Monday, March 29, 2010

I Was Having a Pretty Good Day til...

Ahhh, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you.

I'm celebrating the first day of Passover (me, a Jew only by the osmotic transmogrification typically experienced by the New York long-term Goyim--not so dissimilar than that whole water into wine business), painting a 30"x60" version of a screencap taken from "Fight Club" to be titled (and not just figuratively titled, but by means of scrawling the words across the face of the canvas) something along the lines of "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate of everyone drops to zero."

Don't ask.

Anyway, there I am, painting away. Whilst drying, I walk over to the TV to watch the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 race from Martinsville, Virginia. Which is one of those races that makes you remember why stock car racing is so cool, despite the stupid name. Plus--ahhh bliss--this is the first time since the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow--possibly the ugliest race car in the history of the world--that the cars are wearing the more traditional spoilers as opposed to the visually catastrophic rear wings.

So I was having a pretty good day until I received this text from Daughter A:
Car ran over my foot. They are calling an ambulance.
Oy gevalt! A passing over of an entirely different sort, if you will.

Anyway, I'm waiting to hear what e-room they are taking her to. In the meantime, I'm walking the dog and getting ready to be the nurturing father.

Friday, March 26, 2010


In my haste to point out what is wrong with America, speaking specifically regarding auto racing, I said that Lewis Hamilton is the reigning World Champ. This is, of course, wrong by about one year. Jenson Button is the current Champ. Hamilton won the year before.

My apologies.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The current state of Dick Fuld

Here are images of The Indictable Fuld at the end of Days One and Two. I capitalize the terms because I believe what I do on Wall Street is THAT important.

While desperately in need of a third day, I'm pretty pleased. I'll give you highlights soon, but not now.

I kind of like those two little goobers that people colored in. One is the Illuminati/Brotherhood of Masons triangle (like the one on the dollar bill--conspiracy theory is rampant on Wall Street). I asked the woman who inscribed the one above his brow what it was and she looked at me oddly, as if surprised I couldn't tell.

"The Virgin Mary," she told me.

Ironically, I had thought it was some kind of devil's horn. Lord have mercy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The briefest of notes on what's wrong with America

And it is not, just for the record, health care reform. That, I think, is going as nicely as can be expected.

No, dear reader, what's wrong with America is the fact that Nicole Scherzinger gets up a moment ago on Dancing with the Stars and performs a lovely Viennese waltz to much acclaim and nobody says a peep about the fact that her boyfriend, reigning Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton (on an off week between races in Bahrain and Australia), is sitting in the audience. I bet the two people on either side of him didn't even know who he was.

No wonder the Europeans think we are idiots.

I mean, there are other reasons. But this surely would be the most salient.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

As I write this, Spring is in the air

It's about to crest 60 degrees and it's not even 11:30. And I, Geoffrey Raymond, like Spring itself or, more microcosmically, baseball, am back.

With this:

Still a bit too blue, but what are you gonna do? My opening comment ... the first pitch of the season, if you will ... reads down the left margin something like this:
FED: We can't buy this stuff. It's completely worthless!
LEH: Relax. We'll buy it back in a couple of days. We're just manipulating our books.
FED: Is that legal?
LEH: We found an obscure British law firm that says it is.
FED: Oh, okay. How much do you want?
LEH: How much you got?
Which makes me smile.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Me? I'm change-averse

Do you know what bugs me, here on the eve of my first annotation session of 2010? It's the fact that virtually every Goldman Sachs employee formerly housed at 85 Broad Street, and points thereabout, has moved either here or to someplace in Jersey City (I think):

This is the new Goldman Sachs tower, located somewhere near the Merrill Lynch offices on the other side of the West Side Highway. The middle of nowhere, if you will. See inset below for details:

Ordinarily this wouldn't bother me, except that my second favorite place to exhibit paintings used to be behind 85 Broad. Now I'm not sure what I'm gonna do. It doesn't effect my plans for tomorrow--I'm kicking off the season in front of the NYSE--but it does put a bit of a crimp in my Friday plans. Do I drag my ass across town and set up shop there? What will the plaza behind 85 Broad be like, devoid of the best and the brightest? Will Daddy's Pizza go under?
What is it you'll be exhibiting tomorrow?
Well, I'm glad you asked. Because here, as shiny and new as any Toyota sitting untouched on car lots around the country, is "The Indictable Fuld?"

