Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Painting: Back To

12" x 12"
Oil on Canvas Board

The second in the trompe l'oeil sketches I'm doing. These are lots of fun! Plan on seeing quite a few more. I may do some of them on a large scale, but not until the Greek and the major arcana of the Tarot series' are completed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

5 Theme Songs For When There's Trouble!

You've felt the pressure. You've known something was coming over the horizon and that the other shoe was about to drop. Maybe you were sneaking out of the house to buy cigarettes. Maybe you were running from a burning car. Perhaps you were trying to diffuse some volatile situation. Maybe you were actually trying to diffuse a bomb. Hell, maybe you're ex was holding a gun/knife/sledgehammer over your head and you needed to leap into action, Jedi-style!

When this happened, you probably froze. Let's be honest. We don't often manage to pull out our inner hero until it's too late. But it doesn't always have to be that way. Sometimes, you just need some musical motivation. Here are 5 theme songs that will help you out in any situation. Then, the next time you're in a jam just let your personal soundtrack play and you'll be leaping out of harm's way in no time.

1. The Theme to MacGyver
When I was younger, this was the tune I heard in my head whenever there was trouble. I was too young to carry a gun (MacGyver never used guns) so you had to come up with some creative alternatives. This was the music I heard when I got a flat tire, or when I needed to fix the broken soap dispenser so I wouldn't get into trouble with my parents, or when I dropped my keys into a sewer grate and needed to fish them out with a coat hanger and with some wadded up gum on the end. Got them out by the end of the song!

That's right. He made a missile launcher out of a pen! MacGyver was badass!!

2. "Elk Hunt" from Last of the Mohicans
You don't use this one lightly. Save this one for when shit pops off on an epic scale! When you're getting chased across the city by a biker gang, or when you're running down some brigand who just murdered a member of your family! Better yet, save it for when you or the person you love are about to jump off a cliff or something. Just be sure to yell, "I WILL find you!" That way, they can keep the faith.

Also, carry a spear or a tomahawk or something. Remember, this is some life changing shit about to happen!

3. The Imperial March (Darth Vader theme)
Sometimes things get really bad. Sometimes there is some trouble to avoid. Sometimes there's trouble so bad you want to cry. But sometimes YOU are the trouble. When you feel like you're messing up someone's day and it's giving you a case of the rigids, then this is the music for you. Play this on your internal mp3 player and people will get the hell out of your way! You can't help but walk like the Dark Lord of the Sith. I use this when I'm in the mall during the Christmas holidays. You should see those shoppers part like the Red Sea. Except for teenage girls. They don't give a damn about me and my badass walk. Frankly, they frighten me a little bit. They have way too much confidence for something that looks so frail.

4. Yakety Sax (The Theme From Benny Hill)
Dude, sometimes you just have to get the hell outta Dodge. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. When you're being chased by a hoard of scantily clad women then you had better ratchet up those gears and get some Yakety Sax going!

Once, during the Gulf War, I was lost from my partrol. My buddy Anton and I were in a terrible fix. I had one bullet left and he had none. We were like Owen Wilson in that movie nobody saw about him being behind enemy lines. I can't remember the name of the movie. I just know it was something about him being behind enemy lines. Anyway, just when we thought we were in the clear, we saw about a dozen men coming for us. Luckily they were out of bullets, too. But they still had machetes...or maybe they were axes. Ask Anton, he was there. Anyway, we were dead meat! But then Anton says, "you know what we need??? Some Yakety Sax!"
 And, sure as I'm standing here, we both stood up and hauled ass out of there! They were right on our heels! And they would have caught us, too. But the whole time we were whistling the tune from Benny Hill, and after about 3 minutes of running around in circles and around trees and through scrub brush and through an abandoned automated car wash, we managed to elude our chasers with but a few scratches. So, trust me when I say this works! Yakety Sax saved my life!

5. I Am the Doctor (The danger music from Doctor Who)
Where I used to listen to MacGyver in my head, now I only hear the Doctor's theme. This music works from the lightest of problems to the most dangerous of situations. Just remember, this isn't for when you're in trouble. This is for when you're rescuing someone from their own troubles!

You're wife is getting yelled at by her boss: you put this music on in your head, put on a long trench coat, scarf, cape, tuxedo or umbrella. Don't forget your sonic screwdriver. Kick open the door and solve everybody's problem in the blink of an eye. There might be some yelling, but mostly you're handling business!

You're man gets a flat tire in a bad neighborhood and some hoodlums start rousting him: get your floating metal dog, find a scooter that you can tweak so it goes 55mph, haul ass over to where he is and snag him. No deaths, but lots of bullets flying!

Watch 7 people die in a Wendy's from mysterious circumstances: Curse at yourself for a couple seconds, then declare "NOT ON MY WATCH!" Get on the intercom, make a quick speech, arrange some straws in a clever pattern, squirt some light waves through them and voila! You have just saved the day!

