Friday, July 30, 2010

I now withdraw my apology

Today appears to be all about going off half cocked. I see, upon scrolling further down, that I DID, in fact, keep you posted to a degree about the progress of Cramer.

Still, one way or another, you completists now have it all.

So now, on to the beets:

These I will eat.

This, which is the boiled-down syrup made from the water in which the beets were cooked, will figure prominently in my Barack Obama painting. A nod, of sorts, to the man's African roots.

I don't peel my beets, by the way.

And now my most profound apologies...

I've had my mind, dear reader, on other things. I was surprised to see I hadn't posted in ten days, which is unusual. So I put up the current Cramer.

Then I looked back and saw that I'd provided nothing to show the bridge between the original pic of Cramer and how it turned out as an image. Quite a change, yes?

So here are a couple of intermediates:

Which should, as that English woman once said, "bring us back to do". Pronounced dough.

I am engaged at how we got from this:

To this:

But that, I suppose, is the miracle of the thing.

Cramer--Filling in

Cramer, almost done, looks like this, naked:

This painting pleases me. The image itself is, frankly, a bit shaky--although the third nipple thing is an act of genius, if I do say so myself. But the product of the commentariat makes me happy. After the Chris Dodd painting (which, let me tell you, after reading what people wrote made me wonder if I had simply wandered off course; or if the moment for this stuff had passed), it's nice to see people write things that make me laugh, think, become nauseous, etc.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Sturm und Drang in den Pyrenees

Ach du lieber!

What a day it was in the mountains for the T de France! At the worst possible time--2K from the top of Port du Bales, a huge honking mountain if you need more explanation; honestly you couldn't have picked a more disastrous moment--Andy Schleck popped his chain and Alberto Contador roared by him like a freight train. A tiny freight train, but still you get the picture.

Me? I'm of two schools of thought. One, because I'm a miserable worm of a man, says that if I were Contador (previously 3o seconds behind Schleck for the yellow jersey, now wearing it with ten seconds to spare, approximately) I'd have done the same thing.

Alternatively, I'm reminded of the time Lance Armstrong (not my favorite biker in the world, just for the record, although I don't loathe him) got his handlebar caught in the handbag of a spectator leaning over the course (think about that for a minute) and took a tumble. Then (and this, dear reader, is the worst part--you might not want to read any further), in his haste to clip his foot back on his pedal, doesn't quite do so and on his first big downward thrust, disengages once again, plummets forward and slams his crotch onto the crossbar.

Oy gevalt! Thank God he only had one testicle!

Anyway, one of my favorite boys, Jan Ulrich, then riding for Bianchi and the guy most likely to benefit by Armstrong's misfortune, signaled to the peloton that they should all slow down and wait. They did. Armstrong caught up. Ulrich lost the TdeF. To Lance.

Although I haven't taken as many performance enhancing drugs as Ulrich, my memory may be shaky on this one. But I think that's how it happened.
So you're saying the net net is that Contador, given that he was in position to slow everybody down and not just himself, should have pulled up?
Yes, that's what I'm saying. I guess.

What if it ended up costing him the race?

Naaaah. Contador is gonna crush Schleck in the individual time trial that comes after the mountains and win the race anyway.



Do you know what it's like?


It's like when I'm caught up in a particularly complicated post for The Year of Magical Painting, Season Five and my mind races ahead faster than my fingers can type.

And you wait so your fingers can catch up?


Very sporting, but not even remotely the same thing.


And how about that Thomas Voeckler, national chamption of La Belle France, winning the stage? He may be my favorite rider.

Check this out:

My favorite all-time TdeF bike. Circa 1995, maybe. I love the polka dots on the chain stays and the course map painted on the main tube. Beautiful, beautiful machine. If I ever have another daughter I'm gonna name her Celeste.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


To be great, I suppose, is to be misunderstood. Thus it is with great pride that I offer comment #55 on Dealbreaker's coverage of my portrait of Jim Cramer:
My kid can fingerpaint a better painting of Jim Cramer than Geoffrey Raymond’s cheesedick image. $40,000 for this piece of crap? This garbage passes for art – how truly pathetic the pseudointelligentsia have become.
Ouch. Cheesedick?--that one hurts.

My response, although it is generally a good idea not to respond in such situations, is:
You, my friend, are the cheesedick.
I might go on to add something touching on the prematurity of the judgment, given that the author, some guy named McGuesterson (which I'm thinking is not his real name) is commenting on the unannotated painting. Hell, all my paintings look like shit before people start writing on them.

That's part of the fun.

Hey, he should have seen it when it looked like this:

He's right, though, about the pseudointelligentsia. Thank God that's got nothing to do with me.

