bemusing musings of a bewildered brush-wielder

a NYC portrait commission, the end of the world, and a pretty good gospel choir

I woke up, took the train into New York City

Heard a pretty good blues band in Grand Central Station.

Got a couple slices of pizza at a nice, run down pizza shop.  My brushes, turpentine, sun thickened linseed oil, etc., are in the leather bag.  My palette is in the plastic bag.

Having already transported some heavier items in my truck a couple weeks before, I stored things such as the paintings, benches, and drapes at the Fifth Avenue apartment belonging to the couple commissioning the portrait.  I’m in the process of setting up beside a north window.  It’s day five of the portrait commission.

An alligator clamp on the curtain drawstring…

… and an alligator clamp on the bathroom door…

…and I have a pretty good background.

My trusty workbench from Home Depot.  I never paint without it.  Lightweight, portable, tall- it’s perfect.

An instant stand for my pallete, brushes, bag of garbage (mostly paper towels), mediums, turps.

All set up, ready to go.

Deborah and her husband Robert have been so wonderful to work with, I really couldn’t find a nicer couple.  They are very into the creative process of a portrait commission.  Deborah is a doctor with a busy medical practice in Manhattan, and yet gladly takes time to pose for the paintings.  For a portrait commission, I couldn’t ask for a better situation.  The two of us talk for the entire course of the afternoon.  Sorry, a bleached photo- I’m not so good with the technical end of cameras.

Her figure was, compositionally speaking, running off of the bottom of the canvas.  I had to invent some type of return, with a bold color note as well.  This wrap might work.  I brush it in quickly, just to see.

My palette gets more and more cluttered, as the day progresses

Yesterday, my brother Sean was talking to me about Sargent’s painting, “The Match.”  In the painting, especially if seen in person, there seems to be a real flame at the tip of the match.  It is this tiny impasto of painting, and it is just brilliant.  I just love touches like that.  I was thinking of this as I painted today, and wanted to really make the earring a note of interest- but not too much.  I painted the earring with this tiny impasto of paint.  I’m pleased with the balance.

John Singer Sargent, the Match, detail, 1882

As the daylight fades, I place the painting beside the window, and it looks like a real person.  Pretty cool.

I cleaned up my paints, stored them away, and headed off to the subway.  On the way, as I plodded along, I heard somebody screaming very loudly in the subway.  It was a woman, and it sounded like she was on top of a soap box, announcing the French Revolution.  The woman was lunging at all of the people passing by, shoving literature in their faces.  As I drew close, I realized that she was actually screaming about the end of the world- she and five other people were wearing shirts that said “End of the World, May 21st, 2011.”  Fair enough, they could be right.  She then approached me with a pamphlet and yelled “Repent!”  Fair enough, I always have a sin or two to spare, and wouldn’t mind repenting for them.  I asked her if she truly believed that the world was going to end on May 21st.  She said “Absolutely.  With all my heart.  You gotta repent, or else.”  I then asked her if she could sign over her car to me, to be delivered into my custody on the 22nd of May.  She paused.  She thought.  She stared at me.  Her eyebrows furrowed.  Her mouth turned downward at the corners.  She then yelled “Get oudda here.”  I said “Geez, I just didn’t think you’d have any use for a car, being that the world would be in flames and all.”  She nearly punched me in the face, so I thought it best to continue home.  Then I encountered a wonderful gospel choir, with a good upright bassist, at the west end of the Times Square- Grand Central Shuttle.  They laughed and smiled and sang “Lord, it’s good to be your child.”  My style of Christianity.

The train pulls into the station late, and I’m back home on Long Island.

 

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2 responses

  1. May 22nd, Brilliant!

    January 29, 2011 at 3:30 am

  2. chrispatmick

    The painting is really nice…. but that bench, lightweight with extend-able legs…. marvelous

    February 4, 2011 at 6:12 am

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