Archive for art

4 Aug 2013: China Dawn

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on August 3, 2013 by spinoza1111

Dawn China time. Got some rest: 12 hours of sleep, much needed. My previous blog entries seem run-on and “verbose”, in terms of ideation (too many ideas i, not too many words). Still cannot reset the blurred out photo booth effect, and yet, it is not an effect listed. I will keep plugging since the staff here loves the drawing of my grand-daughter.

PhotoBooth was a cool discovery. I could take a quick self-portrait and monitor my health progress (or lack thereof). I could hold up a drawing and make a copy and then modify it using Preview.

This and Gimp gave and shall give me an art studio here in the hospital as long as I could keep the computer alive. So it’s frustrating that now, owing to something stupid that I did, Photoshop insists on blurring everything out and “remembers” dully and mulishly to do this.

It’s frustrating, of course, that suddenly I cannot use my computer to simply take a non-blurred-out picture of myself or my artwork to show that I exist and love my children and grand-children enough to make an effort…it’s frustrating that spammers attack this blog when I leave it unused…oh enough’s enough. My eyes sting with tears.

If anyone has a solution…

I have, in addition to the Mac Powerbook and Air with Photo Booth, a scanner and a digital camera at home but my current most helpful friend is very busy with his own career and work as an actor and doesn’t know how to use these tools. “Nick the Brain” can but he is also busy. I cannot make it home to use the scanner, would be in pain, would have to drag the heavy Power Book.

Digital cameras do a far better job than mere artists’ hands, these days, and capturing the moment. I won’t post digital pix of my grandchildren here, only of my artistic interpretations, as I have said, out of respect for their privacy and their father’s (my son’s) rights.

Some volunteers from a local university have made a beautiful frame for my granddaughter’s picture, may bring in more, may very well have cameras. They promise to come in today.

I want to be able to resume my artistic “praxis”, which is to make a series of drawings, first in pencil and then in ink and pencil. Then using Gimp to simulate the Old Master’s methods of color glazing on top of shading. This requires Photo Booth, a printer, a scanner. Getting by only with a computer…a gimpy Mac with a photo booth that blurs everything out.

Let’s see…back and left leg still in pain, left leg still quite stiff, left foot consequently can only be bent at angles between 50 and 80 degrees as compared to 0 and 90 for right foot. No change.

Workout: first thing (4:30 AM) 20 minutes supine freedance and “conductus” (air conducting), which caused some pain, not lasting. Have loads of green tea and no Nescafe, will try to stick to the former as an analgesic.

Ka Yan #2: Peter’s Crazy Teacher

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2012 by spinoza1111

Edward G Nilges, “Even When Peter’s Crazy Teacher Ka Yan Teaches Us Mathematics, Ka Yan Admonishes Us, and Teaches Us the Way of All Things”, pencil on paper, A4 size, 18 April 2012. Moral rights asserted, which means that if you copy the image with attribution, God bless yer pointy little head, but if you copy it without attribution, damn your eyes. In other words, show some class.

The Line must be gotten right. The asymmetry has to be turned into a genuine tilt of her head in the light that would naturally create a different line on either side of her face as it catches the light, from what side? Vermeer, he knew all about this stuff, how in his quiet studio on a sunlit afternoon, time stopped.

Schopenhauer thought music superior to painting, damn his eyes, but painting’s task is the opposite of music’s. Music is all Time, painting stops it. Same deal, really.

My use of words is sometimes very confusing, as if I’m some sort of time traveler who uses them in old ways. Can’t be helped. “Admonish” used to mean something halfway between “teach” and “scold, morally chastise”.

The backstory is that Ka Yan works for the same UN agency as Peter’s Crazy Aunt and they are friends. The kids love her. I’m not sure what Ka Yan’s ethnicity is yet, and I may never be, for there are so many beautiful children and grown-ups where I live who are Mischling. Ka Yan’s name is Chinese yet she looks South Asian. Besides my understanding from talking with friends is that Ka Yan’s off the shoulder look is not as popular among Hindu women as it used to be and is certainly not Islamic.

Fashions have become more “modest”. Jackie Kennedy wore a Beirut look in 1961 in Beirut when she revealed her tummy. She could not do so today. But Ka Yan, while possessed of a deep respect for life, is not religious.

