Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Helping My Friend Dave Understand the Mysteries of Life

First of all, a disclaimer: Dave is a fictional name. I'm not comfortable exposing my friends to the level of public scrutiny that appearing on The Year of Magical Painting entails.

That bit of nasty business aside, this painting, titled "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" sold for $106.5 million last night.



Good news for painters everywhere, I suppose.

Me? If I could get even half that much for one of my paintings I'd be delighted. Interestingly enough, it was, according to The Times, painted in a single day.

Now, rewind about a year. My friend Dave and I found ourselves ogling the collection of Picassos that Larry Gagosian (real name) had assembled in his Chelsea gallery. I'm sure you remember the show. Something about Musketeers. They all looked more or less like this one:



Late in life, Picasso appeared to be up to his ass in stuff like this.

Me? I'm a big fan. The man stuns me on a regular basis, and paintings I've seen many times frequently surprise me the next time I see them. Being a fan of Picasso, it should be noted, hardly represents membership in an exclusive club. I'm just saying that I, dear reader, am a member.

This was my favorite painting in the show, by the way:



Dave? Despite my personal rapture, Dave seemed unconvinced. Until I showed him three large paintings occupying their own wall. Each one was probably 6 feet high, 5 feet wide. Significant works, all wrestling with the same subject matter.

"Dave," I said.
"What?" he asked.
"Look at the dates on these paintings."

At which point his eyes visibly widened. As it turned out, the three had been painted on consecutive days. Which is something, let me tell you. Unless, I suppose, you're Picasso, who made a habit out of it.

A painting a day, more or less. For 70 years. No wonder there are a shitload of Picassos floating around. The fact that they can still nab a hundred mill or so remains one of the mysteries of life.

I painted this in one day, almost a year ago:



Minus the annotations. Which are recent. I had a French documentary crew coming to interview me and I wanted another painting for the background shots. So I beaned this out.

The first person in the video is actually the documentarian. Proof of this would be her turning and shouting at her cameraman in French.



I never actually saw the final product, although it aired on Canal Plus--which is something like HBO for the French.

By the way, I very much like Red Geithner. Completely unlike any of my other paintings in terms of technique (I took some red paint and some black paint, put on a latex glove, grabbed a sponge, and shmooed the stuff on until I was done), but I do like it. And it was completed, start to finish, in one day. Whereas I've got plenty of paintings that took weeks to complete and which truly suck.

And therein, dear reader, surely must be one of the mysteries of life.

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