“People Come First”

Can’t wait to see the Alice Neel exhibit this Sunday at The De Young.

Going to be interesting to see up close, to know how much suffering and infusion of NYC energy went into her work. It’s ironic that the exhibit is called “people come first” when you learn of her tragic history.

Carlos Enriquez, 1926

Carlos and Alice got themselves expelled from Art Camp in the summer of 1924.

Alice’s friend, Rhoda Myers, 1930. This painting is Alice bearing nude the female form without it being decorative or sexy. The shielding of the body with all sorts of obstacles on the edges of the image tell us what it must have been like to maneuver a female body in the simmering NYC streets and beyond in the 1930’s. A time when women were shamed for their gender and sexuality, for wanting more in life than to just reproduce, were being abused daily by men in every possible way.
The vibrant quality and care Alice put into all three of her portraits of Fanya Foss really speak to the way Fanya must have made Alice feel when she was working in Fanya’s Greenwich Village bookstore in the late 20’s and early 30’s. Fanya went on to write screenplays of an amusing selection of Hollywood films.
Investigation of Poverty, 1933
Joe Gould, homeless Harvard graduate and Greenwich Village barfly, 1933
Rare landscape painted at the cottage in NJ that her rich lover helped her buy. You can tell that Alice feels out of place when she isn’t in the city.
Kenneth Fearing, 1935. He wanted her to remove the skeleton from this painting but she refused.

Robert Henri was one of Alice’s early teachers. Even though he was a painter, he has quite beautiful piano players’ hands.

En Preparación por mi Viaje

No tengo por qué hablar Inglés, es mas interesante y fácil en Español. Muchas gentes, en el barrio, las tiendas, la oficine de medico, otros en la Cuidad, todos hablan Español.

Pronto regrasaré a España y tendré la tentración de no volver nunca más aquí, pero estoy atropado por obligaciónes, y posesionés, asi es.

¿Es imprudente empesar completamente de nuevo a mi edad? Sé qué algo mejor por ahi, pero talvez solo sea ingratitud hablando.

Lo siento, mi postes son solamente en Español por dos a lo mejor tres meses….

Bienvenido a mi cabeza!

Volveré a scriber sobre España y cosas mas honestas sobra mi vida que no normalmente no comparto. Tendrás que trabajar para ello.

Juan Gris

Miró (Barcelona)

Sorolla (Primo de Sargeant?)



Visual artist and musician Dan Melchior sent me this painting of Alice Coltrane. It’s from the cover of Journey in Satchidananda which is one of the rare albums that sets off my ASMR.
Dan’s livelihood was completely decimated by the pandemic. While he was isolated in his apartment, on the verge of poverty, he started painting portraits of musicians. He is now doing quite well and his paintings are delightful. Check out his work @melchiordan


If all goes well, I will be in Spain by July. Hoping to see some of these paintings in person, via Madrid and Granada.

It would be interesting to know more about how this artist was received. In those times, the more famous painters often did only one type of painting, with portraiture being the most prestigious, seconded by religious and at the lowest end was still life. Cotán did them all.

To be honest, I have never felt compelled to hang a picture of vegetables on a wall. But the way Cotán presents them; the magnificent light. I can smell the orange and lemon blossoms, feel the dry heat and hear parrots and doves passing by.

Tan emocionada y esperanzada de volver a un lugar que amo.

Rembrandt. In the first painting there hides a child between them under layers of paint. The child died before the painting was finished. The second is Rembrandt’s only seascape ever done. These three paintings were stolen in 1990 *on my birthday* from The Garland Museum and never recovered.


Felix Macnee

My old boyfriend and visionary painter. He would be the first to tell you he’s weird and sometimes a PIA, but he’s smart and talented, so easily forgiven. Our friend-tree and history spans over 3 decades.

He loves Cadmium Red Deep, Naphthol Crimson, Flake White. He is not a fan of purple. He paints in oils and is rarely able to wait for them to fully dry, but still makes the magic happen. He also uses house paint, which he gets on sale at hardware stores. Canvas, tape, sandpaper, various types of wood. Under every painting are at least five other paintings and drawings painted over. If you were to x-ray them all, you would see a multitude of messages, worlds, and figures. Sometimes hard to see him paint over a scene, meticulously crafted, all lost in a cloud of black mist. But also inspiring..such freedom.

He’s a prankster coyote spirit. There’s no reason to tame him.

like a spring river

running intense with the flow

is it finished now?

He drums constantly…..on everything. Sometimes actual drums. This photo is possibly the longest he has ever been still. Fiercely competitive in poker, chess, Royalty (card game) and lover of haikus. Breakfast at noon, gallons of coffee, crosswords, and road trips. He works into the night.

I respect him as an artist beyond words. Born in Chicago, raised in San Francisco, dips his twinkle toes in New Orleans.

photo by Matt Gonzalez

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