And it is this slowly growing crowd of people who are precisely ignored by racists, aren’t they, who want to herd us all back into Kraals, damn their eyes. All men (all people) are endowed by their Creator with rights according to our Declaration of Independence. This means something.

Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 22 January 2012: Before I Got My Eye Put Out

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2012 by spinoza1111


Edward G. Nilges, “State of ‘Peter’s Crazy Aunt Dances on the Strand to the Music of Bach, and to the Sweet Zy-Deco Sounds of Clifton Chenier (the KING of the Bayou)’ as of 22 January 2012″, acrylic on canvas, 60 * 80 cm

Before I got my eye put out,
I liked as well to see
As other creatures that have eyes,
And know no other way.

But were it told to me, to-day,
That I might have the sky
For mine, I tell you that my heart
Would split, for size of me.

The meadows mine, the mountains mine, –
All forests, stintless stars,
As much of noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes.

The motions of the dipping birds,
The lightning’s jointed road,
For mine to look at when I liked, –
The news would strike me dead!

So safer, guess, with just my soul
Upon the window-pane
Where other creatures put their eyes,
Incautious of the sun.

Emily Dickinson

Come on, come on, you bastards: Vorwart! This ain’t no pork chop, this is Chloris, this is Pandora, this is Artemis, this is Chang-Er, Goddess of the Moon, and I’se Jade Rabbit.

Over and over again. Painting on the floor, me dancing around like Jackson Frigging Pollock…love his work, could never accomplish something like that…but no wonder he smoked…I pound Nicorette.

If you’re glazing (dark and transparent over light) or scumbling (light and translucent over dark) you have to be an Action Painter at this phase despite the realism of the work, for there are patches of light in darkness and darkness in light. You need not be afraid of the way the Light shoots (zuschammen) into the darkness and the way the darkness climbs towards the light as in Milton:

Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn,
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
May I express thee unblam’d? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.

Constant glazing and scumbling. NO GOUACHE, as Daniel V Thompson, author of The Practice of Tempera Painting said, “we are not here to paint with poster paints, dammit.”

In The Lady’s Not For Burning the Lady says why was I born why did I give my mother pain. Why did you buy the pure white gesso canvas?

My painting series as displayed on wordpress are what Henry V would call “another Fall of Man” in th’old play when the King arraigns Cambridge, Scroop and Grey:

I will weep for thee;
For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like
Another fall of man.

I mean, generally speaking the earlier versions are better, and I care not, because it is Man’s Fate to Outsmart Himself. This painting has suffered less of a decline than my painting of the Holy Terror of Chattanooga, dancer, artist, activist Lana Sutton. That started out great and went to hell you ask me. I was lucky to preserve its grisaille.

And the intersecting glazes and scumbles are slowly fusing the thing. There is a single column of highlight that starts at the top of her head and goes all the way down, it’s her Soul, it’s her pillar of fire: but matching it is a single Shadow and a deep vermilion middle tone (that Vermilion I got in place of Cadmium Red, which sucks, is working out well).

Sir Joshua Reynolds would simply darken the background with tinted varnishes made of ground bones of Egyptian Mummies. Sir Joshua was an idiot and Benjamin West, the first real American painter, was way better.

Sfumato, the smokiness of tone that strangely makes form more and not less distinct. Leonardo strove for this in La Joconde but succeeded in Virgin on the Rocks.

Modern materials make his effects easy. The question is where the sfumato goes.

I’m thinking once in Italy of continuing to do the Grisaille in acrylic but the svelatura in oil. I’m up against the limitations of a petroleum byproduct. But I need to be more familiar with different oils and drying agents.

We admire a van Eyck because it has the appearance of a manufactured product: this is of a piece with the fact that, in Adorno’s reading of Odysseus and the Sirens, the old myths were a proto-science, a way of controlling reality. But the difference between what’s sitting in my flat and what you see is that in the actual art object there’s a piece of me, a secondary Soul in the Buddhist sense. A sort of Buddhist, I believe that living things have souls, and that first-order handicrafts have a secondary soul. Whereas, as I discovered to my dismay as a software engineer, technology is always such a collective venture as to be a sarcophagus, the trace of dead souls.

