John S Cuneo
Book Review
This was for the NY Times Book Review. It ran on Dec. 29th., to accompany a Lawrence Osborn review of Olivia Laing's new book, The Trip To Echo Springs, about writers with drinking problems (and, inevitably, drinkers with writing problems). Nicholas Blechman Art Directs the Review, and the brief was a simple one; draw these six alcoholic writers in their element. I suggested dropping in a couple of writing "props", and aside from that, it all went down as smoothly as a single malt on a snowy night. The subject of color was a longer discussion. Nic and I agreed that a full, saturated watercolor approach would be a distraction and wouldn't reproduce well in newsprint anyway. NB wanted to highlight the cocktails and agreed to let me drop in touches of flesh tones here and there and we talked about a flat background wash to hopefully bring up the faces. While drawing, I tried to keep in mind the exquisite portraits that Joe Ciardiello does for this same publication - an effort, I suppose, to incorporate a little of his discipline and restraint, (I know - good luck with that). Sent Nic the black and white drawing before painting and the final before the background wash, in case he'd prefer to go with one of those. clockwise from bottom left, this is Raymond Carver, Hemingway (God knows what he's drinking here), John Berryman, John Cheever, Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams. Cheers.

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