Monday, December 31, 2012

My Woody's Outside, Covered With Snow

I have to go take a shower; I'm covered with paint.

That said, and as the final post of 2012 and the 1888th post of The Year of Magical Painting, which this year welcomed its quarter millionth or hundred thousandth visitor -- depending on who you believe -- I offer this image stolen from the pages of the New York Times ...

It's by a guy named Tom Sachs, and, as you can see, it speaks directly to the sort of nonsense I spew off the end of my paintstick all the time.  Sometimes you look at an image and say, "Lord have mercy, I have got to paint that."

This happened to me at the Wine Bar Slash Confectionary last night.  I was sitting by myself, quietly reading The Times on my iPad and I saw this and was so struck I laughed out loud.  I ejaculated laughter, if you're comfortable with that usage.  People turned and looked.

Then I spent a period of time sipping my port and staring off into the distance, thinking about painting Neil Armstrong's spacesuit.  Just another day at the office.

There's something about the proportions of the thing.  Were it me, and it very well could be, I'd paint it large, perhaps 5x6, possibly using the obscured box technique, and dispense with the annotation.  Instead I'd scrawl the words: "I shot the Sheriff ... but I did not shoot the Deputy."  Then perhaps a number of those four-strokes-down-and-one-across-as-a-method-of-indicating-sets-of-five clusters.

Not too dissimilar to this in that regard ...

Because Basquiat never leaves us ...

And that man knew from chickens.  What a painting.  I can't be that messy.  If I could, I'd be unstoppable.  It's a failing, friends.  A failing.

This blog's pretty fucking messy.
Yes, I suppose it is.
That must count for something.
I suppose.

But enough with the negativity.  Happy New Year.

My goal for the new year is to erect at least one PeaceBall and have several others in the hopper.

ooh, ooh, ooh, ahh, ahh, ahh
My folks moved to New York from California
I should have listened when my buddy said "I warn ya" (warn ya)
"There'll be no surfin' there and no one even ca-a-ares"
(My woody's outside) covered with snow
(Nowhere to go now)
New York's a lonely town
When you're the only surfer boy around
From Central Park to Pasadena's such a long way
I feel so out of it walkin' down Broadway (Broadway)
I feel so bad each time I look out there and fi-i-ind
(My woody's outside) covered with snow
(Nowhere to go now)
New York's a lonely town
When you're the only surfer boy around
ooh, ooh, ooh, ahh, ahh, ahh, ahh
I feel so bad each time I look out there and fi-i-ind
(My woody's outside) covered with snow
(Nowhere to go now)
New York's a lonely town
When you're the only surfer boy around
ooh, ooh, ooh, ahh, ahh, ahh
ooh, ooh, ooh
ahh, ahh

Thank God I don't live in New York.  And it's not a Woody, it's the Batmobile.

Lehman Falls

Newsflash:  You try rolling canvas that's been gessoed, then laminated, if that's the right word for just sticking the stuff on, with newsprint front and back, around a 11/4" dowel.

It doesn't work.

I mean to say, it works.  I'm strong enough to do it.  But it looks like shit.  We're hoping to have better luck with Plan B than, say, the Speaker of the House.  Me?  I'm worried about getting the top and bottom parallel.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Historical Stuff

I understand that likely half the people that read me here are art historians, and that you guys love the historical stuff.  The nitty-gritty.  The spectrographic analysis of the primordial ooze from which I emerged.  If not spectrographic analysis, then at least early work.

Which brings me to this ...

Dog--it's the first one ever.  Ever!  A dripped self-portrait, ink on paper.  If I could still paint like that...  Well, I don't know what to say.

You could have combed your hair for the portrait.
Yes, I could have.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Christmas Eve I had a lovely dinner with my children and that was that.  I would have preferred more presents, but hey.  And besides, it's the spirit of the thing, right?  I mean, the lamb shank I had (a slight change from my traditional Christmas osso buco) was a dream.  And my daughters were beautiful, in every sense of the word, even though one was a bit under the weather.  So what's not to like?

Having dutifully dispensed with Christian rites, I celebrated Christmas Day as if I was Jewish.  Which is not so unusual, really.  I've always been of the school that says if you live in New York City long enough you become, as a function of simple osmosis, at least part Jewish.  You find yourself using words like oy.  You refer to the presence of cream cheese on your bagel as a schmear.  You're eating a bagel in the first place.  These are all parts of the process.

So Christmas day, joined by my actually Jewish friends, I went to Katz's Delicatessen and had hot pastrami sandwiches and pickled tomatoes for breakfast (I like my pastrami with mustard and a slice of onion).  Then we went to a movie.

You could argue that eating Chinese would be more characteristically Jewish New York Christmas behavior.
You could, I suppose.  But Katz's was fine.  Besides, it was within walking distance of the Angelica.
We know the area well.  What did you see?
Silver Lining Playbook, with Bradley Cooper and the girl from Hunger Games.
How was it?
I liked it better than my associates.
You've got a cast iron stomach.  Maybe they were experiencing some blow back from all that pastrami at 10:30 in the morning.
Maybe.  Although "blow back" isn't a very gracious term.
No, it isn't.

Anyway, by two in the afternoon I was positively kvelling.  If the Knicks could have managed to squeak out that game against the Lakers it would have been the perfect.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Palindrome For Christmas...


Sounds like a country western song.

