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1978 Notebook One
In 1978 George Deem lived and worked at Westbeth in New York City. He was a resident fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire in December 1977 and January 1978. In New York to read in the annual New Year's Day non-stop reading of Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans at the Paula Cooper Gallery, George Deem returned to the MacDowell Colony on January 2, 1978.
If I had to be something other than an artist, I would choose to be a short-order cook. A painter uses matter privately and a short-order cook handles matter publicly.
I love mobile-home people. Margaret Merida's mother is a mobile-home type woman.
Although several of the early Dadaists were artists, Dada itself was never an art movement.
In New Hampshire one walks far, but the return is shorter. In Indiana the going is short and the return is longer.
The ceilings of porches are painted sky blue in New Hampshire.
The rules professed by the Academy composed a doctrine, now generally called French classicism. It stated that the laws of beauty were eternal and that the ancient Greeks and Romans had come closest to capturing it and were therefore to be imitated scrupulously -- as were those moderns who came closest to the ancients: Raphael, the three Carracci and, above all, Nicolas Poussin. Classicism favored historical painting and the most "noble" subjects. It decreed the superiority of idea over appearance and of line over color. Finally it affirmed that the aim of art was not primarily to please but to instruct.
Rococo the word derives from French rocaille: an ornament made of rocks and shells.
How to Paint a Masterpiece
When talking about painting a masterpiece the first thing to investigate is paint.
Paint as we know it now: a prepared colored paste.
Paint was not used in the way we know it until linseed oil was mixed with colored pigment, making a slow-drying mass that could be applied with a knife or bristle brush so that it could pile up and hold a texture.
Oil paint was said to be invented by the Van Eyck brothers, in the fifteenth century, whose paint texture was hardly detectable. Tempera paint was used until this time and any textural paint was yet to come, but it did come with the use of oil paint.
Now paint is available without thought, so are masterpieces. Painting a masterpiece takes an appreciation and knowledge of color. Appreciation because artists' color has nothing to do with the reality of things. First there is earth color. For the illusion of a three-dimensional image, there is no need for any other color than earth colors. They are from the earth. There are reds, yellows, and browns. Colors look like what they mean, they are not what they represent. If this is known there is every reason, once involved, to carry on the tradition of illusion, and work with color for its sake only. Raw umber is a cool brown. Burnt umber is a warm brown. Raw sienna is a simple yellow. Burnt sienna is original red.
Orville has a round face.
New York, New York
Went to reading of Gertrude Stein. Then to Jane Yockel's for a chicken salad sandwich. Then to the studio in Westbeth. Happy New Year.
Sunday -- the first (1st)
Made lentils with onions, celery, carrots, lentils, tomatoes, and cumin seed. Added soup and left-over Hollandaise sauce. Took it to Kim Smith's party and had a wonderful time. Drank Bloody Marys and ate lovely food.
I learned I was not a faggot because they dress a certain way and live that part.
Spent most of the day at home in Westbeth, visited Jane Yockel and met Beth (Elizabeth Rectanus) there. She is truly lovely. I watched her a lot during the Stein readings and she looks like her mother but still acts like she always did. There is a certain time in life that one changes from what they always were to what they become. Sometimes it's conscious, sometimes it happens.
I flew from LaGuardia to Keene, New Hampshire. It was rather a local crowd, local waits and local time. The beautiful black girl who ok'd the baggage through the alarm system let everyone go through even if they tripped the alarm because she said it was levi buttons which caused the alarm.
Charlie Ryerson met me at the plane in Keene, and I took him to a restaurant, but he didn't eat. He drank two whiskey sours. I drank two martinis and ate chicken celeste. It was so good!
We went to the colony, then to my studio to see Orville. He was very dusty and I combed him and he was very glad to see me.
January 3. Tuesday.
Worked all day on painting. Went without breakfast, did a barre, then began work. Forgot to meditate because I turned on a little to see where I was in painting. Worked mostly on "Vermeer Chardin" and printed VERMEER / CHARDIN / GEORGE DEEM right on the canvas. This is my first signed painting.
Got very involved with a new "Woman Reading a letter" painting, but it hasn't been started yet.
Got a postcard from May Wilson.
Reading Lorna Doone is difficult until one realizes the description is for itself, not for any pictorial reason. There is no way to figure out how John Ridd gets to Lorna's garden, nor how the land is laid out in order to get certain plots into space. The book has no perspective. It's an enchantment and the writer is over-pleased with himself. I wonder how it came to be a classic because it isn't.
January 4 Wednesday
All kinds of new people.
Wendy (Edwards) and Phillip are from Texas but didn't know one another till now. They are both acting like they always did, but Wendy is changing. I like watching Phillip. He is very big, but vacant and has the most terrific beard, but isn't beard-like and that's Texas.
I gave postcard (Mona Lisa Washington) to lots of people. Many thank yous, but only Louva said something about it but I forgot the word. Jordan really liked it and told me my name if it were repeated would be redeem.
Peter Surian (Armenian) is delightful. Very family, big, loud and 1940s. He has written 3 novels and published them. When he mentioned the other two he said they were bad, but I think that's his way of saying they aren't published yet.
Worked on Perfect Copy -- it is so difficult. Walked to town and bought some scotch and a pint of bourbon for Ernie Larsen to thank him for taking care of Orville.
