Tuesday, October 25, 2011

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong

This is your brain:

This is your brain on drugs:

This is a wonderful example of my famous Obscured Box Technique titled Dancer #3:

The woman who modeled for D#3 used to be a dancer. Which is a euphemism. Now she's completing her undergraduate in Economics from Columbia and interning at an investment bank. Really--how fabulous is that? For ease of typing, and a certain personalizing factor, we're gonna call D#3 Natasha from here on out.

So I get copied on a note a couple of months ago that goes something like this:
Two friends of mine and I are renting an RV and driving cross-country to see Burning Man. We need a fourth person. Don't you think it would be fun to take a road trip with three beautiful Russian girls? Let me know.
In retrospect, why I didn't go escapes me. Too much stuff to do, I suppose.
Manoman, you are getting old
That had something to do with it, I guess.
Would it help if I whistled the theme song from the Viagra commercials?
I like the ones where the two people always end up sitting in tubs.
Yeah, except why aren't they in the same tub? Given the general gist of the pitch, if you know what I mean?
I don't know. But can we move on?
Sure. Be my guest.
Well, to make a long story short, I found myself at the Capitol Region (if that's what they even call this place) version of Burning Man a couple of nights ago. Hosted by a guy named [redacted for his own protection], it took place in a 40-acre field outside Saratoga that was chock full of trees, barns, tables full of things to drink, exotic sculptures of gargoyles, and a bunch of sagging sofas. Plus a 30-foot high sculpture of a man made out of packing crates, lumber, pine trees and other flammable materials. See pictures one and two above (#1 being the man to be burned and #2 being that man burning). I wish I had a picture of one of the sofas.

And while perhaps not the world-class barn-burner of an event that the real Burning Man is, I didn't have to listen to three girls doing shots and talking in Russian while I drove an RV across Kansas.

This is a portion of the crowd. I didn't check with the police, but my rough count was perhaps 450,000 attendees. I apologize for the picture, but I was listing about 30 degrees to the right by that time.
The Lord moves in mysterious ways, doesn't she?
How so?
Well, you didn't go to Burning Man with the strippers but you ended up getting your ya-yas out just the same.
To quote Richards/Jagger: "You can't always get what you want/But if you try sometimes/You'll find you get what you need."
Nicely said.
And you had a lovely time, didn't you?
Yes I did. The company was great.
Did you tear most of your clothes off, rub blue body paint all over yourself, and dance some kind of pagan ritualistic rhumba with the fire dancers?
No I didn't.
Half a million people thank you for that.
I thought about it though.
The fact that you didn't actually do it, however, is just further proof of a benevolent deity.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ahhh, treachery

Just when you think you've forged a unique identity. Made your place in the world. Crushed, with the advent of your Wikipedia entry, the UCSF professor who also calls himself Geoffrey Raymond...

Just when you've done all that, the BBC weighs in with this. Some Brit by the name of Geoffrey Raymond who paints RAF aerial scenes. I guess.

Honestly. And on my birthday even.

This one is okay, I suppose, but I remain largely unmoved.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

If you think this is a waterfowl, that's your baggage

This, I believe, is done. You'll note, if you're so inclined, the repositioning of the title.

Dan Wheldon, dead at 33

I have a lot to say about Dan Wheldon, but I'm keeping it to myself for now. Nonetheless, attention must be paid.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I think my hair looks pretty good...

This was written by some wag on the Inverted Perry painting:

It reads "I love the art. Do something with your hair."

This is my hair:

I think it looks pretty good.

Back to Rick Perry. As he plummets, much to my delight, to historical footnote-hood, I'm staring at his partly annotated painting and wondering what to do. It's more or less fully annotated, but not to the degree of density I would like.
Which reminds me of Perry himself.
How so?
Well, he has some basic level of intelligence, but not the degree of density I would like.
Guys like him make James Taggart look like his sister.
That's a pretty complicated joke.
Yes it is.
How 'bout this one? He good looking rascal but he lacks the intellectual firepower of, say, Paris Hilton.
Anyway, I don't really feel like dragging it anyplace else. And I'm in love with this whole business of whiting stuff out but you can still see it peeking through. So I'm thinking of whiting out all but my favorite comments and letting the rest be barely legible. So it kind of reverts to this, but with a bit more depth.

Because I do like the painting.

Presented without commentary (No wonder we're walking around with tape attached to our sock)

Dancer #4

Does this help? Or is it a distraction?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Playing With Myself

Saw this guy last night in the Troy Music Hall.

Really amazing.

