Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The second of the speedy self-portraits.

I think the graphic quality of old posters is better in the last one...but the painting is better on this one.  We'll see.

Friday, October 12, 2012


The speed painting series (some of which I can't show on here, as they have other purposes) were all sort of leading toward this handsome fellow above. I took a little more time with this one, all the while keeping in mind the quick, decisive and vigorous brush strokes I'd been practicing on the speed paintings. He still had to get worked over a little more than I intended, but overall, I was pretty happy with how he turned out.  Now all I need is the time machine to take me back to a time when such skills were relevant.

(Also, of all my work, I need someone to explain why my self-portraits are the most popular pieces.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


No shame, I suppose, in admitting that I have little formal training in painting.  If anything, it's unfortunate, as I have a tendency toward wanting to create work like the old masters...and the great pulp illustrators and poster painters.  The old illustrators tended to have a high technical ability and were able to produce dazzling energetic work with rapid speed and exactness. So, these last few weeks, after just having worked in water-based mediums, I was inspired to achieve something similar and set to work with my gouache to see what I could do.  When it comes to reproducing a specific style, one has to do some studies, trying to dissect the technique...or at least what you think it might be. This was the fist in a series of paint tests, using an expanded palette of colors and laying it down as quickly as possible. Not a bad first try.

Friday, October 05, 2012

"Repeat After Me: I Am Not a Pleasure Unit..."

Our final super-spy for the week is the unmatchable James Coburn as Derek Flint. It was a review of Our Man Flint that I recently wrote for my other blog that inspired this series in the first place (you can read it HERE). Derek Fint was to be the American answer to Bond: hence the explanatory "Our Man" in the title. An early scene has Flint eschewing the Walther PPK and the myriad of other weapons associated with the movie spygame as barbaric. Flint is every bit as sophisticated and intelligent as Bond if not more so, and the publicity for the film has him tackling armies of girls at a time. To some, Coburn's performance might initially seem smug or arrogant, but it'd be hard fo the man who really could do it all to be all that humble, and Coburn's charisma eventually wins the day.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

"M. Appeal"

Turning to television for a moment, one of the most popular shows among the super-spy set was certainly the BBC series The Avengers, which still enjoys a healthy cult following.  One of the reasons for its success could certainly be attributed to the feminine wiles and allure of Emma Peel, played wonderfully by Diana Rigg.  Not only would Emma be considered an early feminist heroine who was allowed to rescue her partner, John Steed, as often as he rescued her, she also became a sort of mod fashion icon. Oddly enough, two casting tie-ins The Avengers shared with Bond: Emma Peel was a replacement for Cathy Gale, played by Honor Blackman, who would leave the series to play Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, while Diana Rigg would leave the series to join the cast of the ill-fated George Lazenby Bond vehicle, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Silencers

Having written a review of Our Man Flint on my review blog (click here to read!), I decided to revisit the 60's world of super-spy adventure! James Bond has been a hot property since first appearing on the printed page in 1953, and the movies have been a pop culture staple since Dr. No (1962).  And as has been the case since the dawn of Hollywood, success breeds imitation.  And while many of the Bond knock-offs have long been forgotten (no one I know who loved Austin Powers knew where half the references were coming from), the craze was pretty widespread.

One series seeking to cash in were the Matt Helm movies, starring Dean Martin, and produced by Irving Allen, former partner of Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, producer of the Bond films.  Based on the long-running series of novels by Donald Hamilton, the movies took on a swinging sixties tone compared to the dark and violent atmosphere of the books.  Martin is good fun, the gadgets wacky and vehicles bizarre (Helm's first vehicle is a trick-filled station wagon!), the movies are completely watchable and hilariously awful.  Think of them, if you will, as James Bond as created by the makers of the 60's Batman Tv series.