Met a new Jean / writer -- very Fance Franck. Met Eric a composer who twinkles and I like that. Met Barbara who is from Peterborough.
Worked on "MacDowell Colony." It is so easy to do and so beautiful. It is "Say it's a chair."
January 5 Thursday
Went to studio, did a barre, had tea and meditated. Worked all day on "Masterpiece." Today it looks good. New painting brewing: white bedroom. Lots of windows and Vermeer's "Woman Reading a Letter."
Letter from Tom Johnson.
Played billiards -- awful.
Had nice dinner w/ Louva, Ralph, Eric & Gordon.
When one hits the sore of his hand more than any other part of the hand, it is like putting a key into a door upside down, which is like most tables being uneven and rocking, which is like
Gordon is Chinese, very innocent and virgin-like. He is from Utah but born in China in Hong Kong. I like him because I like knowing a Gordon.
How to paint a masterpiece
First you must choose a recognizable masterpiece that is interesting to you. It could even have some association with you from your past, or from some memorable experience. You should be interested in the challenge.
Look at the reproduction carefully and get an idea of how you would copy it. Realize also that it is going to turn into something else. It will never be a reproduction, it will always be a copy. Find other reproductions of the same painting. Compare them not only for their differences, but notice which of the reproductions you prefer. Visit the painting. If it is possible, but don't let the original intimidate you. Don't attempt copying the original -- that is from a different century. It cannot be done anymore.
Arrange to own the reproduction or reproductions you are going to copy. If you have more than one reproduction, decide which one is going to be the ideal. Try to get details. They can be used for your own enjoyment as well as a help to establish how the painting is made.
Don't plan a way to do it too carefully, just do it. Beginning is most difficult, because you are so far from any kind of results. I would suggest no more than three attempts at one masterpiece in a period of six months. If nothing is happening, choose another masterpiece.
Make up your mind you are going to end with something you will be proud of, don't call it an exercise. This is not therapy.
After a while, you will find you are sliding into something very satisfying. That is the time you are working for. Now you are not concerned with what it looks like as much as you are so totally absorbed in the work itself. This is why you have started. Although you want the picture after it has been completed, the real part is the doing of it.
Slowly you will begin to lose the ideal you had in mind and drift to another consciousness that has to do with the mere abstract exercise of copy ing.
When the spirit of the copy begins to come alive in your copy, you have started the second level of communication with the masterpiece. Now you can begin adding a bit of interpretation. By this I mean, you will see that the original painting is not going to come forth on your easel. It's going to be your creation in the end. If there are areas that are too complicated to render, neglect them for awhile and work on other areas paying special attention to how close the likeness is to the original; the reproduction.
By now you might notice that your favorite reproduction has been edited a bit by the printer. Perhaps the reproduction you most favor is trimmed down a bit more than other reproductions. Don't let this concern you. Somehow you unconsciously preferred the cut-down reproduction.
As days pass you will begin to notice, almost with suspicion, how many reproductions are available of your masterpiece. This is normal. It happens with many things such as new clothes or a new car. It happens because you are very much into the life of your masterpiece.
The details that were impossible to copy are now more simple because everything is falling into place. If you like, put the painting away for awhile, so that you can come on it another time.
Do not show the work in progress to just anybody. This is rather a private matter. If people do see it and talk about it, they usually will tell you things that have nothing to do with where you are. The comments will be lists of criticisms about how much darker or lighter your painting is from the original reproduction. People like to say the hands are too little, if there are hands, but don't let that bother you. You and the spirit of the masterpiece are communicating and anyone who interrupts cannot possibly know what you are doing.
There is finally a time when the masterpiece enters into your painting. This is the highest moment of painting pleasure. Certain brush strokes are correct, certain hues are correct, you cannot make a mistake. This is the time that every painter waits for. The certainty of the act.
It might be a good idea to record your voices or moments of trance when you return to everyday life. They are important conclusions made by your unconscious, but don't wait for the voices or moments. They will come when you are transcended during the act of painting. Only record them if you can remember them. It's like a continuous noise that goes on all the time. When suddenly the noise stops you hear it. Noises, such as motors, don't start suddenly, they stop suddenly.
January 6 Friday
Somehow I never realized it was Friday, and when the radio said it was broadcasting "Der Rosenkavalier" tomorrow, I thought it was a special broadcast.
I walked to my studio in the morning and took Orville for his walk. He found a tree which he likes. I did a barre and enjoyed it so much. I can do single turns en passé rather better now.
Then I meditated. I decided to work on Vermeer Chardin and did all day. The day went quickly. I walked back for supper: meat loaf, and ate, then returned to my studio and worked till 10:30 on the Vermeer Lacemaker that's in the Vermeer Chardin. I decided to stay in my studio for the night because it was a drag to walk back to my room. Heard wonderful music, and Orville was very pleased.
Saturday January 7
There I was, when I awoke, at the studio. It seemed easy to get up, but I slept until 10:00. I did a barre, meditated and when my lunch arrived I had just begun work on Masterpiece. Oh, what a painting that is!