The Liquidated Fuld

Are you aware that Sotheby's, on the evening of September 25th, will be auctioning the Lehman Brothers art collection?

There's no real reason why you should. I mean, the promotional campaign has yet to begin. But it's true, nonetheless. Take my word for it.

As for me? I plan to be there with the fourth and last of my Fuld paintings: "The Liquidated Fuld"

It will look something like this, albeit with the usual flourishes:

All this presumes that the weather will permit.

Further to the point, the way things work is that auction houses typically have a week or so of open viewing of the collection in their showroom. So the plan would be to stand outside Sotheby's, painting in hand (so to speak) and gather commentary from those going in and out.

I do like this picture. Christlike. The other cheek turned, as they say. That's a sad look in his eyes. "Liquidated?" he's thinking. 'I'll tear their lungs out!"

Some people never learn.

Disregard the whole Steinbrenner thing

The truth of the matter is that I loathe the man, and I'm not gonna invest the X-amount of physical and emotional energy required to paint the guy and then watch a bunch of sycophants write love notes to what I believe to be a miserable shit.
Brief aside: Don't get me wrong, now. I like the Yankees. Particularly the Jeter/Posada grouping. As much, at least, as a Mets fan can summon fondness for the Yankees. So it's not the team I loathe; it's the owner.
Funny how player reactions differ based on era. The Bronx Zoo guys could barely come up with anything nice to say about him. Even Donny Baseball himself looked conflicted. In lieu of substantive commentary they all said something like "Winning was everything to him." Which is a pretty hollow thing to have written on one's tombstone. Jeter, on the other hand, loved the guy. But what did you expect? The post-banishment, mellowing-in-old-age-driven public relations campaign had kicked in by the time he emerged from the farms.

I'm reminded of my now-dead friend John Bailey and the long lunches we used to have in the table by the window near the hostess stand at the Gramercy Tavern, eating their roasted beet salad with goat cheese, sucking down raw oysters with mignonette, drinking flinty white wine and staring out at rainy winter afternoons. Thank God Johnny's company was paying.

One day, perhaps a few too many flinty white wines into the process, we wrestled with what we wanted written on our tombstones. Mine went undetermined. Because I remain a work in progress. But we decided John's, (to universal acclaim, including the hostess) was to read "That Boy Could Sure Eat Some Beets."

Which, regardless, is a hell of a lot better than "Winning was everything to him." John Wooden, by the way, won more championships at UCLA than the Steinbrenner era Yankees did and he, apparently, was a pretty okay guy. A peach of a man, actually.

Steinbrenner, on the other hand, was, as noted above, a shit. Back in the good old days, if you pissed him off but you were, for one reason or another, too valuable to the team to fire (or had a guaranteed contract), he'd just fire your long-time secretary. Or your third base coach (who happened to be your best friend). Etc. His treatment of Martin (a pathetic wreck of a man) was legitimately sadistic. Etc.

Reggie Jackson had a great quote about Steinbrenner and Martin, respectively. "One's a rat," he explained, "and the other one's a mouse studying to be a rat." Ouch.

It is possible that Adolph Hitler, in some alternative universe, might have conquered Europe, called it a day and grown to a ripe old age drinking beer in whatever Germany's version of Tampa is. And there, no doubt, would be plenty of people at his funeral who would say nice things about the man; how he'd mellowed with age; that winning was everything to him (and who doesn't like a winner?).

But that, dear reader, would not excuse all the unpleasant stuff.

So I ain't painting Steinbrenner.

I am, however, painting Obama.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cramer is filling in nicely


Red and black for NYSE yesterday. Blue for the web commentariat, subsequently transcribed by me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Superfluous Nipple

Please forgive me, but since it's a long flat stage on the TdeFrance, I 've got some time on my hands. So I Googled the phrase "Famous people with three nipples" and f0und a website (now defunct, I think) called The Superfluous Nipple.

Check it out. Anne Boleyn? Krusty the Clown? Unbelievable.

Me? I was thinking about Ernst Blofeld when I painted Cramer's third nipple. Except, as I found out later, it wasn't Blofeld, it was Joseph Scaramanga from "Man with the Golden Gun."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The question, of course, is: How many nipples does Jim Cramer actually have?

To help you wrestle with the subject matter, dear reader, consider the painting below. All dialogue verbatim, as they used to say:

I don't mean to pick on Jim Cramer. But it's a question that goes back a million years. Who are these people and should I believe what they are telling me about the stock market? Sometimes it helps to see them naked.

Me? I'd have preferred to paint Sandra Smith (who is really hot), but that would have been unseemly. Yet we can paint naked men and everything is ok?

What has society come to.