Thank you to all the little people who's necks I crushed on my climb to the top.

Merry Christmas.



So we're clear, I'm in New York and I have other fish to fry than constantly checking the stats of my blog.  Earlier today I went to see an academically interesting but emotionally underwhelming show at MoMA called The Birth of Abstraction, or something like that.  I was unmoved and called a friend to tell him so.

After I hung up I noticed another show, right next to the Abstraction show.   Art produced in Tokyo from 1955 to 1970 -- the time period immediately following the Allied occupation of Japan which had, in turn, immediately followed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It was amazing.

Seven More Days...

Remember that song that Ronnie Wood sang at Bobfest a while back?  2007 maybe?  Seven Days?

Seven days, seven more days she'll be comin' An' I'll be waiting at the station for her to arrive Seven more days, all I gotta do is survive
She been gone, ever since I been a child Ever since I seen her smile, I never forgotten her eyes She had a face that outshine the sun in the skies
I been good, I been good while I been waitin' Maybe guilty of my hesitatin' but I've been hangin' on Seven more days and all that will be gone
But there's kissing in the valley, thieving in the alley Fighting every inch of the way Trying to get lead on [Incomprehensible] If the night's are always sadder than the day
Seven days, seven days [Incomprehensible] and blowing [Incomprehensible] whistled, the wind is blowing And she'll be coming from My beautiful comrade from the north
But there's a fighting in the valley, thieving in the alley Fighting every inch of the way Trying to get lead on somebody need a [Incomprehensible] The night's are always sadder than the day
Seven days,I don't know the window's snowing [Incomprehensible] whistled, the wind is blowing And she'll be coming from My beautiful comrade from the north

Somehow the lyrics to the song got out of format.  But the words are there. 
If the seven was changed to ten and days was changed to posts you would understand where the Year of Magical Painting currently sits.
99,990 visits today, as of this very second.  Cool.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas -- The Mets Trade Dickey

Honestly, it's enough to make you ejaculate some inappropriate language.  Just blurt it out.  Fuck.  Even though it happened a week or so ago, the obscenity of the act just struck me again.

It's hard to determine which New York sports franchise is a bigger disappointment:  The Mets or the Jets.  As a fan of both, it is difficult to stay positive.

Actually I'm not sure I'm a Jets fan anymore.  I was setting my DVR to tape football in my absence and I quickly clicked "record" for the Giants game.  Then I sat there, staring at the menu on the screen, debating taping the Jets.

I chose not to.

Woody Johnson!  I'm talking to you.  Think about that.  I chose not to.


I'm one hundred and fifty-three page visits away from the hundred thousand mark.  Which, as we've discussed ad nauseum is completely wrong.  Just because Google tells you something doesn't remotely make it true.  Young people, you should remember this.  Nonetheless, the old One-Five-Three hangs heavily in the air.

Please tell your friends.

Me?  I depart in three hours for New York City and related holiday celebrations.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gift for Christmas

Not for me, mind you.  I already own it.

I'm right in the middle of Bringing Up the Bodies, the second of Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell/Henry the 8th trilogy, and it is great.  Better than Wolf Hall, which is the first one.  The third is still, I suppose, in the writing stage.

If it were me, I'd buy a loved one a copy of Wolf Hall.  I read it over the summer, because I'd heard great things about Bringing Up the Bodies (and, honestly, who wants to read the second book of a trilogy without reading the first?), and I complained about it for the entire month it took me to read it.  A month!  It took me a month to read the goddam book!  Maybe even six weeks.  Honestly, I think it was the most annoying book I've ever read.  Mantel's strange prose style frequently makes it impossible to tell who is speaking at a given time.

Sure, there are perhaps moments in every novel when you glance back on the page to clarify who the speaker might be.  With Wolf Hall I found myself re-reading pages -- PAGES! -- in order to figure out who the hell was saying what.  And about whom.  To whom.  I repeat:  It was the most annoying book I've ever read.

Quick aside:  Just to make sure it wasn't me, I went on Amazon and arbitrarily read the first two reviews.  Both agreed.

And yet, once I was done reading, and re-reading, and sometimes re-reading for a third time, its 700+ pages, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Manoman, it really stuck with me.

Thus the recommendation.

And then, dear reader, a funny thing happened.  I finished reading the fifth Game of Thrones novel (which was its own slog, although way better than the third and fourth books), then I turned to something light and quick -- Formula 1 mechanic Steve Matchett's memoir of life on the F1 pit lane.  Then, refreshed, I was ready for whatever Ms. Mantel was going to throw at me.  And a funny thing happened.

Somebody, likely her editor, said something like this to her:

"Yo Hillary.  Nobody expected Wolf Hall to be such a big success, but now that it is, its time to rethink your obnoxious fucking prose style.  Because the boys on the 23rd floor tell me they would rather put glass in their eyes than go through another 700 pages like the first one.  So clean it up or hit the highway."

As if.  But still, she obviously got the message.  Bringing Up the Bodies is way smoother reading.  But you have to read Wolf Hall first.

So I guess it's like being a Navy SEAL.
How so?
Well, it's cool to be one, but you have to go through a load of shit to get there.
Nicely said.  Exactly right.

What's Wrong with Kids Today?

Apparently the Oh Shit! video of an eagle trying to make off with a toddler, several posts below, was a hoax created by college students in Montreal.  Wow -- I thought they did great work.

