Thursday, October 28, 2004

And the Red Sox Win the World Series...

A few rather normal days of work. Started a new job, a complete interior. Looks like it will go smoothly. A bit weird as the guy sleeps all day and we have to keep the noise down until he gets up at around 3 pm. No color scheme, everything is going white. Today was a bit of running around. Picked up a stretcher (for a canvas) from a carpenter and took it to an artist. Back at the job I convinced Mike to help me with a little bit of exterior work that I needed to get out of the way. A trip to the paint store to make sure the guys would be well stocked, since I won't be there tomorrow. Met Meredyth to hang a piece but we didn't really know how it should go... (twigs, tied together to represent an abstracted running man... three pieces... head arms and legs. The museum hadn't sent the photo back and the client wasn't available so we postponed until next week. Just as well, the ladder I'd brought wasn't appropriate. Some banking and a quick stop at the Plough, where the talk was all Red Sox. I'm not really a sports guy... but I'd watched all the final games. Hey, Boston has waited 86 years for this... hard not to pay attention. We've been so close and dissapointed over the years, it's become part of the city's zeitgeist. What are we going to do, now ???

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Weekend...

Saturday Syl wanted to go looking for collage material... she thought of the antique/junk shops up in Essex, so off we went. Cruised past a few yard sales that didn't look like much. Had a big old seafood lunch a Woodman's Then slogged through a couple of dusty shops where Syl found some of what she was looking for. Stopped by a wine store that was having a sale on the way home... I had to convince the cashier that port was in fact wine and deserved the 20% discount. The Red Sox won.
Sunday... my normal walk over to the Plough... Julian and I finished up both crosswords. I stayed way too long and ended up taking a cab home. The Red Sox won again.
Today was pretty low key. I started out visiting Marlene and tried to touch up a few things... dogs all over the place. I then went to meet Paul in Weston to sand a put a first coat of paint on two dressers. One pint at the Plough and I was home to sort through some photographs looking for pictures of Bern Porter for a Commemorative Issue of something. I'd just learned that he'd passed away... by chasing links via floberlob. I did find a couple that might be useful... as well as some photos of stenciled stuff to send to Fan Mail. Received my swap from Swapatorium... good stuff and a great crossed out sort of recycled letter. And on we go...

Friday, October 22, 2004

And the Week Goes By...

Pretty much a normal (abnormal) week of work. Several presentations with an art consultant. Load up the van, drive it over to the client, unwrap things, hold them to the wall as the art consultant tries to flog them off to the client, wrap them back up again and return to the point of origin. One nasty installation job... they wanted the work hung by cable from a picture rail... never works as nice as one would like, the pictures always lean forward. Posh house that was... with several decorators or such worrying over the color of the cables. Lots of driving around to different job sites... delivering ladders, paint and searching for odd bits of hardware. Dealt with a painting that needed to be shipped to Arizona. After wrapping it myself I decided to give it to a shipper rather than build a crate...good that I did as the crate would have been too big for UPS or FedEx. Just an active week of work.
The Red Sox got into the World Series... and that poor girl got killed in the celebration. Stupid, that. We won... what's the point of violence ??? Glad I wasn't living in the Fenway for that. (I did live there for a year, about 5-6 years ago.Let's see what the weekend brings.

Monday, October 18, 2004

plow boys

Rick was in town and was trying out his new digital camera. This unlucky lot were guinea pigs. That's me, Bill, Joe, Paul and Mark. Frightening, it is.
Rather low key weekend. Saturday spent doing the usual errands... did get some mail out to Greenfield and Swapatorium.
Sunday was a walk over to the Plough, Julian showed up and we did bothe the Times and Globe crosswords.
Today I was all over again. Picked up a painting that I'm supposed to crate and send to Arizona. Ont to look at a job and see what it needs. Checked in on Michael at his job. Went on to see Lowell and Paul and do a bit of painting. Finished up the day by assisting an art consultant with a presentation. Home by 7:00 (19:00).

plow boys red
Originally uploaded by jstangroom.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kind of Blew Off Today...

Yesterday we worked outside in the morning. Finish painting. Around noon I went off to hang pictures and a collection of plates. In the meanwhile it started raining and the guys packed up and left the exterior job. I went back around to collect a check. And that was about it.
This morning I got a call from Lowell, saying he wouldn't be working as he was in his studio all night. Makes me crazy, but what can you do? I had to deliver a painting so I was a bit late arriving on the jobsite, (dog house) myself. No sign of Paul, so I called him and he'd given it up complaining of a bad back. Abandoned, I was. Went in, talked to the dogs and gave my apologies. I blew it off, too. Wasn't going to get much done by myself. Did errands, bank and post office. Found the current Modern Painters magazine that I'd been looking for. Tried to find a proper carafe in the charity shops (for a still life I need to paint) no luck, there. Stopped in at the Plough, (the "office" it's sometimes called) where the guys showed up to get some pay.
And here I am...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Rain or Shine...

