Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some movies, quickly

I don't see movies as much as I used to. But thanks to netflix, I do still see movies. Here's a few quick hits on stuff watched recently, and watched via netflix, unless otherwise noted. In no particular order:

The Visitor. From the same guy who made the terrific The Station Agent a few years ago, this is the same kind of fine, fine movie: thoughtful, funny, with intriguing characters you care about.

Slumdog Millionaire. Liked it; didn't love it. Watched the day after the Visitor, and the differences in characterization were sharp; fast, beautiful, and yes, moving, but not because I particularly cared about the characters, who were pretty generalized. Glad I saw it, but not a movie I'll return to. As far as Danny Boyle goes, my favorite movie is Millions.

Up. Saw this in the theater. Great fun and adventure, maybe a little darker than most Pixar stories, but it was funny and beautiful, and weird as a non-Tarzan Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Can't remember the last time I saw a Woody Allen movie, but liked this one well enough, with its Barcelona backdrop and great work from Bardem and Cruz. A little chilly and abstract, especially with the voiceover, but I liked it fine.

To Catch a Thief. Caught this one recent evening on TCM; an overlooked Hitchcock for me. I knew I'd seen it, but couldn't remember the way it ends. So we watched it for the stylish Grant and Kelly and the Riviera, and had a great time. Light as a feather and just as ticklish. Was watching for the float scene, the picnic scene, and the fireworks scene, and stayed on through to the end.

Nine Queens. Really enjoyable little con/heist/caper flick from Argentina. Funny. Highly recommended.

I see from the TV listings that both Rio Bravo and The Princess Bride, two of the most re-watchable movies ever, are on tonight, but I'll be watching the MLB All Star Game. We have them both on DVD, but there's still something special about coming across something you love on broadcast.

Ghost Town. Really enjoyable little film in the screwball tradition with great Gervais, Leoni, and Kinnear. Leoni reminds of Grant in Bringing Up Baby.

Cadillac Records. Some great performances and period detail, but still comes across as a pretty standard Hollywood musical biopic kind of dealie. Great music, of course.

In Bruges. Dark, funny, twisted, over the top. Two hit men hiding in Bruges after a botched job, waiting for orders from the boss. Great work from the three mains.

So there you go, a few capsuley reviews from a sporadic movie watcher.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The spirit of Ed Wood Blogathon

I'm a little late to this, but when I thought about how some of my b movie paintings are based on images from an Ed Wood film, I realized I could take part. I'm not going to break my policy of not naming the public domain films I use, but I will say that this, this, and this all come from a single Ed Wood movie. Bevare, bevare, bevare....

Small Driveway

1998, oil on canvas, 24x32in. Private collection, Cleveland, Ohio.

This was not really a study, or something done in preparation for the larger version, but instead it was something I executed quickly while the larger work was in progress. Even though it's also from memory, it has a more naturalistic, offhand feel than the big painting, so I think it was just a matter of following an urge I didn't follow in the other version.

An old question

"A painting is done when it no longer gives you a pain in the ass."

--Wolf Kahn, in a nice little interview here. I love looking at photos of other artists' studios.

Courtesy, again, of a blog linked to at the right, About Last Night, which I call Terry Teachout and Friends.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


1997-9, oil on canvas, 66x78in.

One of the biggest paintings I've ever made, after a friend gave me this collossal set of stretcher bars he'd salvaged from his job as an art mover. I think they'd belonged to Jim Dine or somebody and he was tossing them. Anyway, I worked on this for a few years, at about the same time I was working on the smaller still life paintings. This was kind of a machine for me, a synthesis of the memory-based landscapes and the observational still lifes, and while making it I was thinking all the time of Matisse's large decorative works from the early teens or so.

The image is a scan of a slide, which doesn't always work too well, I've found.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


2005, pastel, @8x6in.

sunshine on the floor of a child's bedroom

I don't often blog like this, but I really like this almanac entry, at Terry Teachout's weblog.

I had to look up Mauriac, a French poet and Nobel winner. I ain't no poet, but I do identify with the impulse he describes. I guess it aligns pretty neatly with the reasons I paint. It's nice when something hits you like that.

Probably also it hits home for me because I'm a father, so I'm remembering childhood sensations through the example of my son, and also because I've been considering older work and it's link to the impulses behind the current work.

So, thanks to the busy and good Mr. Teachout.