Just so we're clear, the Rogers and Astaire footage was NOT a hoax.

Quick additional note:  TYOMP is at 99,711 "all time" page views as of right now.  As previously noted, this is a completely inaccurate statistic, but still, I'm looking forward to the Hundred K mark.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Would Like to Say Something Nice about Tim Tebow

First: what a nice young man.

Second: never, in the history of sports, has a kid who deserved it less been handed a bigger shit sandwich.  

That's two things.
Sorry -- got out of hand.

I'll close with this:  I hope they fire Rex Ryan and the goddam general manager -- whose name will come to me in another sentence of two.  Rarely in the history of sport have two guys given such a nice kid a bigger shit sandwich.

What stunning incompetence.  From the signing of Tebow in the first place to the crazily-overpriced extension of Sanchez' contract to the complete mismanagement of the quarterback situation during, literally, the entire season.  Stunning.  No wonder Fireman Ed left.  I'm right behind him.  No exaggeration -- I haven't watched more than ten minutes of a Jets game in the last month and a half.  Most of them I've simply deleted without a glance.

And I own a Jets blanket!

Me?  I don't even really like Tim Tebow that much.  I'm always suspicious of people who put their religious beliefs on such public display (and who are not ordained).  But there's no getting around the fact that young Tebow is one of the few guys around the Jets camp upon whom no blame should be laid.

Professional athletes have brief windows, and this was an entire year wasted.  I feel bad for the kid.

Notation on the typography:  this entire post, excluding the title and the interlude with the Greek Chorus, is written in Jets Green.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh shit! volume 2

As in, "Oh shit! I can't believe they did that entire dance in one take!"

Look how much fun they're having.  And it should be noted that all this was done way before the advent of CGI.  Or whatever.  It's the real thing, man.  And Fred was a maniac for filming the dance sequences as one continuous take (despite evidence to the contrary in the earlier Fred and Ginger clip).

These guys can really tap.  No, dear reader, they're not the Nicholas Brothers.  But then, I've never wanted to go to bed with one of the Nicholas Brothers.

Is that too much?
Naaah.  Who didn't want to jump in the sack with Ginger?

Oh shit!

I'm in a U-Tube state of mind.  Thus, this ...

"Oh shit!" has to be the understatement of the year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas to Me

If all goes as planned, I'm predicting that the one hundred thousandth visitor to The Year of Magical Painting will drop by before Christmas.  Here, courtesy of Google, are the stats:

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history
They are, as statistics so often are, completely wrong.  Not misleading, or easily manipulated, but wrong.  Because Google only started measuring traffic on my particular blog a couple of years ago.  Given this, I find the phrase "Pageviews all time history" to be offensive.  Before then I was busily grinding out the sausage, offering wisdom and solace to three, four, five thousand pathetic losers* a month for some number of years.  So truth be told, I'm probably at a quarter million-plus.  
Which is either shocking or troubling.  Possibly both.
I understand that this is not Charlie Sheen twitter territory.  But it is both shocking and troubling nonetheless.

*  Not you, old sock.  You I love and admire.  I'm talking about the other people.  

"Ball Don't Lie"

Are you familiar with the phrase?

Two or three weeks ago, Rasheed Wallace was called for a foul he particularly didn't agree with.  As the opposing player stepped to the foul line Wallace glared at the ref.  When the player missed the foul shot Wallace said "Ball don't lie" to the ref.  For clarity, presumably, he then repeated it.

The ref called a technical foul.

"Ball don't lie" refers to the Cosmic notion that Basketball -- that greatest of sports -- is embodied by and contains therein many of the great Truths and deepest Secrets of the Universe.  That, amid the Chaos of Life, a True Order can be found within the game.  To some degree, everybody knows this and I'm just stating the obvious.  It is a truth, Jane Austen might say, Universally acknowledged.  I only bring it up because I still pine for Linsanity.

The Knicks, God blessum, are 18 and 6.  Which is great.  But it should also be understood that two of their six losses, including last night's, came at the hands of the Houston Rockets and Jeremy Lin.

Ball dont lie.

pause for introspection

Ball don't lie.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Go Orange

I leave Troy now to drive to Syracuse in order to see Jim Boeheim coach his 900th game.  I'm going with a friend of mine who's pretty gung ho about the whole thing.  Me?  I always thought Boeheim was a bit of a whinger.  Certainly during the early part of his career.

Why am I going, you might ask?  I was told there would be a chance to see Pearl Washington.  I always loved the Pearl, and surely a glimpse of him alone is worth five hours of driving and sixty bucks of gas.

Wonderful, Volume 2

All those smiling kids make the Ode to Joy video a bit bittersweet.  Better this one -- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing in Swing Time.  Just adults, and all you need to know everything you need to know about Fred and Ginger is contained here ...

After the discussion of the other day, you're really going to go with "...all you need to know everything you need to know..."?
Yeah.  Why not?
It's confusing.  
Yes it is.  Hey, if you don't have your big-boy pants on when you're reading The Year of Magical Painting then it's not my job to hold your hand.
I might have substituted the phrase "in order to know" in place of "to know."
The first one or the second one?
The first one.
Okay.  Point taken.  But it's not your blog, so shut up.


I have no credibility with the word wonderful.  Hell, I called a Fleetwood Mac album wonderful one post below.  But this genuinely is wonderful ...