Before I knew it Der Rosenkavalier began. It was very well done, although the brass was a bit overstated, and by now there is a faint weakness in whether the Marschallin is going to rely on Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's past tradition, or discover a new type of rendering. In fact, during the second act I took Orville for a walk. The third act was very well done, except for the brass section, which consciously kept a sort of score. The opera is a triumph however, because two women kiss at the beginning and at the end and it is such a baroque play that is such art.
You know how much I love corned beef. We had it tonight. After a pool game, I convinced Charlie to go to town with Louva, Eric, Robert Jordon and me. We went to Riverdale had some beers. Louva & I danced a bit. Charlie is so cute that a young girl fell into his lap and tried to make time with him. We went to another bar for brandy, then back to the Colony. Lovely.
Sunday January 8
Went to breakfast this morning. Walked to studio with Phillip and Wendy. Took Orville for a walk. Did a barre, meditated, and worked all day on masterpiece.
Had sauerbraten for supper. My back hurts because I'm using it to paint my big painting more than usual.
I lay down after supper but went to watch T.V. because I thought Elvis was on. Instead we watched I, Claudius. Then "Nashville."
I like Jordan more and more. The local station played Roy Orbison and Rick Nelson alternating from 12 to 4 P.M. I loved it.
There is a redneck song that is made up of the titles of Elvis Presley's songs.
January 9 Monday
Spent the night at studio. Worked on "MacDowell Colony." Then began working on Chardin Vermeer after supper till it was late: 11:00 PM.
So decided to stay there. I couldn't get the Peterborough station, so listened to the WBAI-type Boston equivalent.
Vermeer Chardin worries me. It is close to being finished, but still so uncomposed.
How to paint a masterpiece
Any writer learns to write by reading books. Any musician or composer learns about music by listening to music. A painter learns what a painting is by copying.
A way to find out about how to paint is to copy until the property of paint is experienced. It doesn't matter who is copied. I am involved with Vermeer, but anything can and should be copied. I have a friend who copies excellent Morris Louis.
January 10 Tuesday
It was difficult to begin work, but after a barre, and an orange and tea and meditation I began working on Chardin/Vermeer or Vermeer/Chardin and it is starting its space. There are three layers/ or planes that I want logically to be behind one another.
The weather was cold and windy, and it was a bit cold in the studio. I quit work at 3:00, meditated, and got ready for Jordan's visit by cleaning up and reading Middlemarch. He arrived a bit after 4, and we had a very nice visit talking about composition. He knows so little about visual art.
We walked together in the cold, got to the house and Louva served Bloody Marys to me and Jordan. It was a last day drink. Jordan is going away tomorrow.
How to paint a masterpiece
If the end results of the masterpiece do not satisfy you, find another masterpiece to copy. Keep the first one you made, because you want to see it again, privately. You will remember where your mind was on the new copy, because now you know where the mind goes when you paint. Painting is not relaxing. One cannot relax when they paint. Don't concern yourself about relaxing. It comes when it comes anyway. You'll be there. Painting is somewhere to go. Don't pay attention to where your mind begins to go, just let it go. During the second painting try and trace how your thoughts went. Seeing the browns and yellows on the palette, did you think of the same thing you thought of the last time you painted? Do that the next time you paint. While putting paint on the palette, at least try to use one color to remember using that color before. I especially like to think of the same thing when I use yellow, or even squeeze yellow out of a tube. The thought is opera. Opera is yellow.
Now you know a great deal more about applying paint to a canvas and you know how to paint one hue over the other until a blending begins. Never hesitate leaving the paint dry on the canvas. Inside you know how you got the color, it will appear again. Free and artistic brushwork is artificial decoration. That certain texture or effect that is seen in the paintings of Matisse or Dufy is unconscious and cannot be rendered on purpose.
Don't worry about art while painting. All the reading and talk about esthetics is for reading and talking. Painting is only painting.
If in doubt of what you are doing, stop and look closely at what you have been working on, you will be surprised at the beauty of paint that has been applied, and will not necessarily remember when certain things were done, but you know you did it. This is a way to refresh yourself. If you have ever played a musical instrument you will remember hearing what you play, and at some time you were surprised that it sounded so good. "Can that be me" is what you say to yourself. This same discovery happens when you paint a masterpiece.
You know what you are doing, you know what it should look like, what could be a more comfortable challenge.
Don't get concerned with truth in art, that is only an expression.
January 11, Wednesday
Said good-by to Jordan. He is going to talk to the University about my lecturing there. University of Utah.
I went to breakfast this morning and sat between Ruth and Louva who hate one another. Ruth left and Wendy (Edwards) came in, thanking me for lending my catalogue. She said Witte Memorial is pronounced WITTEE. She knows McGregor (Jack McGregor, The Witte Museum Director) and was very impressed with my work. Louva is coming to see me at my studio tomorrow.
When I got to the studio, I walked Orville, meditated and worked all day on "MacDowell Colony" painting. After lunch I walked into town for some brushes, cat food, and scotch. I returned and meditated and worked till 5. Then went to Ernie's for a drink. His studio is lovely.
At dinner (lasagna) Charlie told me he might get an extension till the end of the month. Then he would drive Orville and me back to New York.
Worked till 10 after supper, then visited with Phillip. He showed me some of his work. He should work more, but has beautiful hard-edge collages and etchings.