My favorite part? Well--all of it, really. I mean, it was quite extraordinary. Gave significantly deeper meaning to the phrase "playing with myself." But my favorite, favorite part was when the two-horned speaker behind him started to rotate for the first time. Truth of the matter, it was turned down too much for the room and you couldn't tell any difference (or at least I couldn't), but just watching that thing spin around filled me with the joyous notion that the potential of the universe is either vast or infinite. Either being fine with me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Eating Well in Troy

I know you completists like to consume every detail of my life. So okay, here's what I had for lunch:

And before I get to specifics, let me just say that the suggestion that it's impossible to have a decent meal in Troy is a complete falsehood. For example, today's lunch consisted of a torchon of moulard duck foie gras from Elevages Perigord in Quebec (the only place I go for that stuff), served with some crystallized apple chips, some celery-branch batons, Granny Smith apple marmalade, candied walnuts, frisee and juniper-balsamic vinegar.

Me? I recommend shoveling it onto brioche toast like cheap caviar. The key, however, is to do it in small batches so you can keep the bread warm. If you let the brioche cool down it becomes heavy and stiff. Because this requires a bit of this-ing and that-ing, I decided to make it at home, while the paint was drying, rather than attempting to find it on 2nd Street.

The NIght Peerless Pete Threw Up


Have you ever started to sneeze and then ended up throwing up? Of course you haven't. Neither have I. But the question leads us inexorably to the night Peerless Pete threw up at the Peter McManus Cafe.

Lots of people at the PMC have nicknames. Bobby the Gravedigger; Bobby the Mailman; Grumpy Dave; 20th Street Dave; Dave with the attractive girlfriend; Dave with the hat (who is the same as Grumpy Dave); etc. And that's just the Bobs and Daves.

Me? I don't really have one. Geoff the painter, maybe. But since the reason for the nicknames is to differentiate people who share the same first name (because nobody knows anybody's last name), and nobody else in my particular circle of friends is named Geoff, I don't really need one. Although I do sometimes hear behind me, as I make my way to the bathroom, things like That Fucking Pantload or What An Ass. But these, technically, are descriptive phrases, not nicknames.

All of which leads us inexorably to the night Peerless Pete threw up. Peerless Pete, just so you know, is a fictitious name (no doubt subconsciously inspired by the work of Damon Runyon). Throwing up in a bar is embarrassing, and I don't want to further embarrass the guy who actually did it (who's a good guy and shit happens), so there you are.

The event unfolded more or less like this: Joined on several levels by The American Worker, I was collecting annotations at the Peter McManus Cafe on a warm Thursday night a couple of weeks ago, having arrived there from Zuccotti Park around 4:30 that afternoon. The first three hours and twenty-five minutes were uneventful. However, at 7:55 or so, John from Troy called me up and invited me to a party across town. At 7:56 I told him I didn't think I had the strength to make it all the way across town (which is code for being over-served, which is, in turn, code for being drunk). It was, let's say, eight on the nose when Peerless Pete, who was standing at the corner of the the bar known as Howie's Corner began to sneeze. Everything in slow motion now, so I guess it was 8:02 when he realized, mid-sneeze he didn't really have to sneeze but rather throw up (or, more likely, do some version of both). By 8:05 he had managed to turn his head violently away from the bar and towards the floor. By 8:10 somebody had shown up with a mop and cleaned the stuff up. In my head I could hear the jukebox playing the super-emo version of White Rabbit by Emiliana Torrini that showed up on the Sucker Punch soundtrack, although that could just have been in my head. And then it was over.

Actually it all took place in the blink of an eye. Me? I was fortunate to be three stools away. One stool closer was my buddy Lance. One stool closer still was my buddy Adam. Neither have nicknames.

Much like hand-grenades, collateral damage from episodes like this decreases as a function of distance. So I was unscathed. On the other side of the coin, Adam had a significant amount of wet substance sprayed across the back of his shirt. Lance appeared to be okay, but I quickly realized he was experiencing some version of post-traumatic depression.

Regarding the bar itself, there was considerable skepticism as to the integrity of our beverages. That is to say a kind of "Excuse me, but what's that floating in my drink?" sort of a concern. Johnny the Fireman wiped everything down and gave us new ones. Adam, as resourceful a soul as I know, said something like "I'm going to the men's room to change my shirt." Who, I then wondered, brings a change of shirts to a bar?

Anyway, we all calmed down after a while. Pete--embarrassed a bit, I believe--beat a hasty retreat. When I saw the anxiety on Lance's face, I took him to another bar where the drinks were significantly more expensive but there were a lot of really attractive girls. Which seemed to soothe him considerably.

Thank God I didn't leave the painting at the bar.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dismembering Volker

So I'm stretching and priming a canvas. It's gonna be a black and white and I'm thinking about titling it Dismembering Volker.

But then there's Volker, Dismembered.

Or Volker, Dismembered Fondly

Which opens the door to a companion piece titled Volker, Remembered Fondly.

