Monday, December 14, 2009

Daer Prudence

The technique for centering a word or phrase at the top of a painting is this:

--You write the title out on a piece of paper
--You count the total number of letters and spaces
--Divide by two
--Use this simple mathematical formula to identify the physical (and numerical) middle of the line of copy.
--Consider, as an example, the title of my portrait of Gordon Brown. Dear Prudence contains 13 letters and spaces. In this case, the second R sits in the exact middle.
--Now you apply two strips of painter's tape; the first aligned with the top of the canvas, the second positioned 2.5 inches below the bottom of the first.
--Identify the vertical centerline of the painting. Make a small mark.
--Begin lettering with the middle R and proceed left to right in the normal manner.
--When done, return to the middle R and attempt to print the left side of the block of copy in a right to left manner. Channel whatever inner knowledge of Hebrew you may have. Regardless, the mindset must be one of steely concentration.

And voila:



This is annoying, to say the least. Although it looks like it might be Gaelic, which is kind of fun.

That said, RED, dear reader, unlike many other colors, resists the masking layer of gesso as if its life depends on it. You have to slap on layer upon layer on the damned gesso while the RED fights you every step of the way. Those of a certain mindset might be reminded of the final scene from The Cask of Amontillado, with Fortunado screaming for mercy as Montresor walls him in.

Unbelievably stressful. Although, eventually, the screaming dies down and you end up with this:



I love the two black dots between the bottom of the title and the top of the head.

The choice of title, I should say, was not mine. Rather, my client's. Which is fine with me because every time I mention the idea to the random Brit I might run into, they giggle like school kids. What's up with that?

Anyway, given the way we conduct our affairs here, here are the lyrics:
Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out to play

Dear Prudence open up your eyes
Dear Prudence see the sunny skies
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence won't you open up your eyes?

Look around round round
Look around round round
Oh look around

Dear Prudence let me see you smile
Dear Prudence like a little child
The clouds will be a daisy chain
So let me see you smile again
Dear Prudence won't you let me see you smile?

Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out to play
My hope was that The Complete Beatles on Ukulele would have a version, but they haven't gotten to it yet. They do, I should say, have a genuinely odd version of Norwegian Wood that is worth listening to. Go here and it's either at the top or the next one in. I'm So Tired, performed by an artist called Christina (b612) Hansen is also good clean
fun.

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