January 12, Thursday
Got to studio, did a barre after walking with Orville and meditated.Worked on the masterpiece, and it is a masterpiece. I realized that I was working on How to paint a masterpiece while doing a masterpiece copy in my studio. Louva was to come over, but didn't show. I was very happy. I am very happy. Invited Charlie over for a drink, scotch. Nancy Englander (Director of the MacDowell Colony) drove me to my studio with Gemini, her young doberman. I stretched and began drawing on a new canvas while waiting for Charlie. He came, we drank some scotch, then turned on. It was very nice. Went to his studio. He showed me more of his work. I don't want it, but it's very good. I got home and to bed at 2:30 AM.
January 13, Friday
I got up at 11:00 went to studio and decided to rest today, so began painting on new painting. It's a girl reading a letter (Vermeer), and she is in a modern room. It's a long painting and too long to be correct in composition, so I decided to put it on a canvas too tall for it, and let the empty top space take care of itself. During meditation yesterday, I remembered Jasper Johns's painting "Two Dutch Wives."
Now I painted Johns's (hatch marks) texture at the top. The painting is called "Two Dutch Wives (Jasper Johns)."
Charlie came over again tonight. We drank scotch and smoked one cigarette.
I am planning even another painting of a Vermeer, perfectly copied but unfinished, with one central part perfectly finished. Like "Restoration."
Saturday, January 14
Only 15 days left.
Got to my studio at 10:00 this morning. Charlie and I said goodby. He came to my studio for a drink and brought me some Tuborg beer. I gave him my plaid scarf, because it looks just like him. Got here at about 1:00 AM (PM?).
After the barre and meditation, I worked on masterpiece. This treatment will be completed easily tomorrow, then I can begin GLAZING.
Heard "Il Trovatore" from the Met broadcast and the gypsy, Azucena, was fabulous. It's such a lovely opera. The broadcast arranged for two different times to tell the story, but this story is so inside, it's impossible to tell. It comes from the Spanish courts, during the Renaissance.
Had dinner and worked on Masterpiece until 9:30. Read J. Johns's catalogue. Wendy loaned it. It's very good reading. I am reading everything and it makes sense, and I stay awake.
Be cautious about how colorful the masterpiece that you choose is. Remember, color was not used as an end in itself until late Cubism. Up until then color was carefully modeled and used only with careful dark and light value. Unless you are a colorist, choose a masterpiece before 1900, so that you can acquaint yourself with what was, so you can see what is.
Having a masterpiece copied by yourself is having something you already have.
Sunday January 15
Wrote a letter to Selma today.
Meditated but did no barre, because I ate breakfast, and was too full. Worked on "Masterpiece." I thought I could finish the lower fourth by noon, but it took until four o'clock. This is the third application. Now I begin with glaze, but tomorrow I plan to finish "MacDowell Colony" then work on "Dutch Wives."
Jasper Johns's catalogue is wonderful. Leo Castelli was born in Turin, Italy, and must be Jewish because he is so close with the Jewish Museum in New York. He ran a private gallery in Paris before he went to New York. The only reason I am curious about his being Jewish is because he must be in order to work so well in New York.
Jasper Johns's Two Dutch Wives is made with newspaper and paint. Encaustic.
Monday, January 16
Got to studio at 8:00, did barre, meditated, ate my orange and had a cup of tea. Then began working on MacDowell. I thought it would take only the morning to get finished with -- really finished, but I worked on it all day, and it is not quite finished yet. It does look good. There is something bothering when I finish a painting, then I realize that I am not finishing it, but doing another process and will finish it another time, but usually not necessarily the next process, until it finally is really finished.
Finished reading Jasper Johns's catalogue, and found it very good, very useful.
Returned to studio after supper and worked on Vermeer Chardin. It's a very mixing-up painting. Later in the evening it will work best by making Chardin out of focus and the Vermeer very sharp.
I stayed the night in the studio.
Tuesday, January 17
Got up at 9:00 AM, took Orville for a nice walk, did the barre and meditated for a long time. Such silly and funny things coming in meditation, then they change to very deep endings. This one (meditation) lasted an hour, because lunch was delivered soon after.
I painted all afternoon on Vermeer Chardin and have no idea what it's doing, but it is looking much better.
In the morning I worked on Two Dutch Wives -- J.Johns -- very difficult to conclude that I'm copying a partial Johns, so I glued newspaper down on the wet oil, and will attempt it again.
The lower part is going to be a dream to paint.
There was a cocktail party at the library for some local donors. I met a man from Yankee Magazine, plus other people. At table David (Del Tredici) told me about a friend, then he said, "he's gay," so, as English people like to do, David must be gay. He's funny looking, Cyril-like, (Cyril Frankel) but very interesting. He keeps giving me Italian poems that he is setting to music. I want to hear his music.
How to paint a masterpiece
After the painting is gridded and drawn in, begin painting as soon as possible. I have under painted the canvas even before drawing the grid lines in order to get rid of the white canvas.It could all be gridded in acrylic and the first proportions painted in with acrylic. It's even possible to paint the entire painting with acrylic and touching it up with oil at the finish.
When the painting operation starts, paint everything as simple as possible and paint everywhere until the coat is covering roughly everything. Let it dry.
When staring the second operation, you will then be able to re-render the certain places that were generalized. Always work on your favorite parts as much as you like, then prepare to end the second process. The next application you will start seeing more things in the picture, things you hadn't noticed before.
