Saturday, April 30, 2011

Annotating Barack and Michelle at Daisy Bakers, Volume 2

The briefest note regarding the previous post of a similar title. When I posted, I was doing so from my iPhone and had had, perhaps, too much to drink. Not that this is, in and of itself, a problem. I wasn't operating heavy machinery or driving home. But I know you look upon me as a bastion of grammatical, punctuational and typographical rectitude, and I feel like I let you down a bit last night.

That said, I thought it would be inappropriate to go back and fix everything. We are living a real life here, my friends. Warts and all.

O Black, Black Day

Can you believe that Erin Burnett is leaving CNBC? Day traders everywhere are seeing red doors but wanting to paint them black.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Annotating Barack and michele at daisy bakers

I'm sitting at my local watering hole with a twin set of B and M Obama handing people pens. This is my first Troy annOtation experience. Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

A man behind me leaned in and ordered a gin On the rocks. The smell of the thing as it wafted bye...Lord have mercy

The Annotated Nails

What's the point of doing what I do if you can't have fun every once in a while? I mean to say, the mantle I wear as the world's greatest living portraitist (Tier 2) weighs heavy on the shoulders sometimes. But who's to say a man can't just shuck the thing off; shirk this mortal coil, sorta; take a long sip of a 14.3 oz can of Guinness (with that little thing inside); and have a bit of a giggle? Rediscover, Pan-like, the forgotten boy within? Leave the serious shit til next week?

All of which brings me to this man:

Leonard "Nails" Dykstra. Former Met and steroid-swollen Phillie. Bogus stock picker for Jim Cramer's website. Noted Twizzler addict. Now accused--but not convicted, from what I've been reading (to paraphrase that ass Donald Trump)--felon.

Manomanoman, Lenny. What happened?
Brief personal aside: The urge to paint that ass, Donald Trump is palpable. Visceral.
Anyway, all this by way of announcing my upcoming portrait of Nails. I'm doing it as an exclusive to, with the notion that only annotations submitted through that site will be inscribed on the painting.

Which sounds like good, clean fun.

Some thought was given to using this as the resource photo ...

... but it seemed mean-spirited. Plus, screw the Phillies. They're not getting any free publicity from me.

I will say this: Lenny was an important Met during one of those celestial moments in baseball history. So, even though he flew too close to the sun and his feathers came off (or whatever), attention--to quote the Bard--must be paid.
You think that's Shakespeare?
No--that was a gag. I'm going with Andrew Wyeth.
You mean Arthur Miller?
Hmmm. One of those two, certainly.
Nicely said. Hedge your bets.
A couple of options for the title:
1--The Annotated Dykstra
2--The Annotated Nails
3--The Twizzled Dykstra
4--Dykstra, Nailed
Feel free to weigh in. I'm partial to #4. As regards the Trump painting, I'm definitely calling it "That Ass, Donald Trump". Not up for discussion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!

Herewith my review of Atlas Shrugged:

Picture yourself on a train in a station. This is just a warm-up exercise. Hum "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" if it helps.

Okay, now picture the cast of Gossip Girl performing King Lear. No--that's too flattering a mental image. I kind of like some of the kids on Gossip Girl. Picture instead the cast of One Tree Hill doing King Lear.

Ahhh, that's the ticket.

Actually, the guy who plays the evil father on One Tree Hill plays John Galt in the new Atlas Shrugged movie. And he directs too! Smart move. Imagine my alarm at finding the answer to the question "Who is John Galt?" to be somebody by the name of Paul Johansson.

Me? I'd have gone with Scarlett instead of Paul and shot for something more like As You Like It.

Anyway, putting Rand and my generally positive thoughts about the novel aside for the moment, I can honestly say the movie, from a purely technical point of view (acting, directing, writing, shooting, just to name a few), was the worst thing I have ever seen in a movie theater. Kind of a shame, really. Some of the train footage was cool.

A friend of mine gave it a four (on a scale of 10). I'm giving it half a point. That is to say, .5 on a scale of 10. And that's only because I want to keep my grading options open in case I ever see a worse movie. Which I'm sure I will not, but just the same.

So I was sitting there watching the thing at the big multiplex on the south side of 42nd Street, and manomanoman, dear reader, let me tell you the urge to walk out was palpable. Visceral. I didn't, because that's a quitter's mentality. But I did observe a continuous trickle of people, ones and twos, leaving the theater. O lucky souls.

