Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Elvis and "cherry"

"cherry", 2009

"cherry", 2009

20" x 20", oil on panel

I've been thinking about why I consume so much bad pop culture while I paint. The best I can come up with is that I need a little "comfort food" while I'm nurturing a painting. The meticulous nature of how I paint diminishes some of the immediate energy found in other styles of painting. I like painting Alla Prima , but for me I feel that its like a playful prelude to the real work. My thinking is that anything that I can pop-off in a couple of hours doesn't have any real intrinsic value other than the experience of doing it . I get more fulfillment out of the painting process by "building" in layers. Maybe there's some sort of psychological component that won't allow me to fully immerse myself in something as immediate as painting in one sitting.

Or... maybe it's more fun to paint with Elvis.

Anyway, I listened to a lot of Elvis music ( all pre-'62 and post '68) while I painted stitches, glazed layers of umbers and crimsons, and noodled around with roses. I also played Blue Hawaii a few times ( I didn't want to miss any of that clever Presley subtext the first time around). In Blue Hawaii, "E" returns from the Army to Hawaii ( yeah, he's Hawaiian ... you know its an authentic native Hawaiian when the main character says "Wa-heen-eh" with a southern accent) to assume the role of heir to his father's pineapple plant. Here we see another classic Elvis movie theme involving conflict with his "Daddy" ( I love it when I hear a grown man refer to his father as "Daddy").

We saw Elvis attempt to overcome the embarrassment of his loser father ( Dean Jagger from White Christmas ) in King Creole ( "you go to school Daddy!! I'm going out to make a buck!!"). In Clambake, we watched him "go underground" as a water skiing instructor in attempt to evade his responsibility of taking over his father's oil company. Oh, and Clambake also includes one of the greatest musical scenes EVER! This would be the scene where he restores a speedboat in 4 minutes with the aid of Will Hutchins, a bunch of hot girls, and Gary Merrill ( the cross-dressing / child beating drunk who married Betty Davis) with the aid of a chemical compound ( that Elvis invented) that improves the strength of speedboat hulls.

The "Dr." really knows how to make a pair of boots. You can walk in acid in these suckers.

Note: Always check on the bottom to see the words "Made in England" before you buy them. The ones made in Japan fall apart and are meant for fashion ( not action).

"cherry" ( close-up), 2009

I'm sending this painting out with a batch of smaller ones that I'm getting ready for a show in November at the Miller Gallery in Cincinnati. I'm also working on some things for a group show ( also in November ) at the Swan Coach House in Atlanta. Pin It Now!