There's lots to like about this painting (although I reserve the right to screw around with it a little bit more), but I'm sorry about the blue tint. Something about the flash, and the camera color-correcting for the center of the image, leaves the supposedly-white canvas with a blue tint the likes of which you would not have believed if you had seen this before I started messing around with it.

I went with the question mark because I miscalculated the spacing of the two "I"s and everything ended up a bit too far to the left. And I needed something to even it out.

And besides, it's a fair question. I mean, is he? Indictable?

Brooklyn, New York--Smalltown, USA

I got to the Peter McManus Cafe and found it to be so crowded that I turned around and left. I must really be getting old--I mean, what was I expecting on a day like today? It wasn't a total loss, though. I ran into my old friend Elena, fully clothed, on the R train headed home.

What are the chances, really? She looked great. Currently playing flute in a psychedelic rock band. I told her to let me know when her next Brooklyn gig was. Lord have mercy.

Anyway, here's where we stood before I left:

Items in play include:

--the relative left/right positioning of the forehead
--the relative left/right positioning of the bridge of the nose
--the relative left/right positioning of the eye
--the relative left/right positioning of the upper lip/flume
--and that goober of white that makes his chin look like my grandmother's. Which makes me smile.

He looks a bit like a generic Latin American dictator. But hey, who doesn't? The image onthe canvas seems leaner, in a good way, than it looks on screen. I wonder what the truth of the matter is.

As we speak, I continue to move his eye further to the left. I'm leaving for dinner now, but I expect to finish, title and sign the thing tonight. Images to come.

And then there's this...

I think the top of the bridge of his nose--where it meets his brow--needs to be pushed to the left about a third of an inch. Which is too bad, because I like the gestural line that defines his nose and it may, sadly, be lost in the translation.

I'm now willing to call the platform painting experiment a conditional failure. It's easier in some ways. Less bending over. Better on the knees (I can't believe that I, a man still, at least in my own mind, in the flower of his youth, am complaining about my knees). I think the distance, as measured from the tip of my nose to the surface of the painting, needs to be greater. Floor length, if you catch my drift. To provide a bit more perspective.

Nonetheless, I'm feeling okay about Big Fuld 3. I do like the whole neck/raised hand/ear/hair thing. Quite a bit of straight-from-the-tube work going on here. And I like the beadiness of the eyes, although they will almost certainly change. The ball of the palm needs some articulation, I think. But overall I think I'm well on schedule--writing this at about 11:30 am--to make it to McManus by quarter of three.

I might even take a shower.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's grand, really ...

... how something as cockeyed as the way "The Indictable Fuld" looks right now will, experience tells me, turn into something else entirely. I use the term "something else entirely" without prejudice. But I do know that this will, in fact, turn into something else. For good or bad.

And that's the grandeur of the thing. "Thing", in this case, meaning the painting (gerund), not the painting (noun).
Shouldn't the comma after "Thing" fall inside the closing quotation mark?
Some would say yes.
Most, one would suggest.
Well I've completely abandoned that approach. If the thing one is quoting is to be quoted accurately, it should be quoted without punctuation other than those marks that are, in fact, part of the thing being quoted.
Nicely said.
Thank you.
Kind of like "Eats, Shoots and Leaves."
Kind of. I see you put the period inside the closing quote mark, so it's not exactly like that.
But close?
And just the briefest of tangents--Where do you stand on Oxford commas?
I love 'em.
Back to the matter at hand, I don't have time to give you a sequence. It doesn't even exist, photographically speaking. This ain't no mud club. No CBGBs. I ain't got time for that now. Moving too quickly. But I know how you people are, so I'm giving you this:

As a gift.

I'm experimenting with painting on a table, of a sort, so I couldn't actually get the camera high enough too get to the edge of the frame. But this gives you the gist of the thing.

I love the idea of getting out on the street with it on Thursday, and I understand that my productivity tomorrow (what with it being St. Patrick's Day and in order to have a front row seat for the bagpipe band at McManus--which happens around 6 or so--I'm gonna have to get there by 2:30 or so) is gonna take a hit. So I've been working hard tonight.