Yesterday it was raining in the morning... so working out doors (the original plan) was postponed. I made a few early calls and found that we could work in a kitchen and hallwat for Marlene. Marlene takes care of dogs... and where do they stay? In the kitchen, hallway and another room, of course. The best count I could get was nine, yesterday. We started in, scraping patching and priming... all the while stepping over dogs or trying to get them to go in the other room. Paul and Lowell grumbled about the smell... sure it stinks but there's no point in complaining. The dogs are fun to watch... they all seem to be small terrior sorts. It doesn't take long to figure some of the personalities. A couple of them like to sit and watch us, a few ignore us and sleep all the time... every now and then the whole lot decides to come into the kitchen and just stand around. Marlene is a good, repeat client... and she figures that if we can work around her dogs, she can work around our schedule.
So... today was a beautiful day and we went off to the exterior job. This was for my dear friend, Meredyth. Meredyth used to own Clark Gallery and I've worked for her forever...delivering and installing artwork, painting the gallery and her home (unfortunately she's never been able to sell my pictures). She retired from the gallery and went into a more decorating mode. In this new career she's got us even more work decorating for her clients and installing the artwork. I will bend over backwards to get things done for her. So... we scraped, sanded, washed and primed a few areas of her house in anticipation of a greenhouse replacement (the old one has been taken down, new footings and we're painting above where it will be rather than work over the glass, later).
If the weather is good tomorrow, well finish it up... otherwise back to the dogs.

Monday, October 11, 2004

New Keyboard...

So, at some point last night I spilled half a tin of beer into my keyboard. Keyboards don't like beer... or cat piss (but that was a long time ago). I've actually opened one up in the past and swabbed it out, but that wasn't happening with this one. It just quit and this morning the situation hadn't reversed itself.
I spent the morning getting an envelope together for Greenfield and sorting through slides to send to an art consultant. I also walked the dawg (finding 12¢) and took another walk at a more brisk pace (finding 26¢). Since I'll need a cover letter to accompany the slides and should write a note to Greenfield, at around 2:00 I decided to go buy another keyboard. Quite a few to choose from, actually. I opted for a rather basic Mac clone. I stopped in at the Plough for a quick pint... a good friend of mine is making the music there tonight... but it's too late in the evening for this old boy. Back home to do this and write those letters.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


Well... I got about halfway through the studio. The chair is sittable, the floor is near cleared... the desk, although worked on, is still covered and impossible to work on. I guess it's been years since I've had such a small room to work in... and during those years I've accumulated a lot of stuff. The dining room table is the preferred place to work on paper pieces these days... (Syl is doing a page for "Floss" there, now). I stuck pretty much to my goal... while doing laundry, a few errands and baking some bread. I swear Sylvia sat at her computer all day long. She eventually got up to make a mushroom soup to go with my oatmeal bread. I did get a bit distracted and worked on the collaborative collage to send back to Greenfield... surprises there. I was covering up the head of Marks underwear model with one of Damien Hirst, as I turned it over to paste it... there was an advert for Bombay Gin with Queen Vicspic which I had used earlier in the collage. Going through the Hirst article (Observer Magazine that I got in Italy) there was a pic of George Clooney... Mark had pasted him in earlier... was a nice time... the collage and mag talking to each other and telling me what to add.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

We've Got a Plan...

Normal day painting... nothing to tell.
The plan is, that on Saturday I go into my studio... gloved, goggled, hard hat and all and clear out enough space to get to work on a painting that I've promised to Newton Art Center for their annual "Alters and Icons" fund raiser. I found a tube of "Renaissance Gold" that seemed appropriate and will probably factor into my picture. This work will involve clearing several tables... moving ladders, taking items down cellar, filing mail art... and I'm going to have to avoid the distractions of the stuff I rediscover. Essentially, I'll be getting ready to get ready.
A while back a client of mine gave me a pile of catalogues and show announcements. One item was a printed ping pong ball by Damien Hirst as an announcement for a show at Gagosian Gallery in New York. Heart Fine Art, out of Edinburgh, Scotland just emailed a list of Fluxus/Surealist/DADA items that he's trying to flog. He's offering the ping pong ball for £295 !!! I've seen it on eBay... but it never went for that much.
Anyway... I've gotta work on this collaborative collage to return to Greenfield andresearch the format and edition size for Michae's "Floss".
Time to get creative.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Rather Dull...