A new way of authenticating artworks has been found: the artist’s fingerprints as verified from a known attribution where all of most of the fingerprints are known to be his. Perhaps also fragments of sweat, blood and tears, that is, DNA.

We cleanse our world of aura, the human stain, and wonder why we’re so discontented. Mediaeval man on the other hand prized the skin and bones of saints as holy relics. Perhaps even piss and shit, we don’t know.

Keeping everything transparent & translucent has preserved the nobility of the line drawing. That’s all one can do. Richard Strauss risked his life protecting his Jewish grandchildren during the War and went on to write Four Last Songs. I can draw a line in the sand and preserve it, highlight it, glorify it. Unum necessarium.

When I stop painting and photograph the painting for upload here I usually do a Hitler Video, fuming with rage. This is because anything to do with technology fills me with anger. All programmers seem like incompetent little lower-middle class dweebs, probably because I wasted so much time programming. That little “rainbow spinner” on the Mac really, really sets me off. I gotta cool it since my landlord doesn’t like it when he hears me raging.

I knew it long ago. I might not have talent but I gots duende, the magic fire, up the ass: unlike some art students I have something to “say”, a “vision thing”. Dang, one leg is still bigger than the other (needs to be adjusted in the old style, glazing and scumbling, like Wellington at Waterloo): but every time I look at the damn thing that gal LEAPS out. It expresses for me the fact that I’ve been leaping as an hart ever since I left my kids thirty years ago, as if my ex wife cursed and blessed me at one and the same time: he will run and not stop running hee hee until he wises up. Which he won’t.

Go straight for the feeling, the jugular, the bone. Learn tricks of the trade but don’t worry about them too much. Every time we know we feel every time we feel we know: this is University of Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s point in Upheavals of Thought: a physical feeling is identical to a physical fact but an emotional feeling is based on what we believe to be true. “I have a headache” is different from “I am sad that my father has died” because if in fact your father has not died, your sadness would go away…whereas the fact of the headache is ONE fact.

Therefore in any image or text there’s a sort of grisaille backstory, the emotional trace. Shakespeare’s life story isn’t known in detail but we get a good feeling from it, because he left his wife and kids and succeeded as an entrepreneur whilst ripping Early Modern English a new asshole. Of course, jagoffs like Emmerich, being jagoffs, like to destroy this trace in that new movie Anonymous. They confuse knowledge with lack of feeling.

The ancients knew this. It wasn’t history if it didn’t either edify or instruct through pity and terror. The modern, scientific (or pseudo-scientific) distinction between emotion and cognition was to them unknown.

Therefore I think I’ve communicate a feeling. And without being “painterly” or overtly clumsy in the modern way. I love Matisse and Leroy Nieman, the guy who paints the Super Bowl, ain’t all bad, but never wanted to paint like them.

Which probably means I should. Sometimes I do. We have to turn ourselves inside out.


State of Peter’s Crazy Aunt as of 31 Dec (Start of Grisaille)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Detail of State of ‘Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt as of 31 Dec 2011′, acrylic grisaille on canvas 60 *80 cm”

Edward G. Nilges, “State in-situ of ‘Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt as of 31 Dec 2011′, acrylic grisaille on canvas 60 *80 cm”

Because I suck at photography I cannot communicate accurately what happens when I start to highlight her face, the sky, her body with purest white. Nonetheless I have commenced the grisaille phase. I find it so magical.


Yes, in the beginning God created the heaven and earth, and Ihr Sprache, let there be light. I can only celebrate this through mimesis. Beats working.

This re-enactment of the Apollo 8 Christmas message is kitsch, but one nice thing about being one of Edward Said’s “disobliging old gentleman” is that you don’t have to worry about going “through” Kitsch, around the moon (like Munchshausen) to the other side where things “shoot” (zuschammen) into the mirror writing.

This clip mythologizes the romance (sad story) of the divorced technical male who, from either the complexity of what he does, or state secrecy at places like Lockheed, cannot speak of what he does or accomplishes to his children (seinem Kinder) and is, like Mike Douglas’ character in Falling Down, on the dark side of the moon. It tugs at the heart-strings because you want the children and “that wretched Anne, thy wife” to see you on the TV in front of which they parked themselves so long ago.