I'm calling this post "Front Row Seat for the Revolution" despite what Scully says

This, I think, is moving forward nicely. Might, in fact, be done. Comments in red were inscribed at Zuccotti Park--the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street. Black annotations were the general public in front of the NYSE the next day, and revelers at my favorite watering hole that night.

There are a number of interesting things said on this painting, not the least one being:
Apologies from a Baby Boomer for our miserable custodianship of advantages entrusted to us.
Pretty strong.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Anonymous vlogger...

I don't even know what this is, but it happened on Friday:

My preference would be to have not been grinning like the late-career David Bowie at the end. Other than that ... good clean fun.

Twelve Bucks Well Spent

This from my personal correspondence file:

Watched the George Harrison/Martin Scorsese documentary on HBO. Which is free, if you subscribe. Part one was really surprisingly underwhelming. Part two, however, was pretty much fun. After I finished sobbing I went on my Kindle and bought Pattie Boyd's autobiography. Which cost twelve bucks (although not the twelve bucks I refer to above) and might not be the best use of my money, but it was a spasm.

The twelve bucks I'm referring to were spent when I then went downstairs to the studio and bought the remastered version of All Things Must Pass (which I know I own on vinyl, but who could possibly find it).

George was always my favorite. It couldn't be more wonderful.

A friend of mine, in a related discussion, said Ms. Boyd must have really been something to have inspired two of the greatest love songs ever. I suggested it must have been something in the way she moved.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Morgan Stanley at the brink...

Me? I think they've done the responsible thing and their net position, vis-a-vis French banks specifically and the larger picture in general, is stronger than people think.


It looks like a piece of toast to me.
That's what they'll be if I'm wrong.
It also looks like a puppy.
I think it looks like one of those condom vending machines you find in men's rooms.
Yes. Certainly that.
Or a bunny.

Like White on Rice

Funny thing, rice. There was a period of time when I lived in fear of disturbing a cooking pot of rice in any way at all. Taking the top off, for example, just to see how things were going--being a cautious man--was completely verboten. You take the top off, the thinking went, and everything went to hell in a hand-basket.
Hemingway would hate that sentence.
Which one?

The next to last.

I'm done with Hemingway for the moment. So I don't care.
Now I'm much looser with my rice ... just as I am with my painting. In fact, I was staring at some cooking rice last night, top in my hand, stirring it a bit, and everything turned out fine. My friend Chuck uses a two-stage method for cooking his rice. He starts it on the stove-top, waits til it comes to a boil, then puts it in the oven at 325 degrees for 18 minutes. I may have the numbers wrong (18 minutes seems a short time), but that's the gist of the thing.

Me? I'm wondering why he doesn't just leave it on the top of the stove like everybody else.

All of which leads us inexorably to this:

The painting is whiter than it appears here--pure white, in fact--but if I blow it out any more I worry about losing the contrast.

You may notice the change in title. I wanted a more direct parallel to this:

I couldn't be more pleased. Were I the Beatles, this would be my White Album.

The urge to write "The BEATLES" as my first annotation is palpable.

Actually, there is a very real chance that I'll spend part of today transcribing the cogent annotations from the now extinct American Investor 2. If I had a 220z Brown's Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter it would be a hell of a lot more fun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

American Worker

Surely you remember this:

And then, yesterday, was the idea that I might have missed an opportunity amidst that whole Erased de Kooning discussion...

And now, opportunity grasped, we are ready to occupy Wall Street. Unless somebody has beaten us to it.

It's impossible, working with this photograph, to fully appreciate what's going on here. And the SanDisk in my Nikon blew up, so I shot this with my point-and-shoot. Which does okay, for what it is, but still. And because it's cloudy, I couldn't get the sharpest image regardless. Suffice it to say that in the flesh the painting's pretty rocking.

And it goes without saying that once the background (which is a little bit more difficult to differentiate from the subject, given the givens, than my usual stuff) is filled up with angry rants, the whole thing will come together like Black and White Krugman.

So I'm fired up.

The general thinking is to do a little bit of touching up, then go to NYC tomorrow night, go to the demonstration on Wednesday, NYSE on Thursday, then see what Friday holds. It should be fun.

Thank you, Robert Rauschenberg.


After a bit of generally being clogged up, the productivity level in the studio is so high that I'm literally walking around with blue painter's tape stuck to my foot.

Which is perfectly fine til you try to put your shoe back on.

Note to young painters

I'm listening to the Barry White channel on Pandora and it's just about right for painting and generally screwing around in the studio. For the record, I don't own a single Barry White song. But it's pretty mellow, and every once in a while you have to giggle a bit.

Monday, October 03, 2011

I may have missed an opportunity...

Remember this from yesterday:

It's intriguing seeing the image floating through that coat of gesso. Kind of like this:

And kind of like this:

Now, while holding all these images in your mind, let's return to the middle one. For those of you not completely in the loop, it's a work by Robert Rauschenberg titled "Erased de Kooning Drawing."

