Candidates for President, Summer 2007
Unpublished Time Cover, published spread
When I was asked to do the cover of the redesigned Time Magazine a while back, the cover I painted was not what ran.
The infamous Reagan's Tear cover was the final choice
That's another story.
This is the artwork intended for that cover. The writing changed at the last minute and this version was put on ice.
I'm thrilled whenever I get a shot at a cover so when I heard what they were originally looking for, I got to work. I have painted Mount Rushmore with a twist so many times, I think four now. The convention can work well from time to time. Not all do. I did one of the powerful people in 1998; Rupert Murdoch, Alan Greenspan, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton. Murdoch wanted to buy the painting and after a suggestion that he pay what I was paid for the illustration, his people came back with, "we were thinking HUNDREDS,not thousands!" I still have the painting.
This assignment is a tough one to do just right. You need below eye level reference of the people and lighting that either is from above or easy to make it look that way.
THEN you need to think about expression. No teeth. Make them look carved? Sure, as much as you can and still hold the likenesses.
While I was on vacation my good friends here at Drawger, namely Edel Rodriguez, hunted me down to make sure I would okay the usage. The art is now a spread in this week's Time Magazine for an article titled, "The Courage Primary."
From the magazine:
"In this election, Americans are in a serious mood, wanting courage from their candidates. Columnist Joe Klein offers five ways to judge whether they have any."
I want courage from the next president for sure. What I want even more is rational thought, someone to lead this nation like an elected official, not a king, and perhaps humility.
This part of the painting, the carved rock and rubble below, is so hard to do. I did it mostly in white watercolor over charcoal.
Just before leaving for vacation I got a fun assignment from Rolling Stone. The next issue (on the stands now) was going to be the Green Issue. Everyone seems to have to produce a green something. Green buildings, concerts, conventions and issues.
The article is about Al's fight against the climate crisis
The idea was to have Gore holding the world on his shoulders.
I love Rolling Stone and love working for them. When I was a kid I would see the illustrations in there and dream of being published in these pages. I came up with a couple of cool sketches and in deciding to make the globe burning, I had fun adding the flames to Gore's back. He takes a ton of flack for caring about our planet and this seemed a good commentary. That aspect was pruned from the final sketch and the accepted version became my painting.
After handing it in with one day before I left word came that Jann Wenner did not care for the flames OR the distressed Gore. I gave repainting his face a shot and did a tiny portrait and photoshopped it in. I could not clone out the flames so I dropped in the reference. When I was finished it was much more tame and I felt a bit sunk about that, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
I add all this to my blog not wanting a tisk-tisk-o-thon for the changes, but to at least get my painting seen. They are really nice up there and were extremely gentle and respectful about the changes. At least I have the artwork.
Here is a sketch of the slowly eroding cliffs from the beach. These odd chunks are clay that fell from the wall.
Each year since our honeymoon, my wife Elizabeth and I spend a week or more at a cabin in Martha's Vineyard. It's a small wonder of the world. The small house called "Sunrise" is owned by relatives of Elizabeth and is lovingly tended to each year by the children of the original owners. The cabin is on the cliffs of Stonewall Beach in Chilmark. I think it was originally a chicken coop, it was made into an up-island retreat. Sunrise sits on a cliff about 70 feet up over the Atlantic.
Here is a photo of the house in a different location. This location is now in the ocean
The house has been moved many times as the cliffs fall away each year. One year the house was right on the cliff and I hear the sound of the surf was intense.
Here is an oil painting I did the year the foundation of an original house location started to fall into the sea.
Here are the giant rocks that are revealed at low tide.
Cassius woke one morning and announced quite loud, that there is probably a rainbow because the sun was shining and he could hear rain on the roof. My son was right!
I did this painting one afternoon for a cousin who married on the Vineyard last year...late but not quite one year later.
Me teaching Cassius how to cast and NOT catch fish. Notice the fear in me as the lure whizzed by my head.
A cool fishing ship came in one afternoon in Menemsha. I love this town and we spend a lot of time here. Jaws was shot in and around this town and dock and you HAVE to see the sunsets here.
Sunset on Menemsha. Going in early June means no crowds!
This is inside the house. It is small but perfect.
We end every trip by logging our thoughts and drawings into a house journal. Reading back, I can see my various thoughts and experiences over the years. Cassius took it very seriously this year.
Thanks for letting me share this fun trip.
The Lovely Olivia Wilde, who is more known from her television work on the O.C. and The Black Donelleys was really great in this challenging play.
It's been months since I did the tear on Regan's cheek for Time. . That was a weird experience that was part fame and fun and part creepy. The many e-mails that attacked me gave me pause and forced be to rethink just how much personal information I plant on this blog. The love for Reagan and and republican ideals attributed to him certainly hit home, but did not change my opinion of him, only of the current brand of right wing zealot. Stories appeared on Fox News in various formats, as well as some of the late night fake news shows like the Colbert Report. That was mostly fun, except for Fox, who liked to pretend there was some sort of left wing conspiracy at play. Apparently they reported before they read the article. You never know what ends up being your noteworthy assignment. For years it was my Man of the Year cover for time and I thought it might also be my Judy Garland stamp. Right now, it's this tear. The other day my actress sister-in-law heard of a play off Broadway called Beauty on the Vine that referred to the cover. We all got tickets and saw it on one of its last nights. Too bad, because it was really good and well acted. From Playbill: " Inspired by a chance encounter with Courtney Love, Beauty on the Vine, according to press notes, is "a modern fable about the power of the human face in the age of extreme plastic surgery and genetic engineering. Sweet calls himself a 'mutt.' He doesn�t know his parents, where he's from, or if he ever had a name. Is he Black? Native? Croate? 'Genocide Face' is how he classifies himself. But he finds his home when he falls in love with Lauren Chickering, a fast-rising star in right-wing radio who knows exactly who she is and how she wants to change America. Lauren wants to inspire girls of the Lindsay Lohan generation to become involved in the Republican Party, but her success has also inspired a series of events that leads to a brutal murder. Trying to understand the motive and meaning of Lauren�s death, Sweet joins Lauren�s father, Daniel, on a journey through the looking glass into a highly disturbing Wonderland where appearances are always deceiving." The main character is a sexy and beautiful young actress, Olivia Wilde (Olivia Wilde video interview: http://lafcovlog.blogspot.com/2007/05/tao-ruspoli-interviews-olivia-wilde.html") Fun to watch on stage and she takes on three characters too. In her lead as a talk radio host, she goes on a speculative rant about the far left media, Time Magazine for example, and how they had an artist put a tear on Reagan's cheek. She said, "The magazine even credits the artist, Tim O'Brien for creating the tear." She then wondered how long it took for me to do that imagining it took hours (20 minutes in reality). So, it was weird to hear something I'm involved with mentioned in a play and REALLY weird to hear the main character speculate as to what I thought when I did that to her beloved Ronald Reagan.
This is a gratuitous additional picture of Olivia Wilde.
Did I say she said my name?