Besides, they really did go, didn’t they. One of the oldest conspiracy theories is that it was a simulacrum, and this was believed by a bitter, twisted and prematurely aged philosophy graduate student of my acquaintance after he failed to get his dissertation completed.

The common element of conspiracy theories, apart from the logical fallacy of unfalsifiability (for the conspiracy theorist can at one and the same time appeal to documents and call inconvenient documentary evidence a fabrication), is the denial of suffering, struggle, death and victory in the name of the triviality of the flaneur.

It is inconvenient to some clown who can’t get his act together that Shakespeare did, leaving his wife to start a business and at the same time creating the greatest works of the English language.

It is inconvenient to some on the island that I live, artists who cannot draw the human figure, editors who cannot write a complete sentence above a low upper bound of complexity, and earth lovers who can’t walk to the pub, that I climbed Mt Stenhouse with a mate, so in the dysfunctional site it was bruited that I just didn’t.

It is an Inconvenient Truth that, while the neocons evilly chose to exploit 9-11, a collapsing building does blow out what looks to idiots like explosions and are merely cement, concrete and the souls of men and women squashed like fucking bugs…thanks to our abandonment of Afghanistan and military presence in Saudi Arabia.

It is an Inconvenient Truth that we’ve fucked up the earth so much as possibly to change even plate tectonics (cf Global Catastrophe, a Brief Introduction, Oxford).

It is an Inconvenient Truth that Jews were murdered by people like us who sit in fancy restaurants in gracious arrondissements and locate Evil in the Other.

In a sense, in the rejection of a father by a son, there’s this element of conspiracy theory.

Therefore I leave like the astronauts this trace. I trust that Chinese Taikonauts, when they arrive on the Moon in 2020 will not even if ordered to do so by some clown in the Party eradicate the footprints in the still Moon dust made by Neil and Buzz and the gang. That’s because the Chinese are good people.

Happy New Year. Listen!! Glenn Gould compared the slow elaboration of the tune, like the creation of a galaxy, to Hindemith. It is a mind blower to which I have danced alone on our football pitch on Lamma Island.

Slow elaboration and refinement, for its own sake, is how the artist participates in Creation. What’d Jackson Pollock say? “I am nature”.

Edward G. Nilges, “State of ‘Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt as of 31 Dec 2011′, acrylic grisaille on canvas 60 *80 cm”

“Chloris eram quae Flora vocor” (I am Cloris who was Flora called)

There shall be colors, anon, even as Cloris brought color into the world.

Perdita, or, Detail of Peter’s Crazy Aunt Cartoon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Perdita, Detail of Cartoon for Peter’s Crazy Knucklehead Flibbertigibbet Aunt Dances to Bach, and the Zydeco Music of Clifton Chenier, on the Strand”, pencil, pen, Dec 2011

‎”I am ashamed: does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it?”

Shakespeare: The Winter’s Tale

Leontes, in his madness, was jealous of his good wife, Hermione. He cast her aside but she was hidden by good Paulina. He sent his daughter Perdita away to be abandoned to the elements. But Perdita was saved by a good shepherd, and the counselor who abandoned her was chased and eaten by a bear.

Years passed, and Leontes’ royal friend’s son fell in love with a Shepherd Girl who was none but Perdita. She was reunited with her father, who was then brought by good Paulina to see a statue of Hermione. But the statue was no statue, it was instead Hermione, standing quite still.

Music played and Hermione descended to be reunited with Leontes and Perdita. There was great rejoicing in the kingdom, and lemme tellya something: they lived happily ever after.


Peter’s Crazy Knucklehead Flibbertigibbet Aunt : line, chiaroscuro & color studies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Line study for Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt Dances to Bach, and the Zydeco Sounds of Clifton Chenier, on the Strand”, 10 Dec 2011, pencil, pen, A4 size

Edward G. Nilges, “Chiaroscuro study for Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt Dances to Bach, and the Zydeco Sounds of Clifton Chenier, on the Strand”, 10 Dec 2011, pencil, pen, Gimp for white highlights, A4 size

Edward G. Nilges, “Colour study for Peter’s Crazy Flibbertigibbet Knucklehead Aunt Dances to Bach, and the Zydeco Sounds of Clifton Chenier, on the Strand”, 10 Dec 2011, pencil, pen, Gimp for white highlights. colored pencil, A4 size

Mama Kanumba 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Mama Kanumba Takes the Kids to Power Station Beach in 2011″, 4 Sep 2011, pencil and pen, A4 size

When Things…roll out of reach
It is high time, I think,
To take the Children to the Beach.
So they can play and they can sing,
And dance around in a ring,
And, when evening falls they may creep
Home to their sandy crunchy Bed in which to Sleep

Edward G Nilges 5 Sep 2011. Moral Rights asserted, so sod off.


