Tuesday, March 31
The showcase photo this week has been one of my all time favorite projects and dates back to when I was in the 8th grade. It is a "wax resist" which is basically crayons and watercolor. It exemplifies the basic concept of how oil and water don't mix. I used day-glo crayons as well as regular box crayons, organic shapes as well as geometrics. The watercolor paint filled in any part of the paper that wasn't covered with the wax of the crayons. My teacher submitted this piece to the South Florida Fair and fortunately for me, I won a blue ribbon, 1st place award!! I got $100 for me, and also won $100 for my school! After the fair was over, my parents had it matted and framed, and it has been on their wall ever since!
Friday, March 27
Happy Friday!! Today is an exciting day because my new edition titled "Beatles '64" is being released!!
Each piece is a 20" x 20" giclee on acid-free paper, and I have spent some extra time hand-embellishing every one of them with silver accents! They look incredible!!
"Beatles '64" is an exclusive edition available only for "The Fest For Beatles Fans."
This is a very small edition, limited only to 10 pieces which makes it extra special. If you are interested in acquiring one, or need some more information, please call 516-823-0300.
Hope everyone has a great weekend! And don't forget, if you are in the neighborhood, go check out "The Fest For Beatles Fans" and Ronnie Spector!!
Tuesday, March 24
My love for The Beatles started around the age of thirteen or fourteen. Before that I was a huge fan of The Monkees and basically in love with Davy Jones. Because I collected so much Monkees paraphernalia, I actually owe my Beatles fandom to them!
My collection of stuff includes video footage of Davy Jones pre-Monkees. Davy began his career on the stage when he starred as the Artful Dodger in the Broadway musical Oliver. Coincidentally, the cast of Oliver performed on the same Ed Sullivan show as the Beatles' first appearance in February of 1964!
The Fab Four sang the now classic songs "All My Lovin'," "Til There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." So, naturally, loving that genre of music, I started collecting Beatles posters to decorate my room. Posters turned to collectible records and watches and eventually their faces showed up in my art. These 4 pieces above date way back to when I was about 15 or 16. In retrospect they are very primitive paintings, and notice there is no gray shading…just black and white and the background colors. Each painting is 16” x 20” which was an average size for me when I was in high school.
I know I am not alone in saying that the Beatles continue to be not only one of my favorite musical groups to listen to but also the subject of some of my favorite paintings.
Friday, March 20
One of the galleries that represents me always participates in "The Fest for Beatle Fans", as they specialize in classic rock art. A few weeks ago I was informed that I had been chosen to paint the Special Guest appearing this year... Ronnie Spector!!!
What an honor!! Ronnie Spector was the lead singer for the 60's girl group The Ronettes. Everyone knows (or should know) her most famous song, "Be My Baby." The sixties was an amazing time for music, and personally my favorite era (remember my parents always said I was born in the wrong decade).
At first I only knew Ronnie Spector from her famous song, but after researching and learning all about her, I realize she is a Rock 'N Roll icon and has been inducted into the Rock 'N Roll Hall Of Fame! If you are wondering what her connection to the Beatles is I can tell you a little bit of what I found out:
Ronnie was particularly close with both John Lennon and George Harrison.
The Beatles personally invited The Ronettes for their 1966 U.S. Tour, which turned out to be their final tour.
George Harrison wrote and co-produced “Try Some Buy Some” for Ronnie's Apple Records single. George liked it so much, he took the exact version, but with his vocals, and put it on his “Living In The Material World” album.
WHAT: The Fest For Beatle Fans
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Meadowlands Hotel - Secaucus, NJ
WHEN: March 27 -29, 2009
Ronnie is being welcomed as their SPECIAL GUEST for this FEST.
On Saturday and Sunday, Ronnie, will be speaking of her experiences, signing autographs, and showing that the "Beehived Bad Girl" still knows how to rock!