What I haven't done is turn the thing upright and take a long hard look at it.

That comes tomorrow morning, at which point some fundamental structural problems will have to be addressed.

But for tonight, I'm giving you that one image. And the lyrics to Life During Wartime--Fear of Music:
Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to go

Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway,
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance,
I'm getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstore, lived in the ghetto,
I've lived all over this town

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey,
I ain't got time for that now

Transmit the message, to the receiver,
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas,
you don't even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading,
everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime,
I might not ever get home

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
This ain't no mudd club, or CBGB,
I ain't got time for that now

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peant butter,
to last a couple of days
But I ain't got no speakers, ain't got no
heaphones, ain't got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can't write a letter, can't send a postcard,
I can't write nothing at all
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco,
this ain't no fooling around
I'd like to kiss you, I'd love you hold you
I ain't got no time for that now

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
we blended with the crowd
We got computer, we're tapping pohne lines,
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives,
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle, so many times now,
I don't know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender,
we make a pretty good team
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving,
you ought to get some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions,
then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day,
whatever you think is best
Burned all my notebooks, what good are
notebooks? They won't help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace,
the burning keeps me alive
Try to stay healthy, physical fitness,
don't want to catch no disease
Try to be careful, don't take no chances,
you better watch what you say

I've got two words to say to you...

Actually, maybe they're phrases. Alpha-numeric gobblydigook? In any case, they are:
Repo 105
Freedom CLO
The specific meaning of these things is immaterial. What they represent, however, is the most recent unveiling of what one might call dirty deeds in a long line of such items related to Lehman Brothers and its demise.

All of which brings me to this:

I'm gonna reinterpret this image on canvas and call it "The Indictable Fuld."

Most people think of Lehman Bros. as a failed investment bank. Me? I call it the gift that keeps on giving.

The weather report suggests that Thursday and Friday are going to be in the 60s. Which means it's time to break out the magic markers.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the inexorable climb, vlume 3

the inexorabpe climb volume two

the inexorable climb...

Eventually, all the big stars do Sesame Street

Do you watch "The Good Wife"?

Me? I love it. So it was with some pleasure that I found myself watching Letterman--a thing I almost never do--when Julianne Margulies made a guest appearance. One of the things she talked about was appearing on Sesame Street.

All of which bring me to this picture of an Australian children's book author named Mem Fox. She is, apparently, the real deal with the under-six set.

She looks exceedingly pleasant, doesn't she? Not at all like, say, Stanley Tucci in The Beautiful Bones (if that was the name of it). A good egg, I'm thinking, is this Mem Fox.

The plan, as it stands, is that I will be making a guest appearance at Claremont Prep, a private school located in the middle of Larger Wall Street, to help the Kindergarten art class help me paint Mem Fox.

I'll paint it half way before I show up, then each budding artist and I will fling some paint down, thus "completing" the portrait of their favorite author. I will then take it back to the studio for a touch-up or two, then return it to the school. My collaborators will then scrawl their names on the thing, thus making it one of my highly-sought-after annotated works. We will then auction it off at the annual Spring Claremont Prep Association silent auction.

Benefits going to the school, as opposed to me--the record should note.

I am told, however, that my picture will appear in the school paper. So there is some public relations benefits to be accrued, I suppose.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things I'd buy if I had a little more money, Volume 3

Certainly one of them would be Caravaggio's "Annunciation." Which would be this:

When I say "a little more money", I believe that, in this case, a lot more money would be in order. I do have "Hey Joe", my depiction of the annunciation of Joseph as told though the lens of Jimi Hendrix. Truth be told, it pales in comparison.

I wonder if the Quirinale (a museum in Rome) would be willing to trade.

Additionally, and on a wholly different matter, did I tell you I fell off my ladder and suffered grievous injury? Here is the scene of the crime:

I'll spare you the blow by blow, but I went to the hospital...and the grimness of the montage above should speak in its own voice.

I remain alive.

One more sign of spring...

Can you believe it's only one day, twelve hours or so til the first practice for the Grand Prix of Bahrain--the kickoff event of the 60th Formula One season. Me? I'm on pins and needles.

For those of you searching for the finest blog covering F1, I would submit Joe Saward's Grand Prix Blog, from which I culled this nugget.