Ebert's biggest complaint when he reviewed it was that they didn't even have the courtesy to throw in some gratuitous nudity. The actress who plays Dagny Taggart was sort of pretty (although she displayed the acting range of one of those Japanese blow-up sex dolls you can buy online), and, to paraphrase the Bard, a little bit of sugar always makes the medicine go down.
You think that's Shakespeare?
Who else would it be?
I don't know. Rogers and Hammerstein?
J.R.R. Tolkein?
Well, it was somebody.
Anyway, the movie sucked completely. And then there was a big surprise.

Imagine this, old friends. With Dagny Taggart standing on the hill above the burning oil field, howling at the sky like Lear howling into the teeth of the storm, with the music coming up and the credits starting to roll, at least half the audience burst into applause. Applause. Some stood while doing so.

I looked around, thinking perhaps Sarah Palin had appeared from behind a curtain and was going to offer some extemporaneous thoughts on Objectivism and the liberal media.

All by way of saying that, as of this writing, my favorite annotation on my Ayn Rand painting reads:
Rand means well enough ... but she lacks the intellectual firepower of Sarah Palin.
These are difficult times, friends. So it's good to be able to smile once in a while.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Papal Bull ... or, Giving Gussy the Cheese

Behold the finished El Toro d'Oro:

I think it turned out well.

This being Easter, I'm inclined to call it a Papal Bull. But of course it's not.

Note the checkerboard line that horizontally bisects the painting. This does two things: it indicates the high price of gold during the period in which the painting was executed, and it serves as a nod to Gustav Klimt and all those fin de siecle Viennese boys who loved to insert the odd, geometric doo-hickie (if that's even how you spell it) in the middle of an otherwise straight painting.

For reference, see the checkerboard element in the lower left corner of this majestic thing ...

It might also be the horizon. In any case, it's either homage or fromage to my boy Gussy. Whichever isn't the cheese.

Friday, April 22, 2011

This from me...

Black annotations were made by movie-goers attending Atlas Shrugged (the Thursday night premiere at the Hudson Theater and the Friday night, sold-out 7:00 show at that movie theater just south of Union Square, across from that restaurant that only serves things made with chocolate). Blue annotations made by passers-by outside the NYSE and later that same day inside the Peter McManus Cafe in Chelsea.

To date, approximately 100 black and 75 white annotations. Since we identify 200 as the critical mass point for annotations, once we throw this baby up on Dealbreaker, ZeroHedge and perhaps some pro-Rand websites, we should be golden.

Life is good. The movie, on the other hand, was bad.

This from Colbert...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Yesterday, it should be noted, was Allen Raymond Day. Today, just so we are clear, is Wednesday. Tomorrow I return home after a week on the road, and am looking forward to it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And a quick note about my golden bull painting...

Went to the Picasso show at the 21st Street Gagosian yesterday and was, as expected, gobsmacked. None of which has much to do with the bull, but there was a Minotaur painting that did get my juices flowing. The show was all about Marie-Therese Walter, who has a face like the prow of a nuclear submarine. Useful tip: whenever you see a Picasso featuring a woman with a huge nose, it's likely Marie-Therese.

I'd toss some pictures in, but I'm blogging via iPad and don't really have a handle on the thing.

Going to the movies

Having stood outside two theaters on two consecutive days with The Annotated Rand--a prince of a painting--it's too cold, windy and rainy for a third. That said, the public's willingness to share their thoughts, via Sharpies on canvas, has been tremendous. Approximately 100 annotations to date, including:

This would have made her day
The metaphysical iceberg
Taggart Transcontinental=strong buy!
Your acolytes are ruining America. REPENT!
I am God
I am Spartacus
No, I am Spartacus
Dagny for president
This woman was on Medicare and social security--Objectivism seems like a great idea til you hit 65
Individualism+activism=a better world
I hate her
And, of course, Who is John Galt? Several times, often spelt as Gault.

Outstanding start. I'll be on Wall Street Monday for more annotations. In the meantime, despite a shit storm of nasty reviews, I'm going to see the thing.

Oh, and this is worth noting for the record: I think the woman is a kook.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I stayed in Mississippi a day too long...

