Saturday, July 29, 2006

I haven't been blogging. I was in prison.

My first print. A two color linoprint. I dig it.

Ok, I wasn't really in prison. I haven't been around much these past 2 weeks because I've been spending my afternoons in Luxembourg taking a printmaking class, which thankfully is now over. During the great European heatwave of 2006 I have been keeping myself busy by spending 3 hours a day in a non-ventilated printshop playing with toxic chemicals.......which only served to reminded me of why I am a painter and not a printmaker.

Our little clothesline gallery in the Printshop.

The class consisted of myself, a 60 year old German guy, an 18 year old Luxembourgish girl, and four 12 year olds from God knows where. Yeah---weird bunch. But we all managed to make some damn nice looking prints and we tried to learn some solid techniques from our scatter-brained professor who was from one of those Eastern European countries that just joined the EU last week. Apparently wherever our professor is from, it's totally acceptable to drink 20 oz cans of beer while teaching adolescents to burn copper plates with acid. Seriously I think the poor guy was drunk during each of our 10 class sessions. Either that or he has the memory & attention span of a goldfish. On one occasion he actually started the sentence: "No matter what you do, make sure you don't......" -----and then he just walked away. Did I mention he did this right before I was about to drop my aquatint plate into the acid bath? Anyway, I successfully burned the plate. No one got hurt. Just a big cloud of smoke and some coughing and gagging. One of the before mentioned 12 year olds almost passed out. French kids are such pussies.

Combination Linocut & Monotype.

I only made 3 prints. I don't love any of them, but I picked up some skills I can use in future projects. I plan on using linocut to print this small series of handmade books I've been putting off for almost a year now. And most importantly, I realized that I did not miss my calling as a great printmaker. I now have a whole new level of respect for people who have based their careers on this medium.

My messy work-desk and a bottle of poison varnish.
First of all----I hate all the gross lethal chemicals you have to use for some of the techniques. I'm just gonna be real with you-I do not want to die for my art. Secondly, I don't have the patience for all that crap! All the coating and waiting and rinsing and drying and....oh just screw it! It takes too long! It took me 6 hours to make the print below which basically looks like 3 levitating labias. Whatever.

Itaglio & aquatint with a bit of point-seche added. Whatever, I call it floating vaginas.

Back to the canvas I go.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lost in Zurich

I haven't posted in almost a week and I feel horribly guilty. So just to fill in the blanks, here are some photos from my 4 day trip to Zurich.

Zurich is pretty at night.

" I love taking the tram!"
Afternoon boat ride.

My swollen feet.

And last but not least, a random photo of Wienerschnitzel.

Verdict: The whole time I was in Zurich I kept thinking I was in the G-rated version of Germany. Zurich is nice and clean and pretty, but it's obscenely over-priced and quite frankly I prefer a liitle filth every now and then.
I give it a solid 6 on a scale from 1-10.
Better luck next time Switzerland!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Obligatory post about the World Cup Final.

Woman: May the best team win!

Man: You obviously don't understand anything about football.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I saw the Tour de France...and not just on TV.

Monday, after an exhausting weekend in Paris, I waited all alone out in the blazing sun to see the Tour de France roll through our city. The newspaper stated that they would arrive at between 2-4PM. Very precise indeed! So I headed out early and waited and sweated and waited some more.

Before the riders arrived there was something resembling a parade….except all the floats were mostly decorated SUVs which were blasting weird French pop-music. To add to the insanity, as the SUVs were flying by, they were actually throwing out free promotional gifts such as CDs, hats, and candy at the waiting crowds.

Call me crazy, but getting nailed in the face by a bag of pretzels flying directly at 50-60 kilometers an hour seems just...shitty. So when they passed me I ducked. But a nice drunk guy behind me gave me his bag of pretzels….and it was a good thing he did because I was left waiting there for another hour or so before the riders arrived and I needed a snack.

At 4:20 they biked on in. I saw them for exactly 15 seconds before they were nothing more than a hot blurry memory. Those guys REALLY move! Everyone cheered and clapped and then went home with whatever loot they had managed to score.

