Sunday, August 19, 2018

VAN STEIN PAINTING FOR SALE: MONACO



Tete de Chien Beneath Full Moon, Monaco
2003
Oil-on-board 10 x 14
$1500



Available from online gallery:




Driving into Monaco from St-Remy, where we'd dropped into the insane asylum favored by Van Gogh, I am sidelined by an officious police officer.  I would have stopped us, too, in our baseball caps, leather bomber jackets, unshaven faces, bloodshot eyes and unkempt hair.

Van Stein startles awake, having been painting Van Gogh's asylum all night.  "What's going on?"  He tries to focus bleary eyes on the immaculately coiffed and uniformed female Nazi.  "Uh-oh," he mutters, "not another threshold guardian."


"Identity!" she demands.


We surrender our passports, which she scrutinizes before patching out names through to Police Central.  Car papers, she demands.  I hand her a wad of rental documents.


Then the grilling.


Why do you come to Monaco?


"I have a rendezvous with Prince Albert."  I check my wristwatch.  "In forty-five minutes."


"Le Prince Hereditaire?" She looks at scruffy me like I'm either nuts or pranking her.


"Yup, that be him."


Again, she whispers into her two-way radio, listens.  The expression on her originally-stern face changes as she gently hands me our passports and papers.  "I'm so sorry," she says. "It is my job."


"It's okay," I reassure her.


"Goddam Nazi," Van Stein hisses as we spiral down to Monte Carlo, a quiet Sunday morning.  We take an open-air table at Cafe de Paris for cappuccino and croissants, joined by Reek Pisserin, in from London to join me for princely business.


And while Reek and I tend to that, Van Stein goes off to paint...




VAN STEIN PAINTING FOR SALE: ICELAND



Geysir, Iceland
January 2002
Oil-on-board 8 x 12
$1000

Available from online gallery:






From Surreal Bounce (Earthshine Editions, 2009):


At seven o'clock Van Stein and Erik the Red trudge in from the cold; Floater and I are lurking in the lobby of Hotel Holt.  Erik shakes his head.  "You have no idea what we've been through today."  He says this with a Scotch accent thicker than usual because his tongue is 80 percent frozen.  The artist looks as if he's been plugged into an electrical substation.  His face is freeze-burned, hair frizzled. eyes ablaze with madness.  He cannot speak.

Kristjan the Guide nods.  The King of Hardy himself is impressed by Van Stein's indifference to the elements in his quest to capture nature at its most absurd.

One hour later we launch on foot to a Reykjavik seafood restaurant called Vid Tjornina.

"I got kissed by the devil today," whoops Van Stein, warming to the candlelight on our table.

Erik the Red explains:  While Van Stein painted a geyser in sub-frozen conditions, the damn thing changed direction and slapped him hard before freezing to ice.  Talk about wind chill.  "It was the biggest blow of the day," says Erik.

"In other words," I say, "Thomas made a pass at a hot hole and got geyser-whacked?"

"No."  Van Stein stiffens.  "I tried to paint the devil, and he blew me a kiss, from the abyss."

"Wait until you discover you're pregnant," I say.



VAN STEIN OIL PAINTING FOR SALE: NOTRE DAME, PARIS



Notre Dame, Paris
January 2007
Oil-on-board 6 x 10
$950


Available through online gallery:





Thomas Van Stein is best known for his plein-air nocturnes.

He paints on-site, sometimes till four in the morning.

From Surreal Bounce (Earthshine Editions, 2009):

motioning into the very heart of Paris:  Ile St-Louis, a village in the middle of the River Seine connected to land by a number of bridges.  Paris was born here, protected by a natural moat.  Now it is the French capital's quaintest neighborhood, reflected in real estate prices.

Come evening, Van Stein is taken by the sight of nearby Notre Dame, goes and gets it.


VAN STEIN OIL PAINTING FOR SALE: MONACO



The Condamine, Monaco, 2007
Thomas Van Stein
Oil-on-board 8 x 10
$1000

Available through online art gallery:





I was working as spymaster to Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Van Stein came to visit.

Between us, we created much mischief then got out of town a.s.a.p.

From Surreal Bounce (Earthshine Editions, 2009):

EasyJet plunks us hard onto the tarmac at Nice-Cote-d'Azur Airport, where the Det Collector stands by to motion us into Monaco.

Enter JL, a new recruit to our commingling of madness.  He has requisitioned a Mercedes for our imminent road trip to Moon Valley in Tuscany.

But before we go, Van Stein paints the view looking up rue Princesse Caroline to the Tete de Chien.




VAN STEIN PAINTING FOR SALE: HOMER, ALASKA



Midnight on the Homer Spit
Oil-on-board 8 x 12
January 2008

$1000



Available through online art gallery:






From Surreal Bounce (Earthshine Editions, 2009):


After dinner we head to Duggan's for draft bitter.  Exiting, Van Stein cannot resist spinning an old propeller near the door, which rings a bell, causing a character named Digger to dash up from the pool table, hooting.    

"That means you buy everyone a drink!" he hollers at the artist.  "I've been waiting all night for somebody to do that!"

Diggers gets his beer and we move on to Downey's, "Homer Red" beer and Neil Young crooning Harvest Moon from a vintage jukebox while Dex, a local dude in a boonie hat, plays pool with his imaginary friend.

A guy down the bar throws back Schnapps, offering shots to anyone who wants to join him.

The manager evicts us at midnight.

A pan to revisit a saloon called Kharacters is sidetracked by the big starry sky, Big Dipper- prominent.

"I'm going for my paints," says Van Stein.