To quote bob dylan, things should start to get interesting right about now

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

El Toro d'Oro

Herewith, zee bool:

Shot from my iPhone. Which shows that the phones, despite what their manufacturers would have you think, aren't that smart. Nonetheless, some thoughts:

First of all, there's barely any green on the painting--it's all gold and black. Second, I kind of like the blacked out face with the Picasso-like doodle of the features. This is hugely a work in progress, so don't freak out. Third, I'd love to put some of those sticks that the toreadors put in the shoulders of the bools. Speaking of toreadors, I also kind of like the way the horns sit there like a hat.

Picasso, as he should be, is everywhere.

Quis Spartacus?

The thing that separates me from, say, Michelangelo (other than a general talent level), is the fact that he, to the best of my knowledge, never rolled his painting up, jumped on a train to New York armed with black sharpies, unfurled the thing the next day and invited public commentary.

Which is exactly what I'm doing with The Annotated Rand, albeit with an unusual twist.
That being?
What hasn't really been touched on yet is this weekend's release of Atlas Shrugged, the movie. I wonder if it's in 3-D. Anyway, looking backwards about two years, I was amazed and delighted at all the Ayn Rand references on The Fallen Prince. The gears have ground slowly since, but I think it'll be good clean fun to collect annotations from all the Objectivists standing in line to see the movie, and then head to Wall Street and get the other side of the coin.

Or, more likely, the same side of the coin. All those Wall Street people are closet-Objectivists.

Anyway, since I traditionally get the first annotation, I'm going with "Who Is Spartacus?" The first lines of Atlas Shrugged being, of course, "Who is John Galt?", I'm sure you can piece the whole thing together and you don't have to have me spell out the whole "I am Spartacus" business.

Did I tell you I'm reading Atlas Shrugged? Really, it's stunning. Hard to go more than a couple of pages without your mouth dropping open.

Giving Sidney the cheese

My first legitimate stereo, which I bought the summer before (or perhaps after) my first year of college, featured a Harman Kardon receiver and those big wood-cased speakers. Man, that was some good listening. And now Sidney Harman--the brains of that particular operation--is dead.

Before he left, however, he bought, and breathed new life into Newsweek. Being a genetically-determined print guy, I appreciate that.

A nice obit can be found, fittingly enough, at the Daily Beast (which recently merged with Newsweek). Go here.

Me? I think I'm going to subscribe to Newsweek. My small homage to Sidney Harman (or fromage--whichever isn't the cheese).

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Finished Rand

Now this, my friends, is a painting.

Lots of too-ing and fro-ing--with particular emphasis on, of all things, the hand and the shoulder. But isn't that the nature of the beast? There was a lot of thought expended on the idea of leaving it like this:

In the earlier version, her shoulder was so heavy. So dense.

The dense of the macabre!
Yes, sort of. I think she is a bit macabre.

We do too.
I finally whited it out. And liked it just like that for as long as it took to eat an artichoke. But wiser heads prevailed.

For the life of me I don't understand why it's so goddam hard to capture these goddam things on film (not actually film) in a compelling manner. This is as good as it gets, I suppose, but I still don't see the richness and deep colorature of the lower part of her face. In the picture, it looks like a five o'clock shadow. If you look at it in real life, it's the infinitude of the very cosmos themselves. One takes pause, for fear of tumbling into the thing and being lost forever.

In the picture, not so much.

And the mouth! It's a masterpiece of reds and purples.

In the picture? Less so.

The the ambiguity of the hand is my favorite part. Is it a hand? Or is it some kind of girly bow? The question makes me smile, just typing it.

My advice is to open the file up on your browser. Keep clicking that zoom button. Push in. Let it wash over you. Mmmmm, very nice. But don't get lost.

And the stuff people are going to say on this thing? It's gonna be a spectacle of the first order.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rand Progression

For you completists, here's the entire progression of Rand images, from start to virtually done.
Why are you underlining?
I'm not. The machine is insisting on it.
We should call someone
Yes we should.
John Galt?
If he's available, sure. Why not?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Sic Incipit Spectabilus

Between going to the Latin Mass at St. Joseph's and watching The Borgias on Showtime, it's all I can do to not write the whole post in Latin. Or some version of Latin that I'm making up for the occasion (see title).

For you completists, I came one point short on my 10th grade final exam of winning the Latin medal. And I am still angry. Anyway, to translate: Let the Spectacle begin.