I cannot wait for several things:

1--Seeing Michael Schumacher back behind the wheel
2--Seeing a Lotus--long absent from these proceedings--on the starting grid again. Two of them, in fact.
3--A lovely win for Ferrari.

The first two are definite. Item 3 is simply positive thinking.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This painting is gonna make me a gazillion bucks

Behold, at the 90% mark, "Study for Marcus Goldman (Led Zeppelin)".

Have you ever heard the expression "God is in the details"? Well, I'm here to tell you, dear reader, that it couldn't be more true.

In this case, I'm referring to the scrawl of the title along the bottom half of the canvas. I truly love it, and the only reason it looks the way it looks is that I was down to my last eighth of a tube of irridescent gold deep (fine)--the actual name of the color I typically use to title my Wall Street paintings--and I had to fold the tube over and over, like that whole toothpaste business (a concept that you, dear reader, perhaps not familiar with the mechanics of how painting works but definitely familiar with trying to get the last bit of toothpaste out of your tube, might understand), so I could make my mark.
Now THAT is a sentence!
Yes it is. Although that parenthetical phrase does have a problem or two.
That's part of its majesty.
Yes it is.
Anyway, I was worried I could even get the damned thing written all the way out. So I was kind of skimpy with the old pigment as I traveled across the opus. And voila.

This painting is gonna make me a gazillion bucks.

And now this...

And now this, from a website called "", which is, I guess, an on-line auction house:
Geoffrey Raymond Reeve b.1936- Portrait of the artist Pauline Boty 1938-1966; bromide print, photograph, signed, inscribed `Pauline` and dated 1960 in pencil, 40x32cm (may be subject to Droit de Suite)
Here's the work under discussion:

Wow, she's pretty hot. I'd paint her.

The price is 150=200 lbs. If that's how one refers to the British currency. Given the venue, how could it not be? It might be fun to bid. If you want to buy it and give it to me as an act of, say, fromage, go to:
Tell me first, though. Because I don't want to be bidding against you.

And really, how much fun is this? Wikipedia offers, regarding Ms. Boty:

She studied stained glass at the Royal College of Art (1958-61) and was a friend and contemporary of RCA fine artists including Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips and Peter Blake with whom she featured in a 1962 episode of BBC TV's Monitor arts documentary Pop Goes The Easel, directed by Ken Russell.[1] She was also an occasional model, stage film and TV actress and regular contributor to topical and iconoclastic BBC Radio series The Public Ear (1963-4).

She married leading literary agent Clive Goodwin in 1963 (d.1977) and had a daughter, Boty Goodwin (b.1966 d.1995). Pauline died in 1966 of cancer.

Her famous 1963 painting of Christine Keeler, Scandal, based on the Profumo affair, is now lost.[2] Her painting The Only Blonde in the World is in public ownership at Tate Liverpool. My Colouring Book, 1963, is part of the Grabowski gift at the Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, Lodz, Poland.

Pauline's painting and collage often demonstrated a joy in self-assured femininity and sexuality, and implied or express criticism of the male-dominated establishment, which, combined with her own gregarious and extravert nature has caused her to be remembered by some as a herald of 1970s feminism.

I don't have the patience to remove the links. Usually I do, but not today.

And whoa! Check this out:

and this:

In order, "The Only Blonde in the World" and "My Colouring Book".

I love the idea that she named her daughter Boty--an act of feminist militance if ever there was one.

God is in the details

It's fair to say that, now that we're back on the horse, we're rolling like a freight train here at the Year of Magical Painting, Season Three. If that's not mixing metaphors. And, given the venue, how could it not be? I mean, isn't that our stock and trade (all this painting business aside)? The generation of prose best described as the demon spawn of P.G. Wodehouse and Marcel Proust?
Pass the malomars.
The what?
Are you referring to the naval observatory?

No. The niblets. The cookies. Malomars--the ones that Proust took?
Madeleines, I believe, is the word you are searching for.
Anyway, this is a photograph of Phillip Johnson, revered modern architect. Disciple, I'm presuming, of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, revered modern architect.

For some reason, I had thought Johnson was the author of the phrase "God is in the details", but it was (obviously, now that I'm thinking about it) Mies. He also coined "Less is more." Which is true at least half the time.