So yesterday, Michael and I went off to Concord and stained the deck... fairly straight forward. Swept it and started applying the stain (actually it was some kind of Australian Tree Oil). We put it on with a brush... waited a bit and buffed it up with a lambs wool pad. Looked a bit splotchy to start, but evened out in time. The client was in the process of introducing two six month old Labrador Retrievers to the yard... fun to watch, that.
Today, I started out by looking at a painting that has to be crated and shipped to Arizona. More problems than I thought... The painting is 50"x50", meaning the crate will have to have a seam as our plywood/masonite standard is 48" wide. Trying to keep the weight down and the package will be oversize for UPS. Gotta get the specs from FEDEX... might be better. On to work with Michael at a job that Stephen set up while I was gone. Gotta get that done, as I have people waiting.
Sent the image of an old envelope of Ruud's back to him... something from the late 80's I'm guessing. I'll look for more, but it might require taking my room apart.
I read a story that Derek had given me... wanted my thoughts on it. I do have some questions and suggestions about it, but he was previously engaged at the Plough this afternoon.
That's what it looks like from here.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Back to Work...

Unfortunately, I had to start back to some real work today. Well, haning pictures anyway. The first job was for a woman who had actually waited for the two weeks that I was away. Amazing, that. Nice that they want me to do the job, but I'm not the only jamoke that can hang a picture. A couple of big, 6 foot tall, Chinese ancestor portraits... that was fun. A couple of mirrors and some smaller artwork. From here I was off to an art consultant to pick up 6 pieces and deliver them to a office place in Taunton. This client had actually called me in Italy to set up the job. It was required that I be an USA national in order to do the work! Never had that happen before. Simple job... site the pieces and hang them. Then I was back to Cambridge to deliver the piece that I'd picked up yesterday. A quick stop at the Plough. On the way home there was a stop at the auto parts store for a new side view mirror (they keep breaking mine on this street) and a turn indicator bulb. Once home there were 6 calls to respond to and another couple of calls to make.
Yes, there was an Irish pub in Florence... right on Santa Maria Novella Piazza. Was a pretty cool place, outdoor seating with a parade of regulars that we never really talked to. Once again I was told that I didn't sound like an American! The Guinness was good and it was a fine spot to stop at the end of the day, before dinner. I think that I wrote all of my postcards here.
Never did get to see Michelangelo's "David"... the queues were just too long. We did see a copy in one of the Piazzas and I'd seen a copy at the V&A in London. Instead we took some advice and looked into a couple of churches that we wouldn't otherwise have visited. Great stuff... I'm starting to mix them up now but Michelangelo's tomb was in one... and they all had great paintings, Caravaggios, Fillipino Lippi's, etal... not to mention the wonderfully decorated architecture.
Tomorrow I go to stain a deck... there's something very wrong with this.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Home Again..

Back to abnormal, I guess. Hit the ground running on our return... pick up and delivery of a painting yesterday. Picked up a painting today for delivery tomorrow. Took the dawg for a walk. Otherwise, the usual Sunday routine... a walk over to the Plough with my crossword. The only one who'd missed me for the past two weeks was Mitch, the bartender. Not really true... Anyway, I found the churches in Florence more interesting than the museums. The Uffizi has some "must sees" Botticelli's "Venus" of course. But the Fra Angellico's in San Marco take your breath away. Full of tourists... I can't imagine how it's like in the summer. There's still things to see there... maybe in February you'd avoid the crowds.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

So, We're back...

After a fairly torturous journey we're back home. The airport in Rome is simply not capable of handling the amount of people they have to process... one and a half hours from check-in to the gate... no stops unless you count the queues that we were in. Once on the plane... (and we were some of the last) we taxied out onto the runway. At this point a couple of people decided that they were too sick to travel and the plane went back to the gate. The people got off, but then they had to find their luggage and get that off... making us finally take off about two hours late. No way we were going to make our connecting flight. We were in row 44... the backest seats. Convenient to the amenities, but we were among the last to get off. I had the window for most of the flight and spent alot of time looking out over Canada once we'd crossed the ocean. In Detroit (where they'd sent us, using the SkyMiles) they actually had things together and after clearing Customs, we were sent to a desk where they'd already put us on another flight to Boston. For whatever reason, they singled us out for the bigger security check... (did we untie our Doc Martens too soon in anticipation of having them X-Rayed) One guy going over our persons with a wand, then a feel up, while someone else was up to their elbows in the dirty laundry (I'd want more than a cheap pair of plastic gloves for that job). On to the flight with both of us knackered with nasty dispositions. And home, finally. Today I did an early artwork delivery... then we were off to bail out the dawg and kat. Their holiday wasn't cheap, either. Maybe I'll write about what we did in Italy later... Syl has all the pics...