All by way of announcing, in a round about manner, that I'm launching into my portrait of Ayn Rand. For purposes of the painting, she, of course, looks like this:

The painting looks like this (or did earlier today):

Now, as the briefest of asides, lets consider this:

Every time I gesso a canvas (it isn't really gesso; it's Bennie Moore primer) I start around the edges and and then work my way towards the middle. If you don't do it that way, the canvas tightens unevenly and the painting warps slightly. Sometimes they do anyway, but less so.

Anyway, for you people who like to dive deep into my brain, the whole idea behind the hole-in-the-universe style of The Myth of the Rational Market evolved from the fact that every once in a while I'd look at a partially primed canvas, with the "hole" in the middle, and think--"Hmmm, that's kind of a compelling image."

So one day I just painted one.
That's just the kind of stuff the art historians love.
Isn't it? And here I am, giving it away for free.
You're a prince.
Of a sort, yes.
A lion on the plains of the Serengeti, surrounded by jackals.
Perhaps, but that could be too much.
A jackal on the plains of the Serengeti, surrounded by buzzards?
That might not be enough.
Somewhere in the middle?
Yes, I think so.
A simple man?
A simple man wielding a mighty hammer.
Like Thor?
Like Thor.
The hammer's a metaphor, right?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ahhh ... Spring

Spring comes to the Northlands. The polar bear cubs gamboling about, etc.

To celebrate? How about a beautiful version of "Big Maria", the classic early Geoffrey Raymond painting of Maria Bartiromo rendered as the Virgin Mary. You may have seen it on Page Six, back when it was new.

Unlike my annotated prints, this one is smaller (17"x 23", approx) but printed on acid-free, 100% rag watercolor paper. Wonderfully archival--it'll still be around in vivid color long after the American economy blows up.

$250 per print, plus $25 domestic handling. Go to for more details. Or just email me at

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

"The Conflicted Buffett" ... or "The Fallen Prince II"

It's time to paint Buffett.

This picture will do fine.

Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote a fun column in the Times today listing questions he'd like to ask the Oracle of Omaha regarding the recent Lubrizol/David Sokol uproar. This was my favorite:
You have said that Mr. Sokol did not do anything “unlawful.” But Mr. Sokol bought shares of Lubrizol a day after he told Citigroup to indicate Berkshire’s interest in buying the company.

Why don’t you consider that “material” information, a crucial component of insider trading? Do you not believe that a Lubrizol shareholder would have considered such information important to their investment decision? Clearly Lubrizol felt that Mr. Sokol’s inquiry was material enough to hold a board meeting on Jan. 6, one day before Mr. Sokol bought almost $10 million of shares.

If Mr. Sokol was aware of Lubrizol’s board meeting, would you consider that material information? And if a news outlet had reported Mr. Sokol’s inquiry or Lubrizol’s decision to meet, do you not think that the price of Lubrizol’s shares would have risen?

Here is another way to think about it: If a Citigroup banker had bought shares of Lubrizol at the same time as Mr. Sokol, would you have considered that insider trading? Isn’t that the definition of insider trading? What did Mr. Sokol do that was different?

That's a long question. And technically is a group of questions. What's the term for that particular collective singular? A gaggle of questions? An exaltation? A grand jury?

To make life easier, you (meaning me) could just write the Sorkin quote on the painting and call it a day. Save yourself the hassle of standing outside in the pouring rain handing people magic markers and begging them to write on your painting like some kind of reverse homeless person.

Additionally, it would be fun to drag the thing to the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Imagine that!

The Fallen Prince II? That's a bit harsh. I think it's a bit early to be beating Warren down too hard, but with this on top of the whole Goldman thing, he's starting to smell like week-old scallops.

Speaking of Greenspan, this is an amusing tidbit from a blog called Crooked Timber. It's like the guy's doing all my work for me. I should paint Greenspan again.

This, for the record, is a classic, early Greenspan. You can still see me pulling my shit together on a number of levels. Worth noting is that if you look extremely closely at one of the lines of his jowls that starts a couple of inches below the image-right corner of his mouth you can read the words "I slept with Hillary."

For which I apologize.

The Sorkin article can be seen here.
What are you? The Huffington Post?
It would appear so.

When I die...

I have no plans for doing so anytime soon, but it's never a bad idea to plan ahead. Plus, there are certain people in my life, notably collectors of my work and my two daughters (God blessum both), who I sometimes catch staring at me out of the corners of their eyes with a wistful expression. I can only assume they are computing the posthumous bump in the value of their Geoffrey Raymond portfolios.