Peter’s Crazy Aunt (c) Sets the Ballet World On Its Ear

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Peter’s Crazy Aunt Sets the World of Ballet On Its Ear”, pen, pencil and Gimp, 7 Aug 2011

Samson and Delilah by Rubens? An art appraisal adventure

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 22, 2011 by spinoza1111

A friend on Facebook asked for comments about this painting of the story of Samson and Delilah, which is said to be by Rubens.

Here are my comments before and after I looked up references on the Web.

Comments on Facebook Made Before Research

It is probably an early Rubens for in it is preserved the exactitude of earlier Flemish Painting. The highlighting “too” precise, the paint laid on with smaller brushes, the oils used stiffer and more resinuous. My guess is that here Rubens painted a grisaille underpainting to model lights and shades. Looks backward to Van Eyck and not forward to Van Dyck.

May be a forgery since Rubens not known to have started with an old Flemish style. Doesn’t have the feel of a true Rubens such as his celebrations now in the Louvre of Marie de Medici’s useless life (as PJ O’Rourke, the American conservative humorist, called it).

“Rubenesque” nymphs celebrate Marie de Medici’s Useless Life: note looser and more “painterly” style, obvious indication of a brownish ground as opposed to a gesso ground, more fat less muscle, etc.

Samson and Deliliah is not Rubenesque save in the treatment of Samson’s arm. The back fails completely. It doesn’t show Rubens’ knowledge of anatomy: there is a mysterious bulge instead of a shoulder blade and the back ripples pointlessly down to this clown’s useless ass.

But, the barber and the serving maid are more Rubenesque in the sense of genre which however was widely popular in Flemish and northern painting from the late Middle ages and in the Low Countries and Spain in the 17th century. Rubens like Veronese sometimes used a proto-genre style to paint “low” characters.

Do not bid high on this painting.

Comments on Facebook Made After Research

Aha, after writing the above, I found that there is indeed some doubt about this being a Rubens: it might be a Honthorst!

See I had NOT known of this link when I wrote the above.

You see, after the turn of the 17th century, “northern” painting consists in art history of two schools: Dutch and Flemish. But the Flanders school disappeared later in the 17th century because “Flanders” was incorporated into France. It later (much later) was disgorged and became Belgium as of 1830.

Whereas there was not a lot of “Dutch” painting proper prior to 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia which ended BOTH the Thirty and the Eighty years’s war, the latter being the Dutch war for independence.

Many ordinary and run of the mill Dutch painters preserved the precision of Jan van Eyck of the 15th century whereas the “southern northern” school of northern art was more influenced as was Rubens by the looser techniques of the Venetians of the early 16th century.

Van Eyck started with a white gesso ground and did a precise grisaille (black and white) underpainting in oil and or tempera and used perhaps one or two glazes of brilliant and translucent oil paint. Whereas the Venetians started with a brownish prepared canvas and then used what Titian called “svelatura, trente o quarante” (glazes, thirty or forty) to intensify, deepen and highlight the dramatic effect.

The Eighty Years war and Dutch voyages of exploration, and early capitalism, caused the Dutch bourgeois to rise and by the late 17th century they constituted the primary market for art as opposed to the aristocrats further south. The Dutch bourgeois (rather like modern Chinese collectors) wanted “value for their money” in brilliant trompe l’oeil effects reminiscent of van Eyck.

Whereas aristocrats were somewhat more appreciative of the entrepreneur artist who wanted his painting to be seen simultaneously as an image and a painting with his own signature, inimitable (and higher priced) style. For the Venetians of the late 16th and early 17th century this was the proto-painterly, looser style of Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), Veronese and Tintoret (Tintoretto) which looks forward to Spanish painting of the 17th century, Goya and the Impressionists.

