody who's familiar with the Obscured Box Technique can see an obvious kinship between the stuff I do and what's going on with "Sara," and b) in the end, the measuring stick of a portrait is how it looks back at you. He. She. It. Whatever it is you're painting.
The eyes being the window to the soul and all that stuff?
And with that given, doesn't it then stand to reason that the obvious next step is to paint a woman in a burkha? Eliminate the extraneous and concentrate one's powers (if the word "powers" doesn't suggest too high a level of self-involvement) where you need to be concentrating one's powers.
I'd like to say a word to you, my friend.
Hey, just a minute. Don't I always go first?
Most of the time yes. But I'd like to say a word.
And you are ... ?
I'm Geoffrey Raymond. The painter. And you?
I'm the Greek Chorus.
Why are we having this discussion?
Because sometimes it's difficult for the readers to know who is saying what to whom. Particularly because you usually stay in the white type unless I say something, then you come inside and talk for a while in red. Then, when you've had your way with me (you miserable bastard), you click back to the primary font.
So it's important that people know that it is you who wants to have a word with me.
Okay. Now that we've cleared that up, may I have a word with you?
Most unusual...
Regardless. I'd like to say that I don't think the use of the word "powers" is particularly ill-conceived. I mean, if the act of generating an image that is both realistic and compelling by throwing paint off the end of a stick isn't an act best done in conjunction with the influence of some higher "power," then what is?
This isn't a theological discussion, is it? Because I know you love those.
Then is it like Gandalf the Gray or Dumbledore or something like that. Is it wizardry?
I don't know.
Can you find it at the corner of Jack Daniels Street and Bud Lite Boulevard?
It is certainly in that neighborhood.
Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?
Now you're just fucking with me.
Me? Fucking with you? Hey, Kemo Sabe, you're the guy who thinks that reversing your position on the sofa when the Giants are doing poorly actually influences the outcome of the game.
What are you getting at?
All I'm saying is that everybody knows you're a nutcase. If you want to attribute what you do to some higher power then go ahead. You've said about 500 stupider things on this blog in the last year alone.
Really? 500?
(noise off-stage--if off-stage is the right word)
What's that noise?
Maybe it's Prince Caspian in the wardrobe.
Fuck you.
Anyway, I think I'd like to try to paint a woman in a burkha.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I'll leave you to your collective bed with the following: This is the 675th post on The Year of Magical Painting. And we are coming up on the end of Season Two in almost exactly a month. Because really, what, exactly, is a month? I mean, day-wise? 30 days? 31?

I figure I'll be in the low 700s by the time July 4th rolls around. 700 divided by 365 times two equals what? Two posts a day? One and a half?

These are all good questions.

I'm not writing it down, by the way. I'm doing it in my head. It's head-math, so I may be off by a hair. I may have missed by a nose. Here's to you my friends--chin chin.

Good nite, sweet prince...volume 2

Did I tell you that the name of the show will be "The Annotated Raymond"?

And that the piece de resistance will be a self-portrait that show-goers will annotate during the run of the exhibition?

Or is that the ne plus ultra?

Or should I call it "Giving Raymond the Cheese"?

These are all questions.

No really. I mean, literally, every sentence up until the one before the one before this one was a question.
So when you said "These are all questions," you really meant it?
It wasn't one of those blow-some-smoke phrases like "I'll look into it" or "Let me reflect on that"?
No. Those were all questions.
It wasn't like one of those situations when you are in a public forum and somebody asks you a difficult, perhaps controversial question--perhaps a question upon which your entire future depends--and unfortunately you don't know the answer to it so you say, playing for time, "That is an excellent question."?
No. Nothing like that. Those were really all questions.
Remind me to tell you about dropping off Big Jimmy.

Good nite, sweet prince

I deliver Jimmy Cayne to his (its) rightful owner today. At such time, he will move out of the public sector and into the private one. Much like when museums de-commission works by selling them to private citizens, one of the outcomes is that John Q. Public will no longer be able to see the damned thing, barring a special invitation.

