Tag Archives: Family

Why I Sleep Better


My grandfather once told me that the hours of sleep before midnight were better than those afterwards, so he recommended that I get to bed at a reasonable hour.  In order to wake up early in the morning to draw, I try to get to bed before 10:00 P.M.  I always thought my grandfather’s suggestion was just some folksy aphorism, but when I go to bed early, I sleep better – go figure.  Thanks for the advice, Opa.

P.S.  My grandfather’s favorite expression was, “Courtesy costs nothing, gains much.”  He was a wise man, and I miss him.

A Time For Thanks

C & B_babies

I am thankful for these little guys, and for the bigger versions they are now.  Of course, I’m also thankful for the little brother, who after seeing that he was not included in this drawing, told me that I have to draw him next.  It’s a good thing I am still on a portrait kick.

P.S. And thanks to you for visiting The Hipping Post.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

On Jeff Koons, Technicians, and Minions


Last Tuesday, Christie’s held an auction where Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud sold for $142.2 million, the highest price ever paid for a single piece of art.  Jeff Koons‘s Balloon Dog (Orange), which according to the New York Times, is a “10-foot-tall mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture that resembles a child’s party favor,” sold for $58.4 million.  Jeff Koons made four other balloon dogs, each in a different color, so I’m sure the owners of those pieces are feeling pretty good about their respective art collections.

Unlike Francis Bacon, who unquestionably painted his triptych, it’s unlikely that Koons actually built all five dogs on his own, as Koons is known for employing “technicians” to construct his sculptures.  Some contemporary artists defend the use of technicians, as they believe the idea behind the art is more important than who actually completes the work.  For example, Damien Hirst had the idea behind The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, but I’m sure he had help suspending the 14-foot tiger shark in his 20-foot case of formaldehyde.

With three sons, I’d like to think that I have my own budding young technicians.  I have plenty of contemporary art ideas, some of which I have already titled, but none of which my technicians have properly completed.  These ideas include Clean Bedrooms, Table Manners, and A Day Without Whining.  Not only are my helpers not as dedicated as Jeff Koons’s employees, but I also recently found myself in a role reversal.

My son asked me to help him paint a portrait of a Minion that he wanted to give to his friend.  My son picked out the reference picture, and said that he just needed help with the outline.  Once I drew the Minion in pencil, I pointed out where the yellow, the blue, and the black should go.  He blocked in most of the colors, but then he asked if I could paint the eyes, the mouth, the hair, and the logo on the overalls.  “And can you just finish the rest for me?” he said.

So after a few minutes of watching me add touches of paint here and there, the artist left the room to consider more important ideas, like whether to litter our living room with orange construction cones, or to just watch another episode of Jessie.

When I finished, I showed the painting to my son, who was happy with the result.  He then asked me, “Where do I sign it?”

Like a loyal technician, I pointed to the right hand side of the painting and said, “Your name would look good here.”

P.S. And no, the irony of the subject matter was not lost on me.

P.P.S. I listened to an interview with Damien Hirst, who said that he often thinks of titles for his works before he even gets started on the idea.  And if you would like to see some of Damien’s technicians in action, watch this timelapse video.


Stacie 2013

Stacie – pencil on paper

It’s our tenth anniversary this week, so I drew this portrait of Stacie based on a picture that was taken just after our engagement.

Discovering at the Discovery Museum

Discovery MuseumA day out with my youngest at the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

What Happens When You Leave Wall Street?


You pack up your Upper West Side apartment.  You drive across the country.  You put all of your earthly belongings in storage.  You and your family take a year to travel around the world.  And you grow a beard.

Safe travels brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece.  Enjoy, and we’ll see you when you return.

P.S.  And you forget to call your nephews on their birthday.

Uncle Jimmy

Uncle Jimmy

Last weekend, my Uncle Jimmy visited us.  He has lived in Paris for almost thirty years, so it’s not often we get to see him.  Last year, we unknowingly scheduled vacations to Vancouver on the same week (see my post, “Coola”), so we spent a few days with him there.  We had a great time, so we were excited about his trip to San Francisco.

When I was kid, Uncle Jimmy used to bring me presents, like Swiss chocolates (back when you couldn’t get them at Safeway), and my first Swiss Army knife.  He still brings gifts, but I enjoy seeing him more than I do the things he brings in his suitcase.  I particularly enjoyed watching him interact with my boys.  He taught them how to play croquet, and he told them about all the sites in Paris.  In a way, I got to relive his visits when I was a boy through my kids’ eyes.

He also introduced my boys to the song, “Anything You Can Do” (see video below).  It’s a hard song to get out of your head, and my boys keep singing it, so although Uncle Jimmy has now returned to Paris, he is most certainly still with us in spirit and in song.

We had a fantastic time, so now my kids are bugging me about when we are going to visit Uncle Jimmy at his home.  Bientôt mes fils, bientôt.