Ode to Joy.  Looking at those kids made me want to cry.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lucifer Falls

The point at which I could take no more of the Giants game arrived early today.  So I came down to the studio and spent some time screwing around, sitting on the sofa, listening to music, staring at Lucifer Falls, enjoying it all quite a bit.

Spent a lot of time thinking about PeaceBalls.  I'm worried about my ability to make the fiberglass so black that you don't notice the yellow.

I don't like to listen to music and read unless the thing I'm reading is idiocy.  Entertainment Weekly surely fits, so I was reading EW's year-end obituaries.  The one about Whitney Houston was written by Stevie Nicks.  Of all people.  And I said hmmm.

Then I said wouldn't it be fun to play some Fleetwood Mac.  I mean, when was the last time?

So I did.  I engaged the MOG and played "Rumours."  Then I got so fired up I played "Fleetwood Mac."  The combination of which, one could argue, was all you needed to know everything you needed to know about the famous version of the band -- the one with Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.

What surprised me was how beautifully recorded both records were.  One of the pitfalls of upgrading one's stereo is that in a surprising number of cases, the recordings themselves become the weak links.  I have a four LP set of Frank Sinatra singing with the Tommy Dorsey band, and I hope, when everything was said and done, that they shot the guy who mic'd Sinatra.

And I say this not even liking Sinatra.  I always thought he sang flat.

Anyway, sometimes when something's colossally famous we lose the ability to appreciate it on its merits.  I'm referring to "Rumours," but it's worth asking when was the last time you really listened to Stairway to Heaven?  Which I just, in the spirit of fully researching everything I write on TYOMP, listened to thunderously loud.  The best part is how, about 3/4 of the way through, the electric guitar cuts first through the acoustic section of the recording and then, in the amount of time it takes music to travel perhaps ten feet, your frontal cortex.  The point being that just because you're famous doesn't mean you don't have talent.

In summation, all I'm saying is that both Fleetwood Mac albums were really wonderful.  Way better than I expected them to be.

And I say this not even particularly liking Fleetwood Mac.

Donna Summer was also in the obits.  Her I liked.

You're really going to go with "...all you needed to know everything you needed to know..."?
Yeah.  Why not?
It's confusing.  
Yes it is.  If you don't have your big-boy pants on when you're reading The Year of Magical Painting then it's not my job to hold your hand.
I might have substituted the phrase "in order to know" in place of "to know."
The first one or the second one?
The first one.
Okay.  Point taken.  But it's not your blog, is it?
Okay.  Shut up.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I keep thinking about dropping one of my daughters off at the Julia A. Traphagen Elementary School in pastoral Waldwick, NJ -- something I've done dozens of times; hundreds of times, back in the day -- and never seeing her again.  I don't want to, but I can't help myself.  This Connecticut shooting has upset me quite a bit, and it's made me dredge up an old public arts idea of mine.


Imagine, for a moment, that you are the guy in a major metropolitan Police Department (NYC, Albany, Troy, etc) in charge of getting rid of confiscated firearms that are no longer useful as evidence.  I'm not sure how many weapons the Troy PD confiscates in a year, but I can assure you there are a shitload of them sitting in the back room of the NYPD.

Typically these items are shipped to a contractor who melts them down.  The plan on the table is to use them instead to create large spherical public sculptures called PeaceBalls.  Think big snowballs, but with disabled Glocks, Uzis, Smith & Wessons, etc.

Please note the use of the word "disabled" in the previous sentence.

This, titled "Alamo" by Tony Rosenthal, sits famously in Astor Place, a small park in New York City...

Eight feet square.  Weighs about 1800 pounds.  Now imagine if it were a huge ball made of welded-together firearms.  All prickly, with barrels sticking out, all akimbo.  Sorta Jackson Pollock; sorta Louise Bourgeois.  Kinda black; kinda gray.

Now imagine one of these in every major American city.  Plus the Museum of Modern Art.  And the Getty.  And Storm King.

Now imagine how much my paintings would then sell for.  Although it's not about that.  Completely.

Now imagine the level of bureaucratic resistance such an idea will undoubtably encounter.  Enough, certainly, to make a lesser man step away.

Now imagine again how much my paintings would then sell for.

Glocks are made of plastic.  Can you weld them together?
Weld may be the wrong word.  But we're certainly gonna mash them together so that no man may rend them asunder.
Nor, if I might suggest, shoot anybody with them.
Duh.  That's the whole point.

The whole point is that instead of disposing of the things, why not create public art that speaks to one of the dominant themes of American life:  The Second Amendment?


Now imagine a New York City amnesty program in which illegal firearms can be donated for inclusion in a PeaceBall.  No questions asked -- just hand us the gun and get the hell out of here.

Now imagine paraphrasing John Lennon (as if I were worthy):

Now imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Friday, December 14, 2012

For the Man or Woman who has Everything, Imagine their Delight at Receiving a Signed Print

$250 for the first; $225 after that.  A set of four for $800.  Shipping extra.  They look great on the wall in groups.

If you want them before the end of the holiday season, now is the time to strike!  Go here to see the collected works.

Turn About Being Fair Play ...

... it is worth noting that one of the formative experiences that influenced Gerhard Richter's painting for a very long time was being a little German boy getting bombed by the Allies.  Including, it should be said here, my sainted father piloting The Upstairs Maid.

This would be one of many topic-appropriate Richter paintings ...

