Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Classic Post

I'm heading to The Bronx in a couple of weeks to teach painting to my daughter's 4th grade class.  We will use the famous '2' technique for painting a face.  I'm not yet sure if we're going to do one painting, or a shitload.  We'll see.

In any case, I'm reminded of this classic post from when I co-painted a portrait of children's book author Mem Fox with a dozen kindergarten students from Claremont Prep.

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Live Blogging the Claremont Prep fundraiser, Volume 2

This could be my best painting ever:



Perhaps not executionally, if that's even a word, but for the sheer giggle factor, painting Mem Fox with a bunch of 4 year-olds was, I have to tell you, a hoot.

I like the idea that the same essential concept (painting a portrait of a person of note, then inviting comments) works as well with the under-6 set as it does with the over-25 set.

Check this out:



Someone from the over-25 set has seen fit to throw down fifteen hundred clams for The Annotated Mem Fox. For which I am truly appreciative. I left the event early, and it was never really clear to me whether there was ever going to come a point in the evening when somebody stood up (Like that woman with the ice pick from that Michael Douglas movie) and browbeat people into bidding higher (like she does at the AmFAR events, I think). So perhaps the $1500 was eclipsed by $1600, and then again by $1700 and so on (you can see the trend). Regardless, $1500 bucks feels like a happy outcome from the point of view of the school. I hope they are pleased.

My youngest child is in her early 20s. And let me tell you, once you step away from the world of 4 and 5 year-olds, you forget what it is like. It was nice to go back for a day. It was then also nice to leave the children where they lay, not having to then worry about fixing them dinner, getting them in the bath, getting them out of the bath, getting them in bed, etc. Been there.

Lessons learned:

It is the same lesson I should have learned long before this. Which is to never let anybody write any promotional copy on your behalf without having some editorial control. The blurb in the auction catalog and on the placard in front of the painting quoted from a previous blog post titled "We never stand taller than when we stoop to help a child". Which, taken out of the otherwise relatively depraved context of The Year of Magical Painting, Season Three, feels too saccharine to me by a factor of about 75,000 percent. It makes me feel oily, in the worst way. Unctuous. Which is not only a word most people don't know how to spell but is also a character trait that should be avoided like the plague.

Were I writing it, I would have drawn the connection between what happened on this painting and what I do in real life. Leveraged, if you will, my relative visability in the Wall Street community. Mentioned, perhaps, the deep six figures that The Annotated Fuld is going for. Revealed, possibly, the fact that The Annotated Mem Fox features an inscription by me on the back, saved usually for works I really like, that reads "A Genuine Geoffrey Raymond Thing." Something like that.

Anyway, these are all quibbles. Far more interesting is this:

If you look at the Mem Fox canvas, you can see the word "Michael" scrawled up the right hand side.  The M and the I seemed to give my young annotator some trouble, but he hit his stride with the CHAEL. And, as everybody knows, it's not how you start--it's how you finish.

Now consider Day Two of Red Geithner.



More particularly the right side of the canvas, at about the 2 o'clock mark. Somebody wrote "Mike".

Same kid.

Which just goes to show you that life is either a circle or (more likely) a slinky.

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