First annotation to read: "I've got Lenny Dykstra so far up my ass all I can taste is spittin' tobacco." If you don't understand, ask me later.

Final disclaimer: I honestly think the painting looks better than it does in the photo. Please believe me.

Also, for those of you who follow my work closely, interesting background treatment. My hope is that beneath 300 annotations it will recede into something less zippy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The chasing of ambulances

Not ambulances, really. Perhaps hearses.

As I completely sell out, dear reader, consider this:

I'm gonna call it "The Annotated Boss", with the O in Boss containing a 27.

The real question is this: Is it okay to be, in the pursuit of (fill in the blank), to be a colossal asshole?
No. We're not talking The Ladies of Avignon here--we're talking about baseball.
Me? I long considered the man to be among the most loathsome public figures I know. Now I know what you are thinking. You're thinking that I'm about to say something about how he mellowed in his old age, wasn't such a bad guy after all, blah blah blah.

Naaaah--I never stopped loathing him. Thus this whole business of selling out.

Forgive me.

Logistically, the plan is to open the painting for annotation at the Peter McManus Cafe, then take it to Yankee Stadium for the first home game back after the All-Star break. Which is Friday, as I understand it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Can't talk ... Painting Obama

As noted above, can't talk.

I will, however, offer this:

Which is not the painting but, rather, the photo from which it will stem.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Season Five Begins, as usual, with that song by Bruce Springsteen

It was my impression that I always reprinted this song on July 4th. Apparently this is not entirely true, although I did in 2008. This time, in acknowledgment of the fact that Republicans are God's creatures too, I'm using a flush-right format.

4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Forcin' a light into all those stony faces left stranded on this warm July
Down in town the circuit's full of switchblade lovers, so fast, so shiny, so sharp
As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like Latin lovers on the shore
Chasin' all them silly New York virgins by the score

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us
Those pier lights, our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight, for I may never see you again
Hey, Sandy girl... my baby

Now the greasers, they tramp the streets or get busted for sleepin' on the beach all night
Them boys in their high heels, ah Sandy, their skins are so white
And me, I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades, bangin' them pleasure machines
Chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk, where they all promised to unsnap their jeans
And you know that Tilt-a-Whirl down on the south beach drag? I got on it last night and my shirt got caught
And it kept me spinnin', they didn't think I'd ever get off

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us
Those pier lights, our carnival life on the water
Runnin', laughin' underneath the boardwalk with the boss's daughter
I remember, Sandy girl... my baby

Sandy, the waitress I was seein' lost her desire for me
I spoke with her last night, she said she won't set herself on fire for me anymore
She worked that joint under the boardwalk, she was always the girl you saw boppin' down the beach with the radio
Kids say last night she was dressed like a star in one of the cheap little seaside bars, and I saw her parked with her lover boy out on the Kokomo
Did you hear, the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they do?
For me this carnival life's through-- you ought to quit this scene too

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us
Those pier lights, our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever
Oh, I mean it, Sandy girl

"Them boys in their high heels... aaaah, their skins are so white."

Manomanoman, that's a great line popping out of a 19-year old Jersey boy's brain. Bob Dylan has said on occasion that as an older man he just couldn't write the songs he wrote in his youth. Just couldn't do it. Which suggests a diminishment of mental athleticism very much along the lines of Johan Santana realizing he can't throw his fastball the way he used to. Inversely, it's Picasso saying he worked all his life to be able to paint like a child.

And this, dear reader, is a photo of Ike Davis, half way through his rookie season already part of the bedrock that supports the Rube Goldbergian contraption known as the New York Metropolitans.

Me? I Like Ike ... as they say.

Plus, from the right angle, he looks quite a bit like Bruce Springsteen.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Best movie of the year, bar none

This is the most amazing 58 minutes I've spent in a long time. People who watch me paint often reflect later that they can't decide whether to laugh in delight or cry at the terrible, dark beauty of the thing. I felt the same way about this.

I saw it while visiting a site of a company called Best Made Company. Here is a descriptive paragraph lifted from the same website:
César Newashish, a 67-year-old Attikamek of the Manawan Reserve north of Montreal builds a birch bark canoe. He uses only elements found in the bush, and the most basic set of tools, including his knee. He shows us how versatile an axe can be and in the end proves himself to be the embodiment of patience, grace, and modesty. There are playful children, a dog who climbs a ladder, and no narration. Watching him hew and shape the wood for his canoe for an hour put me in a trance, it gave me lots of hope and inspiration, and I hope it does the same for you. - PBS
After you watch the movie, I would urge you to go to back to Best Made and buy an axe.

Unbelievable. This is very much about what I see myself doing in five or ten years. I'm sure my children will be appalled.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Excerpts from Big Tony

Here are a dozen-plus tight shots of annotations from the Tony Hayward painting. As you read them you should be humming "A hard rain's a gonna fall."