Whenever it gets you down, let it dry and worry about it another time. Go look at other paintings and notice how difficult the effort is in them. By using oil paint one is able to repaint anywhere, anytime, then one day they can see the effort, even remember the doubts and problems. These are masterpiece tracks.
January 18, Wednesday
Went to breakfast (French toast & bacon). Walked to studio, meditated, and began working on glazed application of Masterpiece. Got upset and walked to town, got Orville food. Returned and finished the area of glazing I had begun. Somehow it's so dark. When glazing, one works only on parts, it's like painting fresco with certain isolated parts. I sat down and meditated for hour and a half. It was wonderful, and painting looks better.
After supper returned to studio and worked on Two Dutch Wives -- J. Johns. It's great work.
Took Orville for a walk before I began. At 9:00 he asked for another walk. We went all the way to Phillip's and Orville liked that.
Wrote a letter to Ronald and a postcard to Jane. Got back here at 11:45.
January 19, Thursday
Went to studio, took Orville to the shed where I sit while Orville walks around and pees in the un-frozen sand, but took paper and did a quick drawing of the barn. It is so beautiful with snow on it, and at the top is a green window, a perfect 45-degree angled roof but the windows are diamond shape as tho someone put a normal window on its end up there in the cone of the roof.
I did a barre, had tea and meditated. Then began working more on MacDowell painting. It is nearly finished -- after feeding Orville, meditating, and cleaning up, I went back to my room early to take a shower & shave before dinner. Got 3 letters from Ronald, and one from Ron Thibodeau.
Went back to studio and worked on Vermeer/Chardin, and saved it. I believe it now. Decided to stay at studio, turned on and enjoyed my work so much. Masterpiece is drying, but will be ready to work on soon.
Phillip came over to the studio. I was listening to the most remarkable performance of Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Concerto. Phillip wants to walk to town with me tomorrow and cash a check.
Woke up this morning in a blizzard. 22 inches of snow! I went to Phillip's and he wasn't there, so I worked on "Two Dutch Wives" all day. I made the Vermeer figure shorter and enjoyed so much working on the interior. Had a terrible time getting out of the door. The glass outside door was 20 inches in snow.
Meditation was uneven and anxious, then I realized I had 10 more days here, but how will I ever get back to the city? At dinner I heard Wendy was driving to New York and talked to her. She is going Monday or Tuesday and will be happy to take me.
So I'm leaving here Monday or Tuesday.
Saturday January 21
Had breakfast this morning. Phillip and I walked to town to buy some things (wine and scotch) for my party (open house) tomorrow. Met Jane of Cambridge at the liquor store and she drove me to the studio.
I meditated and made the announcement for the open house, then painted on "Two Dutch Wives." Phillip knocked at the door and gave me cheese and biscuits for the party. He is great! I showed him my paintings.
Heard "Tannhäuser," the Metropolitan Opera broadcast. It was magnificent. Orville liked it. He is quiet when I paint. When I walk around he plays with things on the floor.
Went to dinner. Phillip had some Black Label scotch. It is so good. Had dinner and noticed no one saw my pinned-up open house announcement, so I told everyone.
Went back to studio and worked on the fabric that's on the Vermeer/Chardin. It didn't work, so I rubbed it out.
Wagner has few themes in "Tannhäuser," it's the orchestration that one hears.
January 22, Sunday
I went to breakfast, then went on to the studio, did a barre and meditated a long lovely time. Painted my name on the shield that each studio has. The only name I recognized was Joseph Hirsch. Then I repainted the fabric that's on Vermeer/Chardin. By that time, it was clean-up and prepare for the open house party.
The party was marvelously successful. Phillip's cheese was all laid out. I walked to the Hall, got some ice, picked up my suitcase, and had time to pack all my props. Helen and Lois were the first to arrive. They were brought by Rick & Barbara. Within moments Eric & Robert came, Nadine and Wendy, Ruth and her new friend George Manlove -- a lovely guy. Hannah and Jack, then Jane Watkins and dear Ralph. I was so pleased Ralph got there. He is such a good man. Edith, Jean Valentine, and last, David. etc -- well, everybody came, and it worked marvelously for the last evening at MacDowell Colony.
January 23, Monday
Got up with a start, and packed everything in my room, put it into Wendy's van, then had breakfast.
Went to the studio and packed everything that wasn't already completed. Then Phillip came over, gave me his address, and helped me get other things together. Wendy arrived, we got everything into the van and went to get mail from the Hall. Robert and Eric got into the back, and Wendy and I rode up front, Wendy driving all the while. It was a pleasant trip with one stop for Burger King, and one for gas.
6 hours from Peterborough to New York City. Dropped off Eric & Robert. Eric had a musical writing typewriter which he brought back to his room off Second Avenue at 7th Street. It was a terribly overcrowded, overheated smelly tiny room. The type we all started with when we got to New York, but Eric is 45 years old at least.
Wendy brought me to Westbeth and I moved back from Peterborough, Orville is very glad to be back, and so am I.
Visited Jane (Yockel) and Artservices. Erica Rutherford arrives today & Ellen Lee telephoned later that evening.