Kind of fun to look at the similarities between this painting and the Raymond one in the previous post.  Also, if you ever get a chance to see the movie "Painting: Gerhard Richter" I would urge you to do so.  Not as good as "Jiro Dreams of Sushi", but still one of the better documentaries of 2012.

Some Guy Name Geoffrey Raymond

It's fun to Google yourself.  If you ever want to Google me, my advice is to type in "Geoffrey Raymond artist" but without the quotes.  I don't fully understand how the quotes work, but something changes.  The version with quotes is a less satisfying experience.

I hadn't done a full search in quite a while, but I was submitting my name for consideration as part of a public art project in Troy and so I took a look.  I was so impressed with myself it made me want to listen to "Well Respected Man" by The Kinks.  Oddly, they're poorly represented on the MOG.  I had to settle for "Waterloo Sunset."

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night
People so busy, makes me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright
But I don't need no friends
As long as I gaze on waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunsets fine

Terry meets julie, waterloo station
Every friday night
But I am so lazy, don't want to wander
I stay at home at night
But I don't feel afraid
As long as I gaze on waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunsets fine

Millions of people swarming like flies round waterloo underground
But terry and julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And the don't need no friends
As long as they gaze on waterloo sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunsets fine

I can understand uber-bands like the Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, Metallica playing coy with internet radio.  But The Kinks?  C'mon, man -- put your big-boy pants on.*  I'm listening to Lola now, and it's some raggedy-assed, whiny emo version.  Don't these people realize I'm a busy man?  Frustrated, I'll be switching to The Zombies in a moment.

Anyway, all of this brings us to the guy who painted this:

It was painted in 1959 and can be seen in the Museum of South Somerset.  In England, obviously, although beyond that I haven't a clue.

Titled: "Early Bird, Westland Wagtail, 1918."

Painter:  Geoffrey Raymond.

Me?  I'd like to have this painting, but I don't appreciate the guy clogging up my Google results.  And don't even get me started on the professor at UC Santa Barbara who also shares my name.  That dude is everywhere, with papers with titles like "Navigating Epistemic Landscapes: Acquiescence, Agency and Resistance in Responses to Polar Questions."

Really?  That's the title of the paper?
That would be an outstanding name for a painting.
A little long, perhaps.
Yeah, but still...

It's a lovely painting, isn't it?  Fast forwarding to the Second World War, I recently stumbled upon a map of London circa 1940/41 with little red dots marking where German bombs hit during the Blitz.

Brief pause while I go back and see if I can find it...

Oh look!  Here it is:

Honestly, can you imagine?

Me?  I sit around and complain about things like why more bars in Troy don't stock normal beers.  I would be ill-suited for handling six months of blanket bombing.   For the record, Troy is the kind of town where you go into a bar and of the twenty beers the bar is offering you've only heard of three of them.  I would describe it as the city's greatest failing.

* The line "put your big-boy pants on" is attributed to Kobe Bryant in recent response to Pau Gasol's complaining about something or other.  Did you happen to see the Knicks slap the Lakers across the mouth last night?  It got exciting late in the game, but only because Carmelo Anthony had to leave the game.  Otherwise it was a total beat down.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Life of Pi

In anticipation of the movie I read the book.  C+.  Though it certainly had its charms, I was underwhelmed.  I think I'm going to wait for the movie to get to Netflix.

Anyway, there's this ...

Last night, while listening to some Floating Men and drinking a finger of Evan Williams, I started applying the paint to my thumb and then the canvas.  And, as predicted, significant forward motion was achieved.

The good part about the thumb business is that you can do it while the scroll is on the wall.  Which means you can sit back on the sofa, savor another finger, turn the various lights on and off to see how it looks in different conditions, jump up and put more paint on, sit back down, savor another finger, and so on.  All of which is not generally possible when it's lying on the floor.

All that said, if I have to mail away for a two inch African Black Wood dowel, the thing is not going to be finished finished for another week to ten days.  And I haven't even ordered the thing yet, so there's a bit of lag time in that as well.

But as far as being finished, as opposed to finished finished, we're pretty close.  I think a sprinkling of white might just close the thing out.

What about the unfinished bottom part you are prolly asking.

That's the part that's gonna get rolled up on the dowel.  Since the circumference of a circle equals the diameter times Pi, we're talking, in rough terms, 6.2832 inches of canvas needed to make one complete rotation.  Since a little bit more is in order, I'm thinking 8 inches off the bottom.  Which is about what all that unfinished white stuff represents.

All this is so easily said, old friend.  I don't even want to contemplate the hassle involved with rolling this thick, lumpy, conglomeration of canvas, newspaper and Benjamin Moore house paint around a perfect two inch dowel.  I'm painting the back of the canvas black, by the way, so when it rolls forward around the dowel, the final product will have what will look like a black line across the bottom.  If you're with me here.

I leave now for breakfast and the paper.  Remind me to show you my picture of Walt Frasier.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One Last Thing...

Take a look at this ...

It's an actual hanging scroll.  From like 1675 or something.  I bet this baby costs an absolute shit-load of money to buy.  Easier, I'm thinking, to paint my own.

Anyway, the discussion here is purely structural.  Notice the top and bottom members.  The top is actually a flat piece of wood around which the top of the scroll is wrapped and attached.  The bottom, however, is a round piece of wood.  This, I suppose, is the thing around which you wrap the scroll when you're tucking it away.  Also the weight of the wooden dowel helps stretch out and flatten the bottom of the scroll when it's hanging.