Lance Armstrong or not (He's a republican anyway.), I was happy to get to see the Tour de France. Although I probably would have gotten a better view had I just stayed home and watched it on TV.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Versailles is ghetto.

This past weekend My Favorite French boy and I took his parents to Paris on the new TGV train as a retirement/birthday gift for the two of them. They were delighted of course. They hadn’t been to Paris since in almost 10 years.

Saturday afternoon we spent shopping every floor at Le Printemps looking for good deals during Les Soldes. We didn’t have much luck and the heat was killing us so we headed over to Pont Neuf which besides being famous for being wrapped by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, also happens to be in a key scene from one of my favorite action movies.

In The Bourne Identity, Bourne he calls into the CIA group monitoring him and sets up a meeting at Pont Neuf which crosses half of the Seine at Île de la Cité.

During the scene Matt Damon is standing atop the Samaritaine Store on the viewing platform peeking out from behind the letters. After seeing the film about a hundred times I just had to go see it for myself.

“5:30 PM. Paris. Today. Pont-Neuf. Come alone.”
I just love that line!

The French In-laws have no idea who Matt Damon is, but they enjoyed seeing the bridge anyway.

From Pont-Neuf we took an insanely hot, 11 euro boat ride down La Seine to the Eiffel Tower and promptly bought ice cream before heading back to the hotel for dinner.

We were just finishing dinner when we heard the entirety of Paris explode into celebration as France defeated Brazil in the World cup.

We skipped dessert and immediately headed over to the Champs Elysees to join the not-so-angry mob that had formed there. There were horns honking, people chanting and screaming, and large groups of total strangers draped in French flags spontaneously bursting into rousing renditions of the French national anthem.

The French In-laws were absolutely delighted. French Mother-in Law actually sang “On est les champions!” all the way back to the hotel. (Translated: “We are the champions”. But not to be confused with “We are the champions” by Queen.)

I forget how beautiful Paris is at night. The entire boulevard was aglow with happy Frenchies from La concorde to the Arch de Triomph. I must admit it was quite thrilling to be there. We walked about half way to the arch before heading home.
But it wasn’t us that got arrested for setting those cars on fire.
Our second day in Paris we visited Versailles. Now I understand why people say never to visit Paris in the summer.

There were swarms of people at Versailles. We headed over early, but it didn’t matter. We sent French Father-in-law to cut in line and buy tickets instead of waiting for 2 hours in line. (We're French after all. Rules are made for other people.) Once we had our tickets and our nifty headsets we headed in.

Now for everyone of the MTV generation that has visited Versailles the tragedy is that the whole time you’re in there you can’t help thinking that the inside of Versailles reminds you a bit of Master P’s house on MTV Cribs. (And don’t ack like you ain’t seen that episode.)

It was just surreal. The whole place suffers from a serious case of what we today would call “O.G.”---Over Gold.

Maybe my brain was boiling from the heat, but Versailles was a bit “ghetto”

The coolest discovery of course being that Louis the XIV has the same clothing stylist as Prince. Don't believe me? Witness the shoes.

All joking aside, the interior of Versailles is really wonderful. We had a great time.

Of course everyone knows that the gardens at Versailles are the real reason to visit. They are absolutely extraordinary!

And while you're exploring the garden paths you can listen to the Opera music that plays on speakers throughout the grounds. It really does add a touch of ambiance to the entire experience. In spite of the heat it was just lovely. You could wander around for hours and hours through all the mazes of shrubbery, but since the bottled water costs 3 euros, I advise against it.

It took us about 6 hours to see the about 50 percent of Versailles. If it weren’t 8 million degrees that day we might have stayed longer. The fountains were just that glorious. It may have been the heat but I swear I heard sirens singing.

The following photos just about summarize our trip to Versaille:

"I'm getting sunburned but I don't know it yet!"

"It's too hot! I'm melting."

"I wonder if I can get my garden to look like this."

"No, Seriously I'm gonna die from the heat & this statue on my head!"

"Putain! My camera batteries are dead!"

"I'm dead. Happy now?"

"I'm still dead. See?"

"Ahhhh. Cold water on feet! Good! Can we go home now?"

And then we went home.

The End.