Saturday, October 3, 2009


I drive over to Cedaroak Boat Ramp for a (small) group paintout, and find the ramp quiet. Two boat trailers stand in the lot. I set up my paints at the end of the floating dock for a view of the river and parting clouds. I’m just beginning to wish I’d sent Mark a map when he shows up.
We are surrounded by exquisite changing scenes as the light comes and goes on the lagoon and cloud formations work their way up river. The clear spots of sky are turquoise and glowing. The clouds have that warm golden cast they get in late afternoon. One behemoth drops a few raindrops on us, then passes on. We are undisturbed.
After a lovely paintout in which Mark produces two little gems and I paint this:
we adjourn to my house to watch the movie LOCAL COLOR. Maria joins us, and my husband, Rick. The non-painter’s review of the movie is “enh”. I myself am thoroughly entertained by the painterly elements. The scenery is exquisite, and beautifully filmed. In the houses are tantalizing glimpses of paintings, at which I go... wait! Zoom in there, I want to have a look at that. I want to look up Nicoli Seroff and see his paintings. And I am extremely curious about the parade of bad and less bad paintings the young painter trots out for critique.
It’s fun to watch the painters. The young man looks really awkward with a brush in his hand, and dabs at the canvas as if he were told: for this scene, dab a bit on the canvas here. I can just imagine some artist directing him how to stand, how to hold the brush, how to look at the landscape. But he just isn’t convincing. The old man, he looks like he’s painted before. I don’t know, they usually do a pretty good job with piano players in movies, but then you can always photograph a pianist’s hands. (I hear Hugh Laurie is a pretty good pianist.) Sitting down with my computer and Wikipedia, I find that this is a semi-autobiographical story about George Gallo, and that he pulled out actual paintings that he showed to his actual mentor artist to make the film. You can see his real work at: I still want to see the paintings by “Seroff.” They didn’t quite look like the gallos I saw on the web site. Who painted those?
There are a couple of really fun scenes in the film. When I saw the master artist behaving badly at the local art show in the trailer, my thought was, “what a jerk.” Interestingly, in the movie I was with him as he had to listen to pretentious art talk to validate art that involved no skill. And I loved the scene with the “abstract” oil paintings being praised by his art critic friend.
There’s a little too much pontificating in the film for me, but hey, there were some tidbits in there too. Anyway, a fun show for an artist, and for a non-artist, probably not so much.


Celeste Bergin said...

beautiful painting, Karen! And thanks for the review of the movie. I read somewhere that the Armin Mueller-Stahl* character was actually about George Cherepov. The paintings in the movie were all done by Gallo.
I also read that a reviewer said all the swearing with the "sweet" storyline seemed a mistake--like trying to mix Hallmark with Andrew Dice Clay.
*Armin Mueller Stahl is a musician as well as a visual artist..I read that recently too. I have always been a fan of his!
Thanks again for the run-down. So interesting!

Karen E. Lewis said...

I found some George Cherepov books in the library. It'll be interesting to see what he has to say.

Anonymous said...

George Cherepov passed away in 1987. The character portrayed in this movie "Local Color" is nothing like what Cherepov was like, I mean nothing.