Sunday, September 12, 2010
8" x 10"
oil on wood, 2010
Every painting’s a little different, this one’s a bit more. I was thinking about van Gogh when I was making it… Of course I wasn’t, —painters just say that, but what they’re really thinking about is how famous this new painting is gonna make them, or more likely: they’re just think about sex* — I was actually not thinking as much about van Gogh but more about van Gils. Bas van Gils that is, a fellow painter, my good friend during our college years. We lost contact for more than a decade but now suddenly, through Facebook (what else), we connected again. There are several reasons why I was thinking about him when I was making this painting, and why this painting is a little different from some of the others:
1. The song illustrated in question comes from the film The Darjeeling Limited. Like the three heroes in the film, I happened to be on a train heading towards Darjeeling, and Mr. van Gils was sitting next to me. This was in 1991.
2. In college I considered Bas to be my mentor. When I think he will review the painting I’m working on, I’m trying extra hard.
3. He is the one that introduced me to all this fantastic music being made everywhere in the whole wide world. Not the least: India.
No, this painting isn’t anything like van Gogh. The swirvy, curly brushmarks may remind one to those of van Gogh but it’s all trickery. Most marks aren’t even made with a brush but with a Q-tip!
After offering my own critique, I like to offer my own defense as well:
1. Even though a lot of the surface quality is achieved through techniques, it was the first time I experimented with said techniques. The whole process is a new one, new to me at least.
2. As always I refrained from any mechanical reproduction techniques. Everything’s freehand.
3. Who cares what techniques are used when the dude looks just like Ustad Vilayat Khan; the serenity as well as joyfulness radiates from his face.
*A German, an American, and a Dutchman were standing in front of the Niagara Falls. They asked each other what they were thinking about and the German first replied: “I think about how powerful a human can be. Looking at these falls mekes me feel like I can do anything.” Then the American: “I’m humbled by the experience. One realizes that in the magnitude of creation we are just a tiny little particle. It makes me respect nature and God.” The Dutchman then said: “I think about sex”. “Why?” the others asked in unison. “I always think about sex!”