Your city is about to be invaded by the Chinese/Germans/Huns/New Zealanders and the National Guard will NEVER get there in time: You find a high place to stand, wait for the invaders to get close enough to hear your uplifted voice. You put this music on in your head, put your hands on your hips and tell the invaders that you love this land, and it's people and there is no way you're going to let them be hurt. Remind them that you've already defended the people from the Canadians/Lilliputians/Columbians/Great Pyreneesians and then give them one warning. Be sure to tell them that you are "The ________" I always say, "I'm The Angel"  but I've also heard people use "The Leopard," "The Sphinx," "The Gladiator," "The Marshmallow," and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

6. BONUS: For When You're Victorious!
And, at the end of the day, you are victorious. The danger is over. It's time to roll credits! None of these make great endings to a Jack Bauer-like day. You need some "pat yourself on the back" music. Trust me. No one is going to give it to you, so you've got to do it for yourself!

So,the next time you beat down the Young Turks, or escape some crack dealers, or force choke some whining do-gooder, or save your family from a gaggle of kidnappers, or hop onto the back of a submarine that, for some reason, never actually submerges, then this is the music for you! I may be statin' the obvious, but there is NO BETTER victory music in the universe!!

Now, you're armed with just about everything you need to have a victorious day. The world can be brutal, but I've just given you the tools you need to take it head on and win! You can thank me later. While I wait for your thanks, I'll consider this another victory for me. Cue the music!

"Da di da daaaaaaa. Da di daaaaaa. Da di di daaaaaa. Da di da di da...."

Did I miss any? Let me know if you hear your own music and what it is!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Note to People Who Can Swim

14" x 11"
Oil on Canvas

I have a note to people who can swim. But first, let me introduce the painting above. This is "Relax." I wanted to paint something that was just as the title describes...relaxing. What's more relaxing than a beautiful person lounging? Not much, my friends. Not much. I may turn this into a larger work, but I have plenty of larger works to complete. We'll see how it goes. Either way, I love just sinking my gaze into it. And the red-orange really helps with that. I almost added a little trompe l'oeil piece to it, like in the last one. But, I thought it would be distracting.

Alright, onto you swimmers.

This morning I went to the pool. I am a terrible swimmer. But the Tough Mudder is coming up fast and I have to jump from a 15' plank into a cold pool of water and then swim out of it. A week ago, that would have been my epitaph. "Here lies Geraud...stinking up the pool. Could someone please get him out of there."

But, I'm working on it. I'm trying. I'm an adult who learned to swim recently and I have to remember that for 40 years I could not swim. I can not expect to compete with Michael Phelps all of a sudden. Swimming is hard.

Not that you'd know it, looking at you people. You 'naturals.' You bastards who have been swimming since you were kids, just tadpoling around the pool like you were still in your mother's womb. Yes, I said womb! How do you stay afloat? How do you stay afloat and UPRIGHT??? Why do you not spit water every time you come up for air? How do you not sputter like your grandfather's 1962 Studebaker?

Grampa, why does the car smell like gasoline and lost dreams?
I watch you while you're swimming. Not in that stalker way, like my friend Who's-That who gets caught peering at people all the time, usually from around corners. No, I watch you in awe. You crawl over the water like a dolphin. Even the worst of you look like Poseidon next to me. I'm almost always surprised you don't come out of the pool with a trident.

But this morning, I felt it coming on. I was trying out the breaststroke (which you'd think would be my favorite, right?) at the recommendation of ZumBug and TheWife. I did that til I was tired and then finished up with a freestyle crawl. And it was magnificent! I was moving along the water like Aquaman. Granted, Aquaman with a broken arm carrying 17 cans of Starkist Tuna (packed in water, thank you) but still. Much better than the swimming koala that I was a few weeks ago.

Wow, Poseidon. Put some pants on. We can see your Kraken!
I shit you not, as I was swimming I heard:

"If I can see it then I can be it.
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it."

It was amazing. I felt like I was flying. It must be how flying feels.

"I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky."

I thought, I'm one of them. I'm one of the swimmers! One day, someone will look at me in the pool and be amazed and say, "I want to swim like that guy!"

"I think about it every night and day. I spread my wings and fly away.
I believe I can sore. I see me running through that open doo-oo-oor."

I was going to Forest Gump this thing. I was just going to keep swimming and swimming and maybe never stop. I was going to swim like there was...

Then, I took a huge gulp of water, went into a panic and realized that defeat tasted a lot like chlorine. I stood in the 5' deep section of pool, coughing and sputtering and trying not to make eye contact with the no-longer-bored lifeguard.

And I remember thinking, "I hate swimmers."

* * *
Did you have any trouble learning to swim? Any advice on how to teach a brick to swim? Put it in the comments!

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Painting: Eyes Open

11" x 14"
Oil on Canvas

There was a little downtime while I worked out some administrative things in the studio, but a new round of paintings is on the way, including the next tarot painting. The first one up is Eyes Open. I like the close up composition of this painting and will have quite a few more coming soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm Just Seeing Cabin in the Woods????