For those of you who don't know the words...

"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son ?
And where have you been my darling young one ?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son ?
And what did you see, my darling young one ?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand takers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son ?
And what did you hear, my darling young one ?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one ?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded and hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son ?
And what'll you do now my darling young one ?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the deepths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my songs well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Okay...let's get serious.

Let's assume, for purposes of this discussion, that people's faces are roughly symmetrical. That is to say that, when vertically bisected, each half contains a nostril, an eye, half a mouth, an ear, some hair, etc.

Now let's further assume that we are trying to embrace the spirit of Andy Warhol, at least in terms of generating multiple images.

Now let's think of a stretched, primed 4'x5' canvas lying on the floor with the charcoal sketch of, say, Rand Paul, already executed on its surface. Next to it is a second canvas of identical proportions, without the sketch. In your hand you hold a can of paint and a paint stick.

You begin painting.

Shortly after, while every bit of the paint is still wet, you stop. Then, carefully, you (and your assistant) lay the second canvas--let's call it Canvas B atop the now-painted Canvas A, so they are aligned, face to face if you will.

You then take some kind of a roller and roll the two surfaces together, thus transferring, likely in an imperfect manner, the image from Canvas A to the surface of Canvas B. Lord have mercy, you find yourself mumbling under your breath.

Once rolled, you separate the canvases. Lo and behold, they are, on some level, mirror images of their respective others, although the paint transfer to Canvas B is likely imperfect--perhaps 50-80% of Canvas A. Remain calm--that's fine.

You let them dry.

Then you take Canvas B and lay it on the floor. You continue the painting with a second application of paint. Once done, you repeat the directions found in paragraph 5 above.

You continue til the canvases are some version of complete. You then finish each in the manner that suits you.

When you are done, you have two canvases with images of Rand Paul (that putz), similar in a number of ways but tantalizingly different as well.

Lord have mercy, you find yourself mumbling under your breath.

And then, of course, The Rehabilitated Spitzer

I dunno...

But the idea of repainting Spitzer, on the eve of his CNN debut, whenever that is, is interesting. Chronicling, if you will, the resurection of the man. His climb back out of the muck of Client 9. Blah, blah.

Just a thought.

The Commentariat Weighs In...

A couple of comments caught my eye.

First, from Davidlefool, which is, I suppose, French for David the Fool (Happy Bastille Day, David--although I think you are from England. I always enjoy your comments), reads:
Hmm if you did one of Bush I think people would have something to say. Dodd and Volker are not quite in the public consciousness like most of the other portrait choices.
Nicely said. I'm shelving Volker and painting Obama. Bush is coming up.
Were it me, I'd have added a couple more Ms on 'Hmm' and put a comma after it.
So now it's you with the commas? You are always giving me shit about them.
You, apparently, are wearing off on me.
Bad news for you, I guess.
Totally. I'm going to stop being the Greek Chorus and become the Fool.
Both worthy theatrical devices.
I suppose.
As far as I'm concerned, I love comments. If people want to bean them out without an in-depth reflection on the number of Ms in Hmmmm, then I say more power to you.
Yes, them.
Back to the Commentariat: This from Mikhail Shoemaker (which, unlike Davidlefool, has to be a pseudonym):
In Rooshia it is cold. In Rooshia we win all Grand Pree. Ferrari will win until the end of the Motherland! Comrade Putin ensures Ferrari victori. The English will not prevail over Mikhail. The KGB ensures it is so.
The Formula One posts always bring out the crazies. But, that said, I would offer the following annotation on my Chris Dodd painting as an interesting coincidence:

Do you see the one in red? Says "Michael Schumacher -> Mercedes"? Isn't that odd. Written by an 18-year old German girl. Made me smile. Still does.

Getting back to Comrade Putin, for a moment--there is much talk about a Russian F1 race. Great idea, in my opinion. They could either put it near Moscow or St. Petersburg (if that's what they call it these days; it was Leningrad when I spent the Christmas of 1970 there), or they could follow the United States model and locate the damned thing somewhere on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains.
Brief informational aside: The newly resuscitated US Grand Prix will be spending the next ten years in no less a place than Austin, Texas. How convenient.
Anyway, back to the matters at hand, I'm abandoning my Volker painting (at least for now) and painting Obama for release as TheFirstPaintingoftheNewSeason! I also like the idea of painting Bush and Cheney (I like how Chris Matthews, a windbag of the first magnitude, insists on pronouncing it Cheeeny). One of Bush; one of Cheney; both titled Bush/Cheney.

Which would be pleasingly enigmatic, at least for me.