January 24, Tuesday
Got up late here, in Westbeth, and did a barre, meditated, and had breakfast. Went to meet (Indianapolis Museum Curator) Ellen Lee at the Whitney Museum, where we met w/Richard Marshall and talked about the July show, Art About Art.
Evening; Erica Rutherford, Jane Yockel, John Evans were here for dinner: leeks in cream, rice, broccoli & Hollandaise, and fried acorn squash. Nice evening.
I unpacked all my material and for the first time arranged my studio here at Westbeth. It is such a pleasant room, but I'm eager to know what I will paint here. I've only finished work here, and now I've four new paintings to finish that I began at MacDowell. Maybe I'll never start anything here.
Wednesday, January 25
Set up studio, it was too rainy to go out, so I stayed in the building all day.
Framed two photographs that Ann Cornelisen gave me.
Because it was late when I got up this morning, everything was late all day.
Thursday, January 26
Went on nice shopping trip. First took radio to be fixed, then went to the bank and got a Master Charge card. Walked to 8th Street, bought some artichoke hearts in glass jars, but on the way found some shampoo at a discount store. My hair is different since I'm taking gelatin.
Went to Soho for (canvas) stretcher appointment. That is, I had four stretchers put into the works. Two are for the Vermeers, and two are for frames I've already had made. They will be ready Thursday, February 2.
Bought coffee, tea pot and went to vegetable shop for cucumbers, tomatoes, and fennel. Guests tonight; Erica (Rutherford), Jane(Yockel) Mary Ellen (Andrews), Wendy Edwards, Ellen Lee. Later Benny Andrews showed too.
We had a great time, lasting into a long long evening.
I served pasta salad w/mayonnaise, next stewed tomatoes, and braised fennel, cheese & fruit.
Friday, January 27
In the evening Beth (Rectanus) and Marsha came over and Beth gave us a huge calendar 1978.
Dale Worsley came later and said hello.
Saturday, January 28
Got up at 8:30, but got to work on moving telephone, fixing door lock and hanging big new calendar before opera broadcast. Relocated the telephone, by moving it here into the studio, fixed the lock on the entrance door and hung Beth's calendar. Opera: Massenet's Thaïs -- never heard it, nor heard of it. It's too charming, but will probably become popular because of the violin solo called "Meditation." I hope so.
Painted on yellow curtain painting during opera. Looking forward to good working tomorrow.
Went for walk around thrift-type shops on Bleecker Street. Got home at 7:00 PM.
I want to paint a straight version of Van Gogh's bedroom.
Sunday, January 29
Worked all day on Yellow Curtain room, then went to Beth's party. Vicky, Virginia, Penny, Kathy, Jane, Mimi, Marsha, Julie, Mary Ellen, Jane, Kermit, Benny, Ronald and me.
She served lemon soup, stuffed mushrooms. There was a dip w/greens, lots of cheese, lots of bread and a delightful time.
Returned home, watched I, Claudius, last program, then called MacDowell talked to Wendy, Lois, Phillip.
Monday, January 30
Went to the bank, got my credit card and took my Telefunken radio to be repaired.
It is hard to start working here because it is all so new yet familiar. It's easy to do nothing a lot.
Geri Saint says she wants to buy "Private Collection." She showed me her work -- excellent!
Tuesday, January 31
MacDowell Reunion. Met Max Schaible on the way to 66th Street (MacDowell Office in New York). Went to business meeting. Drinks afterwards. Mary Ellen Andrews loves to go places and meet Benny there. She has a certain appreciation of danger without him while knowing he will show up. I met Jean Boudin, Nora Sayre, Alice Bach, Louva Irvine, Hannah Green. I like Hannah Green because she can spell her name backwards, hannaH, and she looks like a woman I've always wanted to meet. I met Janet Sternberg there, and Richard & Sarah Shaffer, Steve Pele, Charlie Ryerson, Helen and Ralph Dubin, and many new people. Benny, Mary Ellen, Ralph and Helen, John and his wife all went to dinner in the Village afterwards.
I am painting on MacDowell Colony and making a better rug on the floor. It's a great painting.
I am working on the Benedicte Pesle painting -- so good to get at it again.
Wednesday, February 1
February is friendly.
I painted this morning, not being aware of February. In the afternoon I went to Allan Stone Gallery. Then to Brooke Jackson Gallery.
Salt is a problem and not a problem. Sugar is not a problem and then a problem.
Milk is loose
Milk is loose
One cooks with butter in the United States of America, but women think butter is a problem. Women don't think smoking cigarettes is as bad as men do.
Men -- milk
Women -- tobacco
Birds do not have feeling in their legs. Birds have sense enough to be in trees.
Does water annoy on purpose, like wind?
Thursday, February 2
Ronald and I went to the Guggenheim Museum to see the exhibition of Jiri Kolar. It was wonderful stuff, and great to go to a museum with Ronald Vance. We so seldom go together.
Next, we went to Frumkin Gallery and to the Peter Saul painting (show): acrylic automatic technique depicting Delacroix, Duchamp & DeKooning. Very over-bright color used well but the same stipple flat pattern technique used with each painting.
Ann Cornelisen telephoned, but we were out.
Ochiishi came over with two grapefruits after supper. We had a very good time.
Picked up stretchers in the morning. Lovely. Canvas stretchers $95.00
Friday, February 3
Went shopping for calligraphic supplies, canvas, etc.
