Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 4, 2007
Now that I've finished reading Robert McKee's Story, I went back and picked up Exit Ghost by Philip Roth. It's a well-written, but depressing tale about a 71 year-old-author who has had cancer, wears a diaper and still has "feelings" for a 30-year-old babe, although he can't do much about it. It's an excellent book, and I'm enjoying it, but a bit of a downer.

Cut to: Kathy and I talking on Sunday about QTL (this is our shorthand for "Quality Time Left.") How much do we have? Ten years? Ten weeks? I've got more than a few friends and classmates with bad knees, hip replacement surgery, all kinds of cancer and even several that already checked out. So, when Kathy says she wants to go to South America for ten weeks, do I want to join her, I say, "Hon, I can't. I'm running a business," and she says: "QTL Baby. QTL."

I'm proud to say, between the Roth book and my wife, I'm still holding my own, trying to stay positive, finding artwork in the garage that seems decent enough, maybe even worthy of the Big, Black & Bold book she has proposed:

This is a scene I developed for Honkytonk Sue in about 1989. Very ambitious. I, of course, had to buy all of the beer bottles rendered above and open them, and then, well, I didn't want to throw the contents away, that would be ridiculous. And, I must admit, it did lead to some Quality Time, although I can't remember exactly how or what. Some decent effects, but, a tad overworked (one of my main problems). This led to a simpler version:

This piece was in last year's Phippen Art Museum Humor Show and Sam took a call from a guy yesterday who saw it, and wants to buy it. He's coming by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here's a New Times illustration I did on Artists vs. Gallery Owners:

And here's the application as it appeared in the paper:

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm just showing you the decent stuff. There are piles and piles of dog doo doo that I'm embarrassed to even be seen carrying to the dumpster. I'd say the ratio is about 9 to one, garbage to keepers. The moral is: I need to draw faster, especially if nine out of ten things I do are no good. Well, all of this leads to this morning when I got the following link and article in The New York Times from Dan Buck:

"For some, disease ended careers. Cataract surgery was possible in the early 1900s, but it did not always work.
'I look forward with horror to utter darkness,' [Mary] Cassatt wrote in 1919, fearing that an operation on her left eye would be 'as great a failure as the last one.' It was, and she stopped painting.

"Renoir had his first arthritis attack in 1888, and over time his fine motor skills were compromised. For the rest of his life, arthritis progressively deformed his hands and swelled his joints. 'It is so painful to see him in the morning,' wrote Julie Manet, a niece of Edouard Manet. 'He does not have the strength to turn a doorknob.'

"A Renoir biographer, the art historian Barbara Ehrlich White, wrote in an e-mail message: 'Because of his physical disabilities,' Renoir 'had to change, to become less detailed and freer. He continued to paint until the day he died, but because of his handicap, his later work could not approach the brilliance of his earlier paintings.'”

Here's the entire piece from The New York Times for all of you who are doomed to disease and death (and want to wallow in it like me.)

I still have eye floaters, my father and grandmother both had eye problems and so as I approach 61, I hear my wife's voice in my head wherever I go:

"QTL Baby, QTL."
—Kathy Sue

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