paulette's hypermeaningful weblog


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Under the Paint: The Rockridge Forest Painting

This is a painting of a house with a tree behind it.

It's held by collectors and historians to be one of the most important oil paintings of California ever, documenting the last surviving tree of what was once a 400 million acre forest in Oakland, California.  And there's a story behind it that we are going to tell you, and it goes like this.

Paulette set up her easel around the corner from her illustrious apartment, but she again forgot something related to painting and had to go back home to get it, and when she got back to her easel and canvas, she started painting in earnest.

Some woman walked by and talked about redwood trees to Paulette, saying that in 1847, the area they were standing on was covered by a 400 million acre redwood forest, and that the tree Paulette was painting was the last tree of that whole forest.  Paulette asked her, "What happened to the other trees?" and the woman answered, "They were harvested and used to make airplanes, but they left one just in case somebody in the future wanted to see what it looked like."

Paulette finished the painting and then went home and ate some cold cereal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Under the Paint: The Academy of Art Gate

It's held to be one of the finest examples of a gate painting in existence, and it last sold at auction for over 1.5 billion dollars, but there's a lot behind this painting because it has a back story that's behind it, and it goes like this.

Paulette walked down her block to the corner and started to set up her easel, but she forgot her gloves so she had to walk back to her car parked in front of her apartment because that's where she kept them, in the back seat area, right behind the front passenger seat.  And so she walked back to the corner again and set up successfully and started painting with abandon because she was exhausted from painting uptightly the previous day. 

A woman crossed the street to see what Paulette was painting, but she was met with a blank canvas because Paulette hadn't started, so there was laughter all around as the woman told her story of horrible frustration at not being able to see a finished painting after taking all the time and energy in the world to cross the street.  The woman vowed to learn from her experience and to maybe not expect paintings to be finished on the other side of the street in the future of her life. 

And then one of Paulette's coworkers from the factory walked by and said hi because he works at the Academy of Art as well as at the factory.  And then, another one of Paulette's coworkers from the factory walked by because she was walking to the factory to meet another coworker for a shopping field-trip.  She said to Paulette, "You need more dark," and Paulette started crying and stamping her feet and finally said, "Where?" and her coworker said, "I don't know."

And a man stopped and told Paulette a story about how the gate will be replaced because somebody drove into it, and Paulette scratched her head in wonder because the gate was looking fine as it sat there in front of her in the warm earthian sun.

And then Paulette finished the painting and walked back home.

Under the Paint: The Burrito Shop Painting

Here is a painting of a restaurant behind two cars.

Ask anybody on the street to tell you what the great paintings of the twenty-first century are, and nine times out of ten, they'll say, "That one with the burrito shop and the two cars in front of it.  That one is just so great."  The other one out of ten will say, "I'm gonna wait 'til the century's over before I decide."

So yes, this is an iconic painting that's like a cultural icon because it's so common and well known and permeates everybody's psyche like ink in a sponge, but did you know the back story, the story that's behind the painting, or as we like to say, under the paint.  It goes like this.

Paulette bought a canvas bigger than any canvas she'd bought before, 16" x 20", and she decided to use it because she had it, and so she used it, setting it up on her easel on the busy 2 lane, business district bus route next to the library parking lot.  She painted for a long time, and people asked her questions, and she kept painting, and some guy she'd talked to before said, "Hi, do you mind if I annoy you?"  and Paulette replied, "It depends on how intensely."  But he was a nice guy who she liked from her previous street conversation with him, so she said, "Oh, hi, you're ok, I like you."  And so he hovered a bit, looked at Paulette's struggle with the paint and then walked on down the line.

Directly behind Paulette was the edge of the Library parking lot with some block of concrete trellis/divider that people can sit on, and there was a guy sitting there listening to his reallysmartphone music while Paulette was humming audibly and with abandon, so they were really dueling it out, fighting for airtime in Paulette's ears, and on the guy's phone, the single word lyric repeated over and over, and finally Paulette said, "what is that lyric?" but the guy didn't speak English, he spoke Spanish, and so Paulette said, "Que es el lyrico?", and the guy said he didn't know, but then he listened again and said it's "dispara" which means shot, and he showed her his phone search which had the word "head-shot" on it because the rest of the lyric is "en la cabeza" which means "in the head."  So they were listening together to a song, an oeuvre about somebody who i guess got shot in the head.  And they both laughed deep belly laughs which shook them to the cores of their beings because life and death are too funny.

And then Paulette "finished" her painting, not feeling real great about the perspective on the roof, but chalking the whole experience up to experience.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Under the Paint: The Bart Station Painting

This is a picture of a train station.

Affectionately known the world over as the "Barty Bart Bart" painting, Paulette's painting of her local rapid transit station has won over hearts young and old, juvenile and aged, modern and ancient, damn near every kind of heart imaginable because it's just that kind of painting.  It's the kind of painting that's for everybody, every single person in the world no matter how different they seem to be on the outside.  This very painting is the glue that keeps all people together, and it also keeps them from killing each other because they recognize that they all share a love for this painting.

And there's a back story.  The painting has a back story that goes like this.

Paulette went to the Bart station and set up her easel and started painting.  At one point in her painting process, the mailman was going to park his van in front of her, but he double parked instead so that he could take some mail in to the Mexican restaurant.  Paulette thanked him and he said it was no problem, but the cars going around his van honked their horns like it was a problem so Paulette was confused about the whole thing.

Some woman asked how the painting was going, and Paulette responded, "I'll let you know in a month," to which the woman responded, "It's a nice day for painting anyway," and then Paulette said, "Yes, it is."