Jean Rigg came for supper. We went on to Merce Cunningham evening (at Cunningham dance studio in Westbeth). Lovely.
David Vaughan and Greg Tonning joined us for a drink here after.
Saturday February 4
I am making a heart for Mimi Johnson's party. I'm using a striped red sheet, and the heart is large.
Went shopping for foam rubber chips to stuff the pillow/heart with.
It's a heart for H.ARTSERVICES
Went to Allan Stone Gallery. Met Raoul Middleman who is interested in my lecturing, wants me to do my first February 22, Wednesday, at Maryland Art Institute.
Went to Mimi's party and danced a lot.
Very late to bed because of reading from Cow (The Cow in Manhattan, memoir by George Deem) .
Sunday February 5, 78
I liked Sunday.
We stayed up for a long time reading Cow and it was difficult to get up. I had my first day of calligraphy to teach. I practiced lettering for an hour and one half, then Julie arrived and we began. Beth arrived then. I caught Beth up, but was surprised how timid she was with writing.
Went to Ellen (Robbins)'s concert in the evening. It was a great delight.
Monday, February 6
It began to snow and got bad enough for Jane to come here (from her Artservices office upstairs at Westbeth) and spend the night. I liked that.
The rest of this notebook is used for a daily record of appointments, business notes, and expenses. Samples follow. George Deem's journal entries continue in Notebook Two 1978.
Sunday, February 19
Calligraphy class, two hours, four pupils, each paying one dollar per hour: $8.00
Wednesday, February 22
Maryland Institute lecture, How to Paint a Masterpiece. paid: $150.00.
Monday, February 27
Bought 2 slides for lecture "How to Paint a Masterpiece," $1.50 each: $3.00
Thursday March 2
(Sister) Selma's ring: $75.00. American Express card.
Friday, March 3.
Macy's. Suede sweater for (brother-in-law) Bill Schulze. $21.59. Master Charge.
Syms. Aunt Rene (Foster-mother irene Deem Ottensmeyer)'s wallet. $10.89
Sunday, March 5
Wichita, Kansas. Holiday Inn. $20.74. American express card.
Tuesday, March 7
Lawrence, Kansas. $33.52. American Express card
Wednesday, March 8.
St. Louis, The Colony Hotel. $24.75. American Express
Thursday, March 9.
Indianapolis, Ramada Inn, $26.08. American Express.
Friday, March 10, Saturday, March 11, Sunday, March 12
Vincennes, Indiana. Selma and Bill's,
Monday, March 13
Return to NYC
Thursday, March 16
Received check from Marsh- Freedman: $250.
They asked to purchase Danesbank Vermeer for $1,000.
Friday, March 17
Dinner for Michelle Amateau and Don Schule; Robert and Carolyn Cumming; Bill and Leslie Hennessey; Jane Yockel; Ronald Vance.
Food $21.87. Wine: $22.00.
Saturday, March 18
Opening of Michelle Amateau (performance) Sound and Word Adventure at The Kitchen. Taxi $3.75.
Tuesday, March 21
MacDowell. Edith Konecky's reading. Allan Stone Gallery in afternoon. Cab $4.25. Drinks $9.50
Wednesday, April 19
Margaret Wright (singing at) Village gate. $7.00
Tuesday, April 25
Bark Frameworks. 3 frames. $130.24. Paid by check.
Thomas feist. Photographs. $93.50. Paid by check.
Received from Marsh-Freedman $250. Payment on Sebastian in the Kitchen.
Thursday, April 27.
David Gordon (Dance) Concert. $3.00
Entertained Mimi Johnson, Jane Yockel, and Margaret Wood in SOHO. $12.00
Taxi $2.30. Total $14.30
Friday April 28
Taxi to deliver painting to Allan Stone Gallery: $6.70
Plant (gift) for Lee Guilliatt Painting and Drawing Exhibition (her studio) $7.00
Dinner in Chinatown (after Guilliatt exhibition) with Benny and Mary Ellen Andrews, Ochiishi, Sheila Milder, and Ronald Vance. $12.00. Tax return $3.60
Saturday, April 29
Dinner: Beth Rectanus, Power Boothe, Jane Yockel, John and Margaret Evans, Ronald Vance. Food $16.08. Wine $9.00
Saturday May 6
Merida Gallery Visited: $27.00 for dinner. (Fred Merida, Merida Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky).
Merida paid $200. check for printed (exhibition) mailer announcements.
Thursday, May 18
Concert at Alice Tully Hall. $5.00. Dinner (snack) w/Ellen Robbins $11.83.
Cancelled afternoon w/Annabelle Gamson.
(Friday) May 26
Ronald, me, Robert & Carolyn Cumming (Christie's). Master Card Charge.
Sunday, May 28
Scotty Snyder, Brunch in (her) garden (at Patchin Place) w/Ochiishi.
Tuesday, May 30
Leslie Hennessey, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Discussed lecture of mine for Fall '78. Discussed her article about me in Fall edition of American Art Review; need better transparencies. Cab to & from 87th Street East: $12.40. Dinner: $17.70. Total: $30.10.