First of all, make a note of the Jack Daniels part.
Quick personal aside: I bought a 22oz bottle of Brown's Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter from the Brown's person at the farmer's market on Saturday and drank it during the Giants game. Brown's is a Troy-based brewery. Unbelievable. I never expected that much of the whiskey. Just won the best beer in New York competition, or something like that.
Then the part about "It'll have to be something that I'll miss" is wonderful.

Then a couple of seconds later, the part about "I'm gonna make it so hard for you to erase it"--also really cool.

So it occurs to me that I might have liked the painting more if I'd retitled it "Erased Raymond" and gone over the image--but not the annotations--with white paint (which is more translucent than gesso), and ended up with something floating somewhere between Black and White Krugman and Erased de Kooning Drawing.

Completely different idea than Rauschenberg's, but still...

Wikipedia weighs in

Am delighted/flattered/touched/moved/humbled/vindicated/amused to see a Geoffrey Raymond Wikipedia page. When I first saw it I was in my studio. Now my head has expanded so dramatically that I can't get out. I'm literally full of myself.
And you think this comes as news to regular readers?
No. Paraphrasing Jefferson, we hold this truth to be self-evident. But sometimes moments of profound self-realization are worth sharing.
For you completists, I'm listening to Janelle Monae singing Come Alive. That girl is like nobody's business.

Sports Monday

Analyzing sports results is such a subjective thing that I've decided to attach monetary values (not to be confused with betting) to significant outcomes. Thus:

Giants beat Cards--$185
49ers beat Eagles--$110
Detroit beats Yankees--$125
St. Louis beats Phillies--$95
The Jets game ends too late to be included in my edition of the New York Times, thus not ruining my breakfast--Priceless!

All of which leads us inexorably to this classic Raymond:

Sunday, October 02, 2011


You know that drivel I was spouting recently?
Big category, my friend.
What is?
The drivel you've recently been spouting. Can you narrow it down?

About loving your paintings like they were your children?

I remember that, yes.
Something about a Subaru commercial as well.
Forget that part. Let's stick to the paintings-as-kids notion.


It's drivel.

Duly noted.
You perhaps remember this:

I hate that damned painting. Hate it. So now it looks like this:

Huge improvement. The relief is palpable.

That said, actual people were nice enough to write stuff on the painting formerly known as American Investor 2. When it ends up as Inverted Bernanke, I'll give some serious consideration to transcribing the more cogent ones.

Also, if I ever do paint another American Investor, I'm going with this as a resource photo:

And I might call it European Investor. Even though it's the most American of images.

I AM Charles Kuralt!

Do you know how they always close CBS's Sunday Morning with that really mellow 30 or 45 seconds of bison grazing by a river in Montana, or some such thing. With the birds chirping?

This, on a Sunday as cold and wet as a kiss from a dog, is my version of that:

Editor's Note: If you double click it, it will enlarge to full screen and you won't have to watch it through the archives. Which is annoying.
Now, let the football begin.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Old Bobby Lee

So I'm reading Killer Angels and feeling a lot of anger towards Robert E. Lee. Who, as everybody knows, I once painted in a manner so perfect as to inspire tears:

I tell you what. When I sold it, I sobbed.
Like Longstreet sitting on that fence, watching half his army march to their doom?
Wow! That's a painting. But what's that stuff on his forehead? I don't remember that.
Perhaps it's a physical manifestation of the guilt he felt for sending Pickett up that hill against Longstreet's strong resistance.
You mean like hives or something?
Anyway, I'm at the point in the book when Longstreet and Lee are debating what would later be known at Pickett's Charge. And I keep hoping that Lee will see reason, but I can promise you (based on years of experience comparing what you wish had happened with what actually did happen) that he will not. And those Rebel boys, la belle fleur du Virginia, are gonna get their asses blown to bits on that wide grassy meadow.
That's why I never read history. Too frustrating.
I know, right?
They should have court-martialed Stuart.
Yeah. I'm angry at him too.
And, ironically, they're playing Crimson and Clover on Pandora. By Tommy James and the Shondells, if you can believe that. Which could have been the theme song for Pickett's Charge.
It's upsetting to think about.
Yes it is. I'm making a list of paintings I wish I still had.

That's a mistake, my friend.
The Fallen Prince.
No good will come of this.
Old Bobby Lee.
I love the button right at the bottom.
It's a beautiful button, isn't it.
It's a general's button.
Elena in the Morning.
Stop it right now!
The Annotated Fed.
I loved the look in his eyes.
That was wonderful, wasn't it?
It was.
That goddam Fuld painting.
That would be money in the bank, wouldn't it?
Yes it would.
Just for the record, these are George Pickett's eyes:

In some corners of these United States, Lee is still called Bobby the Butcher.