my French Venus

the good people at “Hey” invited me to paint on one of their blank, plaster Venus sculptures.

it’s for a Parisian breast cancer fundraising organization. they send the blanks out all over the world to a bunch of groovy artists like me. we do our thing, then the pieces are all auctioned off.
she showed up in a nasty particle board crate a couple months ago, and leaves again for Paris tomorrow. but this time she’s got a bit of colour in her cheeks (and all over the rest of her). also, she sports a nice measure of cock-eyed insanity.

my pal Ray (across the hall from me) said he was going to sneak into the crate and tag along. bring some sandwiches, Ray! and bon voyage!


my good pal émilie found out she has a rare, messed-up brain thing called Chiari Malformation. it’s where the ass section of your brain literally squeezes out the back of your skull, cutting off the skull juice and making for big ouchy.

seriously though, she’s in a ton of pain– although you’d never know it because she’s as stunning as ever, and as hilarious as ever too! any of you who know my work, will recognize ém as a huge influence on me over the years. she’s modelled for me many many times, but like i said- more importantly, she’s a great friend. i thought it would be cool if tons of you readers sent her a little note of well-wishing etc. just comment here, and she’ll get ’em. thanks!

also– this from ém (sung to the tune of I Like Big Butts, which she ALSO has, by the way!)
I like big brains and I can not lie,
You other doctors can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty skull
And plump tonsils in your face,
You get sprung.
Wanna pull up tough,
Cuz you notice that brain was stuffed
Deep in her head it’s bulging
I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring,
Oh, baby I wanna get with ya
And take your (MRI) picture.
My colleagues tried to warn me
But those brains you got
Make Me so horney!
Ooh, cerebellum,
You say you wanna get surgery?
Well use me, use me, cuz you ain’t that average patient!

Peering Over/Looking Back, pt 4. building up…

and now begins the long, tedious process of what i call establish, obscure, re-iterate, obscure, re-iterate, obscure, re-iterate, obscure, ad nauseum. the only way to get a drawing to look like a painting is to paint the shit out of it. no, i should say that’s the only way for ME to do it. i see lots of amazing painters accomplish it with economic approaches, but for me, it never looks like it’s coming alive unless there are layers and layers of give and take. so in the beginning i just start giving darks to the dark areas, and taking away from stuff what i want to be lighter (by painting over it semi-opaquely).

i’ll start to introduce a bit of colour at this point, but nothing literal. still sort of just pushing things a degree toward where they might end up. all the while i’m still trying to keep a messy colour mesh happening. so that nothing is ever “a colour” but rather a mess of hues. i’ll start to draw over the underdrawing with opaque colours so that things are not as clear and “drawingy”. still thinking of it all as a foundation for the real work to come.

next week, more of the same, ha ha! (not sure if i should start condensing entries during this long middle period. what do you think? long and detailed, or more concise? leave me a comment with your preference!)

don't pretend

jeez, Eggs! chill. it’s not like you didn’t know this was going to happen!

Peering Over/Looking Back, pt 3. ground and some lights

now that the drawing has been transferred onto canvas, i just cover the whole thing with a slop of rusty red. you can use any colour you like for this, the trick is just to make sure it’s sufficiently transparent that you don’t totally obscure the drawing. i often use a colour that is the opposite of what most of the painting will end up being– so in this case, a red ground for a largely green painting. i learned that trick from my friend Leila who would paint an entire painting in exact opposites first, then re-paint the whole thing in the final colours. so for a red shirt, she’d paint it green first, then later paint it red. the result is a really great luminescence and sort of twinkly, alive feeling to the painting because you get a bit of the compliment of peaking though. it’s almost like an optical illusion that confuses the eye. it’s much like the opalescence you see on the inside of a oyster shell. i’m way too lazy to do it as meticulously as Leila, but i’m going for the same end result.
so with this first assault on the canvas, just broad applications of reds and greens. it looks awful and gutless, but it makes for a great foundation on which to build.

here you see the reds/greens (or warms/cools) starting to build a sloppy kind of colour mesh. i’m adding really moderate lights and darks with the greens and leaving the mids as is. maybe a couple very obvious white highlights- just to trick myself into feeling like i’m making more progress than i really am. they’ll all eventually get more or less painted over, and then replaced later.

next time i re-inforce a lot of what was shown here, gradually building up contrast and texture, and beginning to introduce some colour.


i was hoping to interview the great Ian Paice yesterday when he was in town with Deep Purple. unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. but i did get to meet “The Mule”.

this is a guy i’ve worshipped since i was 13. in fact, way back then i drew a poster that hung behind my drumkit– it was a montage of John Bonham, Nicko McBrain, and in the center: IAN PAICE. he was also a regular on this wonky instructional ’80s tv show called Rock School. it was his appearances on that show that were my first exposure to hearing a great drummer explain and demonstrate how they do what they do. anyhoo, Dave and Matt of Dave’s Drumshop were kind enough to invite my pal Milad and i to the concert afterwards.

i saw Mr Paice in this same venue in '85!!

oops, i almost forgot– we also had BURGERS AT IRENE’S. whoa, that was delicious!!

thanks fellers! and thanks, Mr. Paice!

Gavin Poster

hey check out the cool poster i just made for my old pal Gavin. he’s the dude that writes all the PIP+norton stuff. don’t forget y’all can click to enlarge…

Peering Over/Looking Back, pt 2. projection transfer

once the drawing is done i throw it into this beauty. you may recognize it from an old flickr set. i call it J.J. after my good friend J.J.Hommel who sent it to me from sunny California many years ago. he knew of a film industry storage room FULL of them. i got this one in trade for a little painting. it takes a one thousand watt bulb!

i staple the loose canvas to the wall and get the projection to the right size. in this case about 24 x 24″.

the projected lines are just barely visible. i have to do the the transfer when it’s dark out (usually early in the morning) otherwise the big windows flood the room with too much light. i use a red brush pen for the re-drawing.

after the whole thing is transferred i’ll go in with a black paint brush pen to make a few bits pop.

and here’s how it looks all transferred and waiting to kick ass…

next time paint will fly.

big smile for the weekend!

i love you all! (note the cute little hairy chest)

oh oh! here's an even better one of lunch yesterday…

(because it has me looking all thoughtful)

photo by cheryl