Currently, Corzine Falls is stapled to a couple of miscellaneous canvas stretchers.  Purely for convenience.  But I've been thinking about my dowel quite a bit.

The fear, dear friend, is that if you go to the local lumber store and buy a 30" piece of one-inch pine dowel, it'll just look shitty.  Even if you stain it.  Pine is pine, man.  So I was casting about for a classier lower member ...

Interesting sentence.  Aren't we all?
Please.  Can we move on?

So I've been casting about for a classier piece of wood to serve as the lower member.  Then I thought, why not Google "exotic wood dowels"?

Let me tell you, the response was breath-taking.  Two outstanding suppliers literally leaped off the page.  Cherry?  Ebony?  Leopardwood?  African Black Wood?  Unbelievable.  Try it and judge for yourself.  And they are cheap, relatively speaking.  I mean, for my purposes, given that I only need one and it only needs to be about two and a half feet long.

I like a two inch diameter.

Don't we all?
You're kidding, right?

The End is Coming in Nine Days

Disregard all that Mayan nonsense.  It's quackery.  I'm talking about Corzine Falls, and it's entirely possible that I'm closer to finishing my painting than that.  Hell, I could be done tomorrow, although the smart money says Friday.  If tomorrow is Thursday.

Because once the huge pools of wet paint currently occupying space on the face of the thing dry, it's gonna be time to start squirting color on my thumb and rubbing it in.

And when that happens, things move pretty quickly.

The Wind Whispers Mary

We've chosen to invert the canvas ...

And we've gotten darker ...

But only in anticipation of getting lighter again.

What a lovely waterfall.  You almost want to paint some waterlilies in there, except waterlilies and waterfalls don't really go together.  But that whole Monet thing -- if you can accurately say there even is a "whole Monet thing" -- is quite potent.

Might be more a J.M.W.Turner thing, if you can even say "a J.M.W.Turner thing" in a situation like this.

I'm not sure you can.
I'm talking about the atmospherics.  I think there are atmospherics at work here.
I'm just saying.

Here's a Turner, just so we're on the same page ...

This is called "Snow Storm and Steamboat of a Harbour's Mouth."  Wow.

Somebody wrote "Don't eat the brown acid" or something like that on my Jamie Dimon painting.  Turner?  If you think about what this guy was doing, and when, well ... he obviously had access to pharmaceutical grade hallucinogens.

When was he doing stuff like this?
When you say "doing stuff" do you mean taking drugs?
No, man.  I mean painting pictures like this.
Oh.  1840, maybe.
Dog!  I don't think the word 'pharmaceuticals' existed in 1840.
Yeah.  They prolly just called them mushrooms.
More of a nutraceutical thing then?
I suppose.  All I know is that they're great in a meatloaf.

The Titanic Sails at Dawn, Volume 2

I also like "Elmo Says Blow Me."

Even though the whole Muppets uproar was more of a Goldman thing, I think it's fair to say that Muppets everywhere are angry at everybody.

The Titanic Sails at Dawn

Winter is, as we all know, for catching up.  That said, assuming you haven't been peeking in the window of my studio in the last hour, you've likely never seen this ...

It's the final version of The Formerly Brilliant Dimon.  I had a ton of annotations to transfer from the web onto the canvas.  Which I just finished doing, and now the painting's done.  Proof?  The name of the file is FinalDimon.jpg, so it must be done.

(There's a RAW file too, but that's too complicated)

My favorite comment, other, of course, than "Lloyd is Pissed," is "Blue Diamond -- My Favorite Nuts."

For you completists, I'm listening to "Leon Russell" on the MOG.  I'd forgotten how good it was.

God bless Leon.  I saw him in concert sometime in the early 70s and he was great.  Then he fell on hard times and you didn't hear much of anything from him.  Then, a couple of years ago, Elton John (of all people) asked Russell to tour with him.  Who says the spirit of Christmas is dead?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


What we're calling Madoff Falls is NOWHERE near being done.  Just so we're clear.

I leave the studio now (9 p.m. -- you impressed?) to go upstairs and watch the Knicks play the Nets.

Madoff Falls Volume 2

And then there's this...
This is, of course, the crudest rendition (courtesy of, I swear, less than five minutes on ArtRagePro) of the general idea of the thing.  That white space with the writing exists only within my computer -- just so we're clear.  But at some point, the title of the painting will be inscribed across the top of the scroll, in a manner similar to the Ina Drew or Martoma paintings.

This may be a bad idea.  It's too early to tell.

I kind of like the idea of selling the Falls, once it's done, with an open window; invite the buyer to choose the name he likes.

Martoma ...

And that's barely scratching the surface.  The list, God save us all from people who would do us harm in the name of wealth creation, is, sadly, endless.

Parenthetical note:  I'm not sure The London Whale belongs in this list.

Madoff Falls

It must be painful, sometimes, dear reader, to watch me stumble about.

Look at this current state of Madoff Falls, complete with upper strut.  Member.  Bar.  I don't know what you call the upper thing.  Roller (since it is a scroll...)?  Anyway, look at how it's unfolding...

How much fun is that?

Except for one thing.  Check it out upside down...

Honestly, some days are harder than others.