Back on the Spit, he reels in the stars while killer whales offshore converse in whistles and squeals.



Saturday, August 18, 2018

ONLINE GALLERY: SURREAL BOUNCE







Earthshine Editions, 2009.

Travels with a nocturnal artist in search of creativity and madness.

Private edition of 150 copies.

Coffee table format 7.5 x 10.25.

183 pages.

An edition limited to 150 copies.  This copy is number 39, signed by author and artist.


Available through online gallery:





BALLARD ENCHANTMENT



Photo:  Claire Eringer Boyle


VAN STEIN OIL PAINTING FOR SALE: GODBOLD



Godbold, Marfa, Texas
2006
Oil-on-board, 8 x 10
$1000


Available through online gallery:





From Surreal Bounce (Earthshine Editions), 2009:

We cruise Marfa's residential streets, built on a grid.  

The natives are big on trailers and mobile homes, especially shiny vintage Airstreams.  And Godbold Mill... a damn sight more interesting than Donald Judd's crates or boxes or cubes or whatever the hell they're supposed to be.  Also, Godbold has function:  It processes something useful to people.

Old Godbold represents the difference between natives and New Marfans.

The natives are naturally minimalist; the new crowd contrives minimalism, desperate to install themselves; install being the hip new keyword.

Design an art installation, around which to de-install themselves from New York and install themselves (at least for posturing purposes) in a small west Texas town.

Who cares?  The locals don't.  They're just grateful to unload decrepit houses for a hundred grand; houses they used to board up and abandon.

Van Stein has a thing about making ugly structures look beautiful.

"I'm gonna paint that," he says.

And he does.



Friday, August 17, 2018

ORIGINAL PAINTINGS BY THOMAS VAN STEIN FOR SALE



Sturgeon Moonrise, Lavender Farm, Los Olivos, 2007
Oil-on-board 6 x 8
$950


Available through online gallery:

From Surreal Bounce (Earthshine Editions 2009), limited edition of 150 copies:

Van Stein paints at a lavender farm while my imaginary friend and I hang at Mattei's Tavern, an old stagecoach stop, for pinot noir and endless dialog about gods and dogs, semi-colons and midgets.  I notice my imaginary friend is without a wristwatch.

"I never wear a watch," she says.  Her reasoning is so sound I consider shedding my own time manacle.  Which leads me to checking the time and discovering we're late picking up Van Stein.

When we roll up, the artist is deeply absorbed with the finishing touches of a rising Sturgeon Moon.



Sunday, August 12, 2018

RIDEAU





The only kind of club worth joining is a wine club (as opposed to whine clubs).






WINE VALLEY BLISS



The Gathering Table, Ballard



Seven months since the mudslide.

Never been better.

Feels like I died last January 9th and went to heaven.



Old Town, Santa Ynez

Photo:  Claire Eringer Boyle



Sunday, August 5, 2018

THE EDGE





Final night in the desert, climaxed at The Edge, a quite spectacular steakhouse so-called because it sits on... the edge. 




Afterwards, for dessert, a precious view of Mars.

Nothing like the desert sky for star (and planet) gazing.



SAN JACINTO PEAK



Photo:  Marcus Boyle





PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY





From the desert floor to San Jacinto peak (8,000 feet up) in fifteen minutes.

Desert:  107 degrees F.

Mountain peak:  67 degrees F.





BEST BUDS: READY FOR AN ADVENTURE








Saturday, August 4, 2018

AN ADMISSION





Were it not for being phenomenally fortunate through family and some modicum of skill, I might have ended up at one of these off-beat places.

If it seems at any point like I'm making fun of these folks, it is a misperception.  I'm laughing with them at the material world. These are my people, the wild ones, the mavericks, the artists, the rebels.



GOODBYE SALTON SEA (THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES)





After four hours' circling the Salton Sea we are overheated and manic-eyed, and rolling back toward the material world (which in Rancho Mirage means a gazillion country clubs and golf courses and in Palm Desert means every shop, brand and fast food shack ever devised).


SALTON SEA: GROUND ZERO






Here's one thing you didn't know:

The San Andreas Fault begins beneath the Salton Sea.

When the Big One quakes (long overdue and expected any moment) the rock 'n' roll starts here.  



Friday, August 3, 2018

BOMBAY BEACH: THINGS TO DO







You cannot drive your own car into this but you're welcome to take a seat in one of the wrecks to watch whatever horror movie is featured.


(Time to change the marquee)



Most popular:  The Hills Have Eyes, which was filmed nearby.


The Botanic Garden

See?


The Opera House


Inside the Opera House


BOMBAY BEACH





In the 1950s, this was a gem of a resort, east side of the Salton Sea.



WHAT TO DO IN NILAND



Stay here


Brunch


Hang here, people-watch (not)


Sup here


Load up on booze


But if you're looking for excitement, say, a drive-in movie, opera house and botanical garden, drive 18.2 miles north along the Salton Sea to Bombay Beach.  

(Stay tuned...)



JIMMY HORNFEATHER






En route to Niland from East Jesus, we discover a kindly gent hawking his wares on a roadside stand near his home (above).

Jimmy Hornfeather has resided here since 1985.




This is the road that Jimmy lives on.

And this is Jimmy...




This is what Jimmy crafts and sells...





"They're all twenty dollars each, doesn't matter big or small," says Jimmy.  "They've been twenty dollars each since 1985."

Jimmy throws in free horn-carving lessons. 






Awesome as a road-bag adornment.



UPON LEAVING EAST JESUS





A few magic words and the portal opens for a return to reality.

That said, the so-called reality is nearby Niland.

(Stay tuned...)