Wednesday, May 31
Dinner party here: Alice Neel; her son; wife of son; Mary Ellen & Benny Andrews; Mimi Johnson; Jane Yockel; Max Schaible; Barbara Schaible. Schaible party: wine $23.87. Food: $32.43. Total: $56.30
Thursday, June 1
Philip Glass's Concert Carnegie Hall. June Goldman (from Artservices) took (us) to dinner at the Russian Tea Room. Taxi: $4.70.
Sunday, June 4
Ellen Robbins Concert. Irene Feigenheimer's party.
Monday, June 5
Paid Thomas Andrews for work 11:30-5:00: $22.00
Thursday, June 8
Lee Guilliatt's Birthday. 4 T-shirts (gift) w/ Lee Guilliatt printed on. $43.16 paid in cash.
Saturday, June 10.
Mary Overlie concert. $5.00 cash
Sunday, June 11
Louisville, Kentucky. Received $200.00 for lecture "How to Paint a Masterpiece." Speed Museum. 2:00 PM.
Monday, June 12
Louisville Motel: $84.03
Tuesday, June 13
Cumberland, Kentucky. $26.78
Wednesday, June 14
Little Switzerland, North Carolina. Dinner $20.00
Thursday, June 15.
Little Switzerland, North Carolina.
Ticket to Louisville -- return from Durham, North Carolina. VoyagePlan: $164.00. $25.00 returned. $20 discount American Express.
Friday, June 16
The Doe Run at Groundhog Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway, Hillsville, Virginia. $49.40. paid by check.
Wednesday, June 21
Picked up frames from Bark Frameworks. Met Lorene Schunk (cousin Lorene McCormick Burkhart), who had her purse stolen at One Fifth Avenue.
Mat & talked w/Sam Wiener.
Thursday, June 22
Thomas Andrews $18.00 for services
Sunday, June 25
Lunch at Scotty Snyders, at Patchin Place. Etel Adnan, Cindy Lubar, Georgina Kleege.
Sunday evening: movie of David Warrilow
Friday, June 30
Saturday July 1st
Sunday, July 2nd
Jane Yockel, Beverly Emmons: there -- duck
Monday July 3
Tuesday July 4
Lee Guilliatt painted David Vaughan, Ronald Vance, Essie Borden, George Deem
Wednesday, July 5
Tuesday, July 11
Went to World Trade Center. Boiught shirts from Syms. Went to People's Republic of China at the Met. $12.00. My guest: Sarah Lansdell, Louisville Courier Journal. She paid dinner.
Friday, July 28
Grazia Gunn, Australian curator. Dinner here: $37.58. Wine: $12.00.
Monday, July 31.
Grazia Gunn at Museum of Modern Art. $5.00
Wednesday, August 2
Ochiishi's opening at the Nippon Museum. Cab: $3.75. Drinks: $7.00
Thursday, August 3
Ochiishi Birthday party: Benny Andrews, Mary Ellen Andrews, Jane Yockel, Ray Johnson, Toby (Spiselman), Scotty Snyder, Ochiishi, Jean Rigg. Candles: $1.23. Cake: $15.00. Food: $27.58. Plus Wine: $23.26
Monday, August 14
Al carmines and David Vaughan concert. Bloomingdale's. Summer Clothes. $23.61. Check.
Friday, September 8
Dinner for Al Carmines and Paul. Lee Guilliatt, Essie Borden, Jane Yockel. Shopping $40.08
Tuesday, September 19
Dinner, Peter Frank. (Broome Street).
Wednesday, September 20
Bought "Beets," a watercolor, from Lee Guilliatt. $85.00 check.
Saturday, September 23
Indian Dance w/Geri Saint. Dinner Via Marguta, $25.00 Master Card
Tuesday, September 26
Ronald had dentist appointment. We walked to see Lucinda (Childs), but she was not performing at The Kitchen. I completed the reading of Mishima's 4 novels.
Thursday, September 28
David Gordon performance. Jane, dinner. groceries $4.00. David Gordon $6.00. Total $10.00
Tuesday, October 3
Josef Levi visited.
Wednesday, October 4
Check from pat Sneed (Sneed Gallery, Rockford, Illinois) $750.00. Partial payment on painting Miracle
Saturday, October 21
Geri Saint -- collector. Dinner Geri's. Taxi: $3.00. Movie: $4.00 each.
Sunday, October 22
Bernard Williams -- collector. Brunch shopping $10.51 plus wine $12.93: $23.41
Monday October 23
Went to Lee and Essie's to work on quilt (for painting New York Vermeer).
Friday, November 3
Al Carmines's opera "In Praise of Death." $3.00 each. $9.00.
Sunday, November 5
Jane Yockel, dinner. Beth (Rectanus) and Beverly Emmons.
Friday, November 10
Dinner: Babette Mangolte, Beverly Emmons, Jane Yockel, David Vaughan. Shopping: $30.93
Tuesday, November 15
Manhattan Art Tours studio visit. Received $100.
Monday, November 20
Dinner, Bill Hennessey, curator,(Spencer Museum), Lawrence, Kansas. Shopping: $23.97
Tuesday, November 28
Rennie Airth took us to lunch, Prince Street Bar.
Sunday, December 3
Pat Sneed (Sneed Gallery Lunch at St. Regis -- she took me. Taxi: $8.40
Monday, December 25
Painted all day. Went to Scotty's & Jane's.
Saturday, December 30
End of 1978 Notebook One