Anyway, he's more interesting, visually, than Mies, so here's his picture. All of which is by way of saying that God is in the details. I mean, if you go with modern Christian theory, He's everywhere. So there's no reason to suppose He isn't in the details.

That said, consider this:

Hats Off to (Roy) Harper

I told you we were rolling.

Now consider this--probably the most notable goober in the history of my work, seen here as a detail of "Blue Paulson":

Now this:

Ahhh, sweet mystery of life. At last I've found you.

The sad part, I suppose, is this goober--seen above in a detail of "Study for Marcus Goldman (Led Zeppelin)"--of which I am fond, is likely to disappear when I start painting the beard. Nonetheless, I wanted you to know it was there. Before it goes away.

The annoying thing about it is that it's a thick bit of paint and I can't proceed until it's dry. Manomanoman, I'm feeling held up a bit here. Thus, I suppose, the post.

Study for Marcus Goldman (Led Zeppelin)

Herewith, for your consideration, the beginnings of "Study for Marcus Goldman (Led Zeppelin)".

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

The thinking, at least on this side of the Atlantic, whatever that means, is that it would be fun to do a monumentally sized version of the same painting. Perhaps 8x10, stretched over four 4x5 foot panels? An opportunity to really get my yah-yahs out.

Which, I suppose, would require painting while listening to the Rolling Stones. Which is an attractive notion.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Beautiful Indian Woman (Led Zeppelin)

I think that's gonna be the actual title. Just for the record.

BIWLZ is a dark painting, and there's a lot of gloss enamel on it--all of which makes it almost impossible to photograph nicely. Especially without a tripod.

So this morning, in the midst of paint flying, I dragged out my tripod and my Nikon and took a decent shot of the thing.

Immigrant Song

It's half done, give or take 50%. But I do like that Thomas Hart Benton/WPA iconic feel. For you obsessives, this is a big file. You can really push into it if you like.

I like it a lot from the nipple down. Except that it looks as if she has fingernails a bit closer to the knuckle than normal people. You know what I mean? I'll fix this, but with some regret. My fear is that, if rendered anatomically correctly, the fingernails will disappear off the left side of the image. And my hope was that I could create an arc of red dots starting in the bottom left corner, fingernail after fingernail, ending in at least some part of the nipple rendered in the same color.

Not unlike the circular pattern of Michelle's fingers as they pull the eye towards the center of the painting.

Anyway, we'll see.

The Winter of my Discontent

What a long, strange trip it's been. As they say.

Nonetheless, I'm feeling the winter of my discontent...

Melt into spring.

Ohhh, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found you...

I'm up in the air about what to call this painting. One thought is "Consultant #1 (Breast in Hand)". Another thought is "Beautiful Indian Woman Holding Breast (Led Zeppelin)".

Are you listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin? Just out of the blue (blues?) like that, likely not. Me? Not so much either (at least not for the last 35 years) until I saw "This Could Get Loud" (title approximate), the documentary about Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page getting together to trade licks. And let me tell you, dear reader, THAT was a movie. Nothing much really happens, dramatically speaking, but it is literally filled with little moments that make you smile or shake your head.

In the afterglow I turned to the iTunes store. Because the White Stripes don't really move me that much and because I already own most of the U2 albums, I was left with Led Zeppelin. I downloaded the first one--helpfully labeled Led Zeppelin 1--and, after spending a couple of days with that, downloaded the next three.

All of which brings me to "Consultant #1 (Breast in Hand)".

As you well know, the nature of the way I paint is episodic. That is to say, you lay down a layer or two of paint and then you have to let it dry. Then you repeat. Then you repeat. Etcetera, to climax.

And, as you probably also know, given the way I just throw the shit down, it doesn't take that long to complete a layer. About (and here comes the punchline) as long as your average Led Zeppelin song.

So here is the progression of images, each one, without exception, executed with Led Zeppelin playing as loud as I thought appropriate for last night:

Dazed and Confused

Since I've Been Loving You

What Is and What Should Never Be


Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

Stairway to Heaven

When the Levee Breaks

We're obviously not done with "Beautiful Indian Woman Hold Breast (Led Zeppelin)", but I wanted you to know I'm alive.