So now it comes to my attention that the owners of the Daytona International Speedway have, with the help of a state representative or two, introduced a bill in the Florida legislature that will allow people to be buried (ashes only--no full bodies) on the site of those hallowed grounds. Odd is certainly one word to describe this.

That said, I think I'd like my stuff, or at least portions of it (I can tell you from experience that they're happy to give the loved ones a bit of the toasted remains so long as most of it remains in the urn), sprinkled on the Bristol Motor Speedway rather than at Daytona. I have no time for restrictor plate racing (if this isn't getting too technical), plus Florida's hot in the summer.

I say this, of course, with the assumption that nobody is gonna have the inclination or resources to fly to Belgium and plant me near the Eau Rouge corner at Spa.

What a spot that is. If anybody in a position of authority is reading this, I'm thinking right in that little bit of grass in the middle of the picture.

Did you know that the Bristol Motor Speedway seats 160,000 people? Which makes it the 8th largest sporting venue in the world? The World!

They affectionately refer to Bristol as "The Colosseum." If you look closely at this picture you can see that all hell is about to break loose--which, of course, is why people went to the Colosseum back in the day.

Did you also know that the Iceman, the melancholy Prince, Formula 1's very own Hamlet, the Flying Finn himself, former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, now finished with his dalliance in rally cars, has signed on for a limited slate of NASCAR races? In the pick-up truck division?

Lord have mercy--pick up trucks! Shoot me now so I can be resting comfortably at Bristol when Kimi shows up in his F150.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Now the Really Scary People Weigh In...

Okay--I'm up to my ass in Ayn Rand (pronounced Ane, by the way, not Ann) and poking about, looking for stuff. Up pops Mike Wallace and a 1959 interview:

My favorite part comes at about the 3:30 mark of the second section where she states her belief that there should be a separation of the state and economics, just as there has been a separation of state and church.

Somebody should notify Alan Greenspan (he probably already knows) and Rand Paul.

Oh My God--Is Rand Paul named after Ayn Rand?

Apparently not, according to this:

To which I would ask: Are you people insane?

Post #1403--The One About the Two Women and the Cow

Do you realize this is the one thousand four hundred and third post in the Year of Magical Painting? And that we are almost exactly 3 months away from the five year mark? That's a lot of fucking posting. And you think this stuff is easy?

Coming up in April: Finish my portrait of my friend Rosie; start and finish a painting of Ayn Rand; and finish my golden cow painting.

That said, the urge to bing out a quick one of Warren Buffett, title it The Fallen Prince II and parachute into Wall Street next week is a powerful one.

A man walks into a bar...

A man walks into a bar. He sits down and there he is: a man in a bar. The same man walks into a bar with a beautiful woman and suddenly he's a very different person. All of which brings me to the matter of framing The Portrait of the Portrait of Gertrude Stein. Which now looks like this:

Which is a very different look than this:

I apologize for the flash and the slightly rounded contour of the edges of the framed piece, but there you are. The colors, it should be noted, are more realistically rendered on the top one. The bottom one seems too orange to me.

Anyway, the point is that a frame makes quite a bit of difference. It's currently hanging over my bed and looks great.

And did I tell you I sold The Fallen Prince? And The Myth of the Rational Market?

MythRat, as I type, is sitting on an easel in the corner of my living room. It's where I like to put recently finished pieces so I can stare at them and admire, sometimes accompanied by a finger or two of unblended Scotch, the alleged greatness of my art. Putting them on an easel is way easier than hanging them, so that's where it is.

And what, I can't help thinking, happens if the cleaning woman knocks it down or pokes the mop handle through it?

Steve Wynn once put his elbow through this one:

He had to withdraw it from a done sale. How much would that suck? This photo, by the way, was taken of the repaired canvas, so it looks okay. I wonder how it bears up to close inspection.

Me? I think some wear and tear on a painting is good for it. Adds to the charm. Every one of my publicly annotated paintings, for example, has stood, one or more times, on a bare New York sidewalk. The same place where people have spit, or peed, or dropped hot dogs, or crushed out cigarettes.

As regards La Reve, and my penchant for reinterpreting Picassos, I always thought it would be fun to repaint the thing to look like Steve Jobs. Who looks a bit like a penis anyway, so half the work is done for you.

I don't frame the big ones, by the way. But "Portrait..." is only two feet by two and a half. So it works nicely.

Friday, April 01, 2011


This has been a complicated week. Traveling. Remain calm.