All that said, I am pressing forward on a couple of annotated paintings this summer with an eye towards organizing a show. I figure I need at least five or six to make it happen. The agreement with purchasers to date is that the works will be available to borrow for such a show.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The comments are, by and large, the comments

Take a look at these two paintings:

The left image is a painting ("Portrait of Pope Innocent X") by Diego Velazquez, a Spanish painter. He was a masterful realist during the Baroque period. The right image is a painting by English modernist Francis Bacon ("Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X").

I wouldn't bring it up except that of the three comments on the most recent piece about Big Jimmy on Dealbreaker that caught my attention, someone wrote the following:

It's like Francis Bacon's Innocent X, with a thousand inner voices driving, or representing, his insanity.


Since everybody knows that Francis Bacon is maybe the coolest painter ever, this seems like high praise to me. You can't let this stuff go to your head, though. After all, somebody else wrote:

Jerry Springer on acid.

So there are a couple of perspectives. The comments are, by and large, the comments.

What it does speak to is this:

That is to say, the legitimacy of taking famous images and reinterpreting them. It is, of course, my "Portrait of the Portrait of Gertrude Stein."

The last comment?
How does that dude feel about her blowing his entire severance package on one painting?
I got the impression that his severance package might have exceeded the purchase price.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"I had a good run"

This is the finished version of "The Annotated Bear."

By my count, 189 annotations, the vast majority of which are in red--the color reserved for Bear employees.

The first annotation read: "Opening Bid: One Dimon." You can find it--although somewhat blurred (this is what happens when you drop a relatively cheap camera--the lens gets out of alignment and never goes back)--about two inches below the first T. The final annotation (inscribed around 3:30 p.m. yesterday) read: "I had a good run." You can find it between the first T and the A in "Annotated."

I figured it was as good a moment to stop as any.

Next up?

Do you remember this take on Chuck Close? Called "Close, but no Cigar"?

It's actually a spin-off version of the obscured box technique, but instead of obscuring a newly-painted square with tape or newspaper, I move a cardboard template (with a one-foot square cut in the middle) around the canvas. While I'm painting any given square, the cardboard is obscuring what is next to me. Get it? Good, because it gets more complicated.

When all the squares in the first layer are finished, I then take a tube of paint and squeeze a goober (technical term) onto each of the points where the pencil lines that form the original grid intersect--the corners of the squares, if you get me.

Then I revisit the painting again for a second layer. Except, instead of aligning the corners of my template with the corners of the grid (which is how I painted the first layer), I execute the second pass by placing each newly-painted dot in the center of the template's open square.

This is what it looked like after I had completely finished the first gray layer and was beginning the second black layer.

This then creates several geometric outcomes: First, it means there's a primary grid (the one inscribed by the borders of the 30 one-foot squares that comprise the canvas). The second pass then creates a secondary grid (of which there are only 20 squares), which floats atop the primary grid. And finally, the lines created by both the primary and secondary grid means that there are actually a series of 6-inch squares floating all over the damned thing as well.
Man, do you really expect anybody to follow that?
Yeah. Why not?
'Cause it's whack, man. Not everybody got an A in geometry.
I don't think it's really geometry as much as quantum physics.
Why don't you just tell us who you're gonna paint next?

I'm thinking maybe all three Kennedy boys--Jack, Bobby and Ted.
Now that's cool.
Yes. I'm feeling that it is.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jimmy Cayne is closed

I just got back from a last-day annotation session outside Bear Stearns headquarters, and "The Annotated Stearns" is now closed.

I'd show you a picture, but I appear to be having equipment problems. Perhaps I'll loop back by the studio later and see if I can retake the shots.

In the meantime I'll throw you this as a bone...

Many more annotations since this shot was taken. My count is 189, but the over/under could easily be fifteen.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Yo Larry! Sup?

A couple of items for your viewing pleasure.

First is this--the current state of affairs for Big Jimmy:

And second is this:

I'm probably calling Larry Gagosian.