Bernie Madoff Day

On this day, several years ago, Bernie Madoff was arrested.  It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

The interesting thing about Madoff is that, unlike most crooks in the financial sector for whom the money is, in and of itself, a discrete, slightly abstract thing (although abstract is a bad word for money, especially when you are trying to buy a Bugatti), Bernie was golfing with his clients, not batting an eye, knowing that their lives would be deeply and profoundly fucked as a direct function of his ponzi scheme.


A Pretty Girl is Like a Waterfall...

One theory says tack the canvas on the wall and let it (and me) just stew there for a while.

The other theory says begin dripping the paint.

Dripping commenced.  Currently titled "Iksil Falls."

That green you see?  It was made by mixing yellow with the blue that was left in the bowl.  So it's like yoghurt, in a way.  It should be noted that it's hard to say what the hell is going on here, given that the canvas is covered with newspaper and the drop-cloth beneath it is likewise covered with newspaper.  Next time around, I'll clean up the paper.

And I apologize for the angle, but if I tacked it on the wall to take a picture, all the paint would run to the bottom.

This was the mistake Morris Lewis made.  Over and over again.

I like his work.
Me too.  I was just messing around.  

Nothing bad has ever happened to me when I paint.  So why not just do it?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Milken Falls

I am experiencing state-of-the-art trepidation regarding the painting of Milken Falls.  You see, I'm not one for a lot of preliminary sketches.  I like to just jump into the thing; let it evolve; feel the painting take form as if sprung from the head of Zeus.

Most of the time this works just fine.  Although I suppose your agreement with this depends a lot on your opinion of my painting.   The downside, however, is that there's frequently a lot of backtracking; a lot of painting over.  By the time I'm done, the canvas is under more layers of paint than ancient Pompeii.  Except Pompeii wasn't covered with paint.

And for most of my paintings all those layers are part of what makes them fun.

The problem here is that I've busted my ass to cover the Milken Falls scroll with newspaper and I'm worried that there will be no newspaper to see when I'm done.  Because, you see, I don't have any idea what the thing is going to look like.  And the whole idea of these newspaper paintings is that you see some of the newspaper.  Obviously.

And if I cover the thing with paint while exploring my inner waterfall muse, the newspaper thing will become moot.  Obviously.

Of course, there's this ...

A detail of my painting of Paul Ryan.  This whole newspaper business started when I needed some ambiguous white for the guy's cheek or chin -- I don't remember which -- and I ripped a piece of newspaper up and just shmooed it in there.

That might be his ear, actually.  But anyway, that, dear reader, is how this whole thing began.  So I suppose I can insert more newspaper after the fact.  Or, more accurately, during the fact.  But that feels like the loser's way out.

Getting back to the not-sure-what-to-do business: sure, there's this ...

Which one might consider a sketch of a sort; a road map to painting Milken Falls.  But the problems here are manifold.  Most notably, it sucks.

So there's gonna be a lot of thrashing about with the paint.  And this has me concerned.  I may finish with the newspaper (I'm still not done) and just hang the goddam thing on the wall for a while.

And as if that wasn't enough, I'm listening to that Icelandic band Sigur Ros.  And they're only adding to my depression.  The name of the album is Agaetis Byrjun, and I don't recommend it.  Certainly not as easy listening for the borderline suicidal.

The Department of Patting Myself on the Back

Just came across this ...

This is what Morena Baccarin looked like when she peeled off her fake human skin on "V."  Eventually it became The Annotated Murdoch, circa late 2007.  But I really like it just like this too.

Particularly that weird blue wedge under his left eyelid.

This is a detail from Matisse's The Piano Lesson ...

Same exact thing.

No it isn't.
Yes it is.

Here's the close-up.  You judge for yourself.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Buy A Print for the Holidays

Go to and order a print for the holidays.  Delivery in time for Christmas or late Hanukkah.


How 'bout the New York Knickerbockers last night slapping Miami down so hard they're still looking for their teeth?  This classic post from February 10th of this year:


We're Not Asking for Miracles

We, and here I speak on behalf of the Knicks Nation, are not asking for miracles. We don't expect to win the NBA championship this year. What we are asking for is a version of basketball that makes you smile again. This lovely young fellow, Jeremy Lin, he being the namesake of the phenomenon called Linsanity, has provided just that for the last four games, including tonight's win over the Lakers.

Read that again: Knicks beat Lakers.

We are not asking for miracles, but it might also be nice if the MSG network (which owns and telecasts the Knicks) came to terms with Time Warner Cable (which, under normal circumstances, distributes the programming to millions of schmucks like me). Currently the Knicks are blacked-out on my television and there's nothing I can do about it.

Not for nothing, but the people at MSG have rammed a putrid brand of basketball down our throats for MORE THAN A DECADE, while charging the highest seat prices in the league (by an unbelievable margin compared to other notable teams like the Lakers or Celtics), yet they think it's okay to hold out for more transmission fees from Time Warner. Funny aside--MSG is owned by Cablevision, which is Time Warner's largest competitor. Go figure. Shouldn't there be a law about this?

And when I say putrid, I really mean it. Easier by far to swallow than recent-era Knicks basketball would be such things as fresh dog shit or one of those boneless chicken breasts that got lost in the back of the fridge a couple of weeks ago and now makes the whole kitchen smell when you open the door to get a beer. Easier by far.

ESPN televised tonight's game and so I got to watch it. It was almost wonderful. And now, if only the Celtics could continue their tumble into oblivion, life would be pretty close to okay.