And then the sun started shining directly on the painted canvas and Paulette couldn't see sh#t because of the shiny, blinding glare, so Paulette waited the sun out, until it moved a bit, and she also moved her easel to put the canvas back in shade, making it possible for her to continue.

And then there was some street violence.  Two cats started fighting about 10 feet away from her, and so Paulette hissed and stamped her feet and the cats kind of stopped, and then they stood really close to each other with their hair standing up like they were electrocuted and really tense, but they didn't resume fighting with their earlier intensity, they just faded into obscurity.  Later, the cats attacked Paulette and held her at knife-point, threatening her life if she should ever interfere in future fights between these two rival cats.

And then she stopped painting and went home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Under the Paint: The Overpass Painting

Here is a painting of an overpass

Paulette's painting of the overpass at the junction of Freeway 24 and Broadway is really famous because it completely captures what it means to be alive and living everywhere.  Its universal emotional language speaks to and for everybody like when words go in your ear and come out your mouth, and nobody can look at the painting without crying because of its profound impact and truthocity.  But there's a whole story behind it, and it goes like this.

Paulette got in her car and drove a couple of blocks, parking her car on a street near where she painted the painting.  She got out of her car and carried her stuff to the painting spot, the dirt and weed hellstrip in front of a duplex or fourplex or something like that.  It was sunny and the traffic was loud, and sometimes cars coming off the freeway would whiz past her through the intersection, and this was dramatic and impressive.

The guy who drives the street cleaning machine inched up to her before turning on his street cleaning machine, and he stopped to look, but Paulette hadn't hardly started, so there wasn't much for him to see, so he asked "How long does it take?" and Paulette said, "about 4 hours," and he replied, "Wow" presumably because he thought that was a long time.

Some school kids, about 30 of them, walked across the intersection going somewhere, but none stopped to look, and some small girl with a women asked, "what are you painting?" and Paulette said, "I am painting the overpass."  In general, the foot traffic was light, but the car traffic more than made up for it, adding an unmistakable urgency and a vital, american excitement to this beautiful ode to the overpass.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Behind the Paint: Cars With Hills

Some cars are in front of the hills.

Known the world over as "the painting heard 'round the world," Paulette's "Cars With Hills" set the art world on its ear and profoundly changed the way we see cars and hills today.  It's not so much a painting as it is a manifesto for a new modern age where people drive instead of walking and send letters instead of calling on the telephone.

Legend has it that one day in June of 2014, Paulette walked out of her shoebox studio apartment and set up her easel right in front of her apartment building because she'd seen the same view so many times that she was numbed to the breathtaking beauty and stark aesheticness of the road, the cars and the hills.  She wanted to cleanse her perception doors, and did so through her painting brush, giving these things, the cars and hills, a new life full of life on the painted canvas where they became new again like babies or a new, full dispenser of dental floss.

And while she was painting, Angels visited her and shouted to her as they drove by in a beat up Toyota Camry.  They didn't say a lot, but they did say her name and continued driving with the windows rolled down and the wind in their hair even though their windshield was in tact.  And then she finished the painting and walked back to her apartment, pushing the big rock in place over the entry portal to keep squatters out.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Under the Paint: The Trader Joe's Painting

This is a picture of a building with a tree in front of it.

We've all seen this painting and wondered how a painting can say so much with so few words.   This is the painting that caused Earth's art world to reassess and rethink its values, to take a good, hard look at itself, an honest look at all that it holds valuable and sacred.  And after the art world looked at itself, it went about its business unchanged mostly except for a small group of artists who thought it was neat to focus on that which they were numb to because they saw it all the f#cking time.

And there's a back story to this painting that goes like this.

Paulette went out and set up in the planter of the middle school across the street from her subject because she didn't want to be on the sidewalk where all the foot traffic was.  It was kind of cold, maybe 60 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit with 10 to 15 mph winds coming from the northwest.

She was short with a nice woman who asked, "Is this part of a series about College Avenue?"  To which Paulette responded, "No."  One guy asked to see it and then kind of stood in front of the painting to do so and Paulette kind of had to reach in front of him a little to paint it, but he was nice and said, "Sorry for the interruption."  A four foot high kid asked to see it and saw it and then said, "You got good skills."

Other than these interactions, nothing too exciting happened except for people honking at each other in righteous indignation.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Behind the Paint: The Oakland Bay and The Oakland Downtown paintings

This is a picture of a view from a hill.

This is a picture of buildings.

If these paintings look familiar, it's because they are paraded around by the highbrow people in American culture as examples for the world to follow because they are so poetic and impacty and bring all viewers to tears with their sublimeness and other good qualities.

But there's a whole back story that's in back of them, and it goes like this.

Paulette was tired from the previous day's painting, so she just wanted to have some fun and go crazy with paint without a lot of people passing by because they talk and sometimes say annoying things.  So she drove up the hill and painted these two paintings using a lot of sun-thickened linseed oil.

She parked at the bottom of a steep grade and walked half way up it slowly because it was steep and then walked over to her painting destination.  The grade was so steep that she used muscles in her legs that she didn't normally use, and this made her realize that she has muscles in her legs that go unused or neglected.

When she finished with the first painting, she painted the second one after the first, and then she walked back to her car, seeing a skunk near it's den under a rock before it saw her.  And so she stayed a good distance away from it, making noise so that it might hear her.  Then, when it did see her or hear her, it looked at her and raised its tail real high like, and Paulette said, "Howdy my little skunk friend, be nice, or I'll send you to the zoo."