Let me start by painting a little fantasy for you:

Let's say that I am a producer of movies. And let's say Quentin Tarantino came in and asked me for some money for a movie. My reply would be: "Well, Q. You're sort of hit or miss. How about you send me the script, tell me who you have on board to star in your little feature, and a full budget. You're going to have to give me some serious evidence before I give you any money."

If M. Night Shyamalan came in and asked for money I wouldn't even talk. I'd stand up and punch him in the face. And as he was crawling away with blood pouring from his nose I'd say to the crowd, "That was for Avatar: The Last Airbender." I'm sure there would be applause.

But if Joss Whedon came in, he wouldn't even get to his first three words. I'd give that genius bastard every penny in my coffers. And then I'd rob a bank and send that his way as well. He could come in and say, "Hey Geraud, I'm thinking of writing a movie about a monkey turd that somehow comes to life and gains super powers and decides to save the monkey that "birthed" him from poachers."

For that, I would rob TWO banks.

"Great. Monkeys get to be the butt of the joke...again." Signed: Random Monkey.

I had my doubts about Cabin in the Woods. I mean, I love a good horror flick. I hate teen horror. I care about Jason Voorhees about as much as I care about what Celine Dion is doing these days. I thought Cabin was like that. I was SOOOOO mistaken.

Warning, Will Robinson. I won't spoil the end, but I think some of what's great about the movie is the twist on it and I WILL talk about that. If you don't want to know, STOP READING NOW.

Alright, now that those losers are gone, let's talk:

I was blown away by this movie, my friends. Partly because of Bradley Whitford. Love watching him react to things. I could watch a whole hour-long show called "What Did He Just Say?" In said show, Bradley Whitford's character would stand in a room and listen to people talk and he'd react to whatever they said. I'd watch all day long!

"Not for nothing, but I think it's statin' the obvious when I say that is a fine idea of a show."

The concept of this movie is pretty much this: YES, horror movies are crazy. They have to be. That shit is real!!! Every major nation of the world regularly tries to kill off a party of hapless teens. The ritual is important. Why??? Because it's the only thing that will appeal to some Cthulhu-esque gods buried under ground!! Of course!

Watching all the versions of horror movie monsters was fun. Watching the insane death scenes near the end was one of the greatest things in the universe. As of right now, my favorite scene in any movie is when the guards are all standing in the hallway between two walls lined with elevators. Their guns are drawn and they are hunting out heroes down. The elevators all ding. There is the perfect length of silence before all the doors open at once and a half dozen different kind of monster leaps out and kills everything in sight!

I giggle every time.

TheWife and I both laughed when Chris Hemsworth tried to jump his motorcycle over a gorge. So dramatic. So breath taking. So heroic. So...WALL!! SPLAT!

This one needs to go in the collection. Joss, my hat is off to you. You've done it again. I can't believe I waited so long to see it.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Ain't No Fortunate Son, Naw!

8" x 12"
Oil on Canvas Board

I am the slowest runner in the world. I don't mean the slowest running person in the world. I mean, slowest of all god's creatures. I'm 6'2" tall with legs that can kick you while you're in the neighbor's house. You'd think I'd run like a gazelle. And I can. A newborn gazelle, while it's just coming out of the it's mother, wobbling around like a drunk girl at a frat party.

"Some folks were born with wings on their feet
Practically sailing through the air.
But when you ask them to join you on a run
They just sit like a koala bear, ya'll.

That ain't me. That ain't me.
I'm out there running like a little snail.
That ain't me. That ain't me.
Though I look like a newborn gazelle. YAWW!"

So, lately I've been listening to music that goes 180 beats per minute. Ideally, according to professional runners (how does a guy get that job?)

(Self-editing note: Not by running a 14 minute mile)

...a 90 steps-per-second cadence is the best. I'll buy that. But for the record, that's lightening fast! So, I load up pod runner, get a 180 beat track called Thud and Blunder, and run 3 miles in 1 minute intervals. 1 minute of walking. Relief. Then, 1 minute of running like I was a replicant being chased by Harrison Ford.

Maybe we can get Shia Lebeouf for a Blade Runner sequel!

I'm sure it's good for me. It'll get my legs used to moving faster. It also helps my heart, right? I mean, what could be better for your heart than regularly shifting it from Jim Croce all the way up to Anthrax every 60 seconds???

I've got less than 2 months for the Tough Mudder. I can finally do a pull up, so that's progress. I'm swimming once a week at a pace that would make sea anemones laugh. But I can run 13 miles without stopping, so at least there's that. And did I mention: I can do a pull up! Boom!

"Some folks were built with muscles in their backs
To help them lift some heavy shit.
But when you ask them to help you to move,
Aww, the whine about a slipped disc, Lord.

That ain't me. It ain't me.
I'll move a few things, but then no more, naww.
That ain't me. It ain't me.
'Cause I did a pull up and now I'm sore. BLAWWWW!"

(Self-editing note: Do I have to pay royalties. now? And, can I trade-mark "Blawwww!")