This painting of her (which will be completed soon!) will be presented to her during the fest, live on stage!! I wish I could be there but I am currently working on a secret project, which I still don't want to jinx by saying anything now. However, I will announce the big news in a future blog. Go check out "The Fest for Beatle Fans" if you are in the neighborhood and tell Ronnie I said hello!!
Tuesday, March 17
Happy St. Patrick's Day!! Erin Go Bragh!! I am reminded today of one of my favorite Irishmen, and fellow artists, Gene O'Shea.
Le me take you back to the Disneyana Convention of 2000 in Orlando, Florida. All the artists sat at tables in a room and met the ConventionEars and Disney fans as they made their rounds and collected autographs and dedications to the pieces of art they purchased. I had the wonderful fortune (or luck of the Irish, as it were) to sit next to a very talented glass sculptor for Waterford Crystal named Gene O'Shea. He had made a limited edition crystal Dopey figure for the convention. My contribution for the convention that year was a limited edition lithograph of the Evil Queen from Snow White titled, "With Malicious Intent." Gene was on a short visit to Florida from Waterford, Ireland. He came in just for the convention. We got along famously!! I have always been a lover of languages so I asked Gene to teach me some Irish (Gaelic) sayings and words. I just remember having the best time getting to know him and having a blast with him throughout the convention. In the photo above, you can see he is holding my page of the Collector's Book, while I am posing with his!
Ireland is a place I have not visited yet, but it is at the top of my list.
Saturday, March 14
Crunch Time can best be described as a period of time when I have deadlines and commission dues dates and all the paintings are on schedule. Then out of the blue, another thing pops up and I try to fit it in, and then something else changes and needs to be modified. In two words: Life Happens.
Tuesday, March 10
Last night, I was channel surfing and saw that Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner's ex-number-one-girlfriend, replaced Jewel on Dancing With The Stars. So today I thought I would share a little bit about the time that Holly and I had to actually SNEAK around part of the Playboy Mansion together, and ended up in one of the bedrooms!! It's all true, my friends, and I have witnesses and the photos (above) to prove it!!
About two years ago, Holly contacted me to do a surprise 80th birthday present for Hef. Hugh Hefner as many of you know is a big fan and collector of my artwork. I have painted his family over the years and done many other collaborative things with Playboy Enterprises. Anyway, Holly's idea was to have me paint the three (at the time) girlfriends which also included Brigid Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson, aka The Girls Next Door. Easy as it sounds it was actually quite tough to keep it a secret from Hef!
So I completed the three gold-leaf paintings and shipped them out to the Mansion. Coincidentally, I was travelling to Hawaii via California and hearing that I would be in town, Hef invited me over for dinner and a movie (a story I will keep for another time)! This was a perfect scenario because I would also be able to meet with Holly and the girls to show them their portraits before dinner and without Hef's knowledge. The paintings were "hiding" in one of the many closets in the Mansion. Holly led me through a few hallways and stairways covered with framed photographs of Hef and all his friends, and incredible collection to be sure! Hef works and hangs out often in the same area where the portraits were hidden so it was kinda funny to have to "sneak" around and try not to be seen. Finally Holly led me into the bedroom where the portraits were and we unpacked the boxes containing the paintings, which was no cakewalk either....these pieces were each 36" x 36" on canvas. Each of the girls LOVED their portraits. Holly was super excited to give them to Hef on his birthday! And if you are interested in watching how it went on Casablanca Night, you can download the episode of The Girls Next Door on iTunes...it's called Hef's 80th Birthday Bash. But like I said above, that evening at the Playboy Mansion was so eventful, I will share more about it another time.
Friday, March 6
Here's a look at one of the pieces I have been working on this week. I love painting Ray Charles...it is one piece that has so much movement. I am having second thoughts on the red background. At first I was feeling the red...but now that I have been living with it for a while, I may change the background to a cool blue. We shall see.
This week has been full of interesting new prospective projects and commissions. As they come to fruition I will fill everyone in, but I don't want to jinx anything!! All I will say is that I am very excited about ALL of them!!
Tuesday, March 3
My uncles have continued to live with and love this piece.