Pyrrhic Horse Trader

Pyrrhic Horse Trader
synthetic polymer and latex paint on canvas
1976
60″x96″

I hope to post large images from my website here, so that when someone clicks on the LARGE IMAGE link on an art thumbnail he or she will either come to a larger image here on this page, or to a blog with a spellbinding blog post written by l’il artist me… 🙂

The featured image is the first big a painting I ever produced, way back in 1976. I know it was that year because it was the Bicentennial Year, 1976 and I painted a sort-of Bicentennial painting.Back in the day we had no woodshop to speak of. I went to Handy Dan Lumber Store and picked out 2×2 lumber as straight as I could find for my stretcher frame. I think I did the actual frame building in the painting lab at school. It was summertime and the classes were quite small, as I recall, so there was a lot of room to spread out. With no woodshop I couldn’t cut a bevel on the wood, required to make sure the canvas didn’t leave a mark as you painted, on the front. So I bought quarter round and glued and tacked it to the front of the 2×2 sticks.

The 45 degree cuts for the corners I simply estimated and went for it. The whole thing was held together with nails! Talk about old school 🙂 haha And then, to strretch it, I didn’t even have a staple gun. I used tacks and a hammer. That took quite a long time. Now, my memory is getting fuzzy these daze. It wasn’t my first canvas to stretch. I might have bought a staple gun by then.

Actually I believe I had. It was so much easier and faster with a staple gun. I put some stars and stripes in it. This photo is not the final result. I did add some stars in the left side long blue stripe. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary but I was having a bit of trouble getting to a complete “FINISHED” place. That’s still a difficult place to find.

Some paintings are rather open-ended. You can paint on them for a loooong time. But no compressor and pneumatic tools. I have several now and they help so much.

Back then, though, I was a real artist, more than now, in that regard. I didn’t have a ton of money and I used some latex paint for gesso, too. That didn’t seem to be a problem either. It should have been according to strict conservation methods, and if the painting had survived it might have, but the painting had a different destiny awaiting.

A lot of people liked that painting. My good friend Sal Hernandez came in from working with grounds to just sit and look at it. I know he liked it. And I had another friend who seemed to like it. This was a high school friend who will remain nameless. Why? Well, in my youth I was prone to smoking entertaining herbs. So, I traded that painting to him for a quantity of hash. Yeah, I did.

Well, no I don’t feel guilty about it. I was 19 or so, and I sometimes did goofy stuff. That was one of the goofy things. But he did make a generous trade. And, I gotta tell you people, the next semester of college was my lost semester . . .

I spent a lot of time lying on my couch not doing too much of anything except smoking hash. It got me stoned as all get out. And as soon as I would recover I would smoke some more. I think I had a bit of an addiction for a few uhhhh how long was it? It’s kind of a blur.

I’m surprised I did as well in my classes as I did. I wasn’t taking all art classes just yet, as I recall. Somehow I survived that semester and didn’t flunk any classes. I think I dropped a class though.

This is a rather boring blogpost. It’s too bad because that painting looked really really good! i liked it, but sometimes my artist mind will trick me. I’ve thrown art away when I got into insane artist mode. Or traded it in questionable deal like the one I just described.

And there was one more thing, too. As some point I went over to my friend’s house. He had the painting outside against a wall. That was sort of sad to see, but it gets worse, at least for me. He had decided he didn’t like some parts of the painting, so he painted them out!! Yikes!!

I was not too happy about that, to say the least. But I was not too assertive at that time in my life (or any) so I didn’t say anything at all. But it bothered me, and so even after over 40 years here I am still bringing it up. Jeez.

Oh glamorous life of the artist I’ve led. That remains a difficult thing to recall, though. And, I plan on not recalling it too many more times. So, don’t plan on any trades. I want money! Of course the problem is, I don’t like to sell any of the art I’ve created. It’s never easy…

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