For private French collectors of the 17th century this was the obscurity and complexity of Poussin’s iconography.

Rubens, we know, followed as did van Dyck the “southern” and Venetian style (southern only relative to Holland). This was of necessity since during their lifetimes, primarily in the first half of the 17th century, Holland while prospering hadn’t evolved a full market in art: van Dyck in fact threw his fortune in with the Stuarts in Great Britain and is well known for his paintings of Charles I and his useless relations.

Bourgeois ignorant about art but who want to invest their swag prefer polish and finish because they are tone deaf to Higher Things: I note that the newly rich of China seem, in Hong Kong galleries, to want even in the case of abstraction the appearance of elegance and labour: even the sides and sometimes the rear of paintings are finished.

Which is why the “northern, van Eyck” style made me suspicious that this was a Rubens and my suspicions are confirmed since there are doubts about the provenance.

The art market today, like most other monkeyshines of the super goddamn rich, takes money away from starving children of Somalia and wastes it on fraud, and this may be an example (a friend recently said wait a minute, if we can relieve their famines with massive aid, how come we cannot feed them and give them land and seed BEFORE the famine, a simple question that needs to be asked).

Fraud gets easier and easier as more and more collectors are more and more ignorant of art technique and the political history of Europe. It creates careers for fraudsters, forgerers and other riff raff (whom an intelligent art appraiser friend calls “the art swine”) and opportunities for honest consultants who can see that the emperor has no clothes.

Grand Jeté?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by spinoza1111

Edward G. Nilges, “Grand Jeté?”, pencil, pen, Gimp, A4 size, 24 April 2011

Based on a nude figure study which is probably too “out there” to post on WordPress even with a warning. Actually, this type of “Jeté” is more characteristic of male dance (Corsaire & Spartacus): the female is a midair split.

Again, I use neither a photograph nor a model, instead memory and my own kinesthesthia based on my own sports and dance training. Figurative art today, to be considered of gallery quality in a major city, has to be hyper-quality, almost hypertrophied just to be acceptable to collectors.

This isn’t, but I need to follow the flaw as it were. Her forearms are too skinny and she has Scissorhands for a reason. Perhaps she’s that poor girl in Black Swan who was a 19th century artiste in a world that has “normalized deviance” – the movie basically accepts the idea that a male ballet impresario who is not gay will demand sexual favors of his girls, and the movie even shows how this could be integrated into the artistic process.

The guy in Black Swan isn’t a bad guy at all. Just a guy.

But Natalie Portman’s character will have nothing of it and is sacrificed to the machine which has produced her schizophrenia.

My take away is that I must keep on creating, writing silly poetry, taking acting jobs that don’t pay, and painting, as an end in itself. I am so “lamely and unfashionable” as a 61 YO white guy that I shall probably see no money and success from these efforts. My hope is that we all survive global warming and my sons benefit from post-humous fame as did Theo van Gogh’s children benefit from their crazy uncle’s work.

Another possibility is that like Picasso in th 1910s I overidentify with wretched traveling saltimbanques and eroticise my own troubles. Picasso’s student drawings show a rare facility and he could have made a comfortable living if he’d settled down in Madrid with a nice girl, and painted portraits of the bourgeois and nobility. Instead, he seems to have realized as did Mahler that his very skill with the basics of his art (representation in visual art, tonality in music) was an undeserved end-point of artistic-musical development commencing with Giotto and Josquin des Prez.

My goal therefore is to somehow preserve the pain of the flawed hand in a perfect hand.

Abstraction? Just too hard. I could never do what Pollock or Franz Kline did. I run out of ideas, I need nature. I’m serious. Doing a Pollock was brutally hard work, and I don’t blame the guy for smoking unfiltered Camels and boozing it up. Pretty girls by contrast are easy.

Just remember your anatomy, which I studied while flunking out of high school. The femur is buried in upper thigh musculature. The lower leg bone is visible and creates a shadow in front of the calf. And so on.

Hmm…when I do the Leonardo “mirror test” (da Vinci recommends looking at your drawing in a mirror to find flaws: on the computer, just use a drawing program to Flip Horizontal) the drawing looks correct but it also looks like she’s not leaping, but falling. We Americans are still trying to deal with September 11. But I’m going to stop right there. For now.


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