I leave early in the morning for New Bedford, Mass, from which my great-great-Grandfather hunted the spermaceti, and where my friend Bobby the Gravedigger, backed up by the North End All Stars, will perform his recently released rock opera "North End Serenade." It's gonna be like The Who performing Tommy, except perhaps not as massive. But I'm gonna be there, regardless.


Since that time Linsanity came and went to Houston.  Amazingly, and despite a bunch of negativity from the Greek Chorus, Mike Woodson (cue the hosannas) has turned a team led by what used to be the world's second most disfunctional superstar (Dwight Howard takes the honors here) and populated by a bunch of 40 year olds into a legitimate contender.  A genuine pleasure to watch.  How about those Knicks beating the Heat down so hard they're still looking for their teeth?

The downside?  There's a part of me that hoped the Knicks would stay so wretched for so long that the idiots who own them would get sick of the abuse and sell.  Now this surely won't happen.  And if the Knicks somehow manage to win a championship in the next couple of years, watching James Dolan stand up there and accept the trophy is going to give me projectile emesis.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Galleon Falls

My iPhone is fundamentally incapable of taking a good photo in this situation.  I offer it to you, nonetheless, just so your juices can begin flowing in anticipation of the paint ...
Once I fill in the corners and little white places we'll be able to begin.

Brief personal aside:  What a pain in the ass.  This is the stuff my studio assistant should be doing, except that I don't have one.  There is a very real sense that this could be the first and last in my series of "... Falls" paintings unless I come up with an easier plan.

In the end, it's gonna look like this, though, so it will all be worth it ...

Wait a minute --that's not right.  It's gonna look like this...

Although, truth be told ...

A pretty girl is like a waterfall.
Yes she is.

Honestly, why is this so difficult?

Here's the left side ...

And here's the right ...

This is the best I can do.  Double click 'em to get rid of the see-through type on the right side.

Or wait a day or so and new posts will push them down and you'll get a clear view.

I would say this:  Having seen them less than 24 hours ago, my recollection was that the panels themselves were significantly darker than these images would have you believe.

My approximation, through the magic of iPhoto, is this ...

Actually, I don't remember it looking like that either.  It was folly to assume I could capture the essence of the thing.

Next up, Galleon Falls.

This is a better picture ...

If only as a function of file size.  It was sitting inside a glass enclosure so getting a decent shot in natural light was a bit of a challenge.  Nonetheless ...

And this, now that I'm back ...

Went to Barclays Center and watched the Nets just barely lose to the Thunder.  That was great.

Went to the Met.  Once inside the Met, went to the Matisse show.  That was great too.  Better than the basketball game actually.  More on this later.

Then wandered upstairs to the Rinpa exhibit (click here), hoping to see this ...

Painted by Suzuki Kiitsu around 1825.  Called "Morning Glories."  The impossible beauty of this thing when you are standing face to face with it ... well, it's mind-boggling.  It's also twelve feet long, just so we're clear.  Lord have mercy.  It was there the last time I visited the exhibition but was out of rotation this time around.  This, however, was there ...

And this ...

Both of which took my breath away.  Especially the bottom one, which is a two panel screen with an ornate wooden bottom section.  The bottom two are raggedy-assed iPhone pix taken without a flash (as per the rules), so you can't really see what's going on.   Particularly the delicacy of all those dark grays and blacks.

And, in my absence, Dave Brubeck died.  91 years old, so what are you going to do?

Me?  I'm listening to his Take Five album.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Before I go, this:

I should just paint on the drop cloth.  It looks just like the newspaper ...

This, if you couldn't tell, is the beginning of Boesky Falls.  Hopefully you can sort of see what I'm talking about, with the pasting of the newspaper and the wrapping around the edges.  The back looks like this ...

And, to quote John Paul Jones, I have only just begun to fight.

On an archival note, look at all the air bubbles on the back.  I wonder what those are going to mean to the owner fifty years from now.   Is the whole thing going to fall apart?  I don't think so, given that by the time I'm done with the glossing and the varnishing the whole thing is going to be one long sheet of paint enclosed by extremely shiny plastic.

Regardless, always with my stuff is the fun of what it turns into later.

Roundball Odyssey

I leave shortly for Brooklyn.  More specifically, the corner of Flatbush and Turd.

Yes, that is amusing.
More like 4th than Turd, though.
I know, but then the joke wouldn't work.

I refer, of course, to the Barclay's Center where I, with several friends, will watch the B-Town Nets play the OKC Thunder.  Which should be something.  I've been told that we are seated high enough that we may need to parachute down to get beer.  Nonetheless, I remain enthused.

The only downside is that I am unable to find my No. 17 Jeremy Lin Knicks t-shirt.  Which is galling, let me tell you.  I mean, where could it possibly be?

And the turd business?  I apologize, but the Barclay's Center resembles a massive cow patty more than anything else.  Thus the scatological humor.

Later in December, I'm driving to Syracuse to watch the Orange Men play coach Jim Boeheim's 900th game.  Which is something, in and of itself.  More intriguing is the fact that the seats have been described to me as court-side.  Row AA.  Near the team.

"Hey Jim?  Want a beer?"

Every painter competes with the masters.  Most of the time we fall short.  But I can promise you this:  Henri Matisse never had court-side seats to a Syracuse game.

I depart now.