Peanut Horror

Text says,‘A Peanut Kiss Before Dying!'(A play on the title of the Ira Levin Book) Acrylic painting on about 16″X16″ Gallery wrapped stretched canvas so no frame is necessary. THIS IS NOT a piggyback piece but a rare original breen. To bid on this piece, go HERE.

The first inkling I ever had that nuts could be dangerous came to me through the song “Ate a peanut” when I was a toddler. Synopsis: ate a peanut last night, it was rotten, ate it anyway, died, went to heaven. I actually sang this song once while eating peanuts, scrutinizing each one extremely carefully. I’ve always loved nuts and eaten lots and lots of them, yet, the danger was always there, a rotten one. But then again, you could eat any kind of rotten food and get sick or die. When little breen came along I learned all about peanut allergies. I was severely reprimanded for sending the tyke in with a highly toxic p+b sandwich one day, and I always thought the school was over-reacting(until I heard the story you’ll read further down the page). For those of you that don’t have kids, every class seems to have at least one or several children who are allergic to peanuts. If they eat a little bit of a peanut, or something with peanut dust in it, they could die! This seems to be a new modern problem! I do not remember anyone with peanut allergies when I was a kid. One of my son’s friends carries a hypo everywhere he goes just in case it needs to be driven into his thigh to counteract an accidental nut exposure.

A month or two ago, a news story broke which felt like an urban legend, but was true. A 15 year old Canadian girl died after kissing her boyfriend, who had eaten a peanut butter sandwich hours earlier. This incident has been haunting me for weeks. We’re told our food is KILLING us. Not just peanuts, but meat, carbohydrates, anything you can think of, is bad for us if not outright poisonous. This story, though tragic, really brings this issue to the height of absurdity. It also has a fairy-tale quality to it and I decided to deal with it Mexican retablo style. It’s a touchy subject, not really funny, kind of in bad taste, but, well, I’m me.

Mr. Peanut is hovering over Sleeping Beauty, ready to give her a kiss, while death, peering out of a dense underbrush of peanut plants, weeps. Jimmy Carter is a peanut bug, and he is crying as well. Poison peanut foods are highlighted on the right, while a monument on the left wraps around the painting.




Text says,‘Ellen’s Hair-Dog criticized that she plucked too much eyebrow!’ Chicken man says, “Chickens are plucked, eyebrows are tweezed!” Acrylic on oil? on ‘Highlite Canvoboard’, 16″X12″ This was piggyback on a very old portrait and the ‘Canvoboard’ is closer to cardboard than canvasboard. The corners and edges were kind of frayed which I reinforced with gobs of acrylic paint.
To bid on this one go HERE..

Well, Mrs. Breen says this one doesn’t make any sense, as if that has ever been a concern! I was working on a big, ponderous, unwieldy captain portrait when I decided to take a break, so I assaulted this little head. First, I wasn’t sure what the subject’s sex was, it was a kind of “What’s that? It’s Pat!” moment, but the clues were right there. Hair that was just a tad too long for a guy in that era and pencil thin eyebrows. The eyebrows, especially, told the tale to me. I also noted that her hair looked like a Cockerspaniel, so I turned her hair into a hair-dog!

Now one of my pet peeves is the over-tweezing of eyebrows, and Mrs. Breen is under strict instructions to leave hers as bushy as female codes allow. Whenever I see an over-plucked lady I just get visions of Lucille Ball in her last years, Shaky crayon loops drawn over the hideous scars where her eyebrows used to lie! Don’t do it ladies! Of course, this advice is coming from the incredibly attractive toothless mouth of yours truly, pictured in the entry just below.

A couple of years ago I had to endure a my wife’s 25th prep school reunion, sitting at an outcast table with some dweeby angst-ridden former school mates who, harboring resentments against childhood slights, came to exorsise their demons. I was somehow drafted into the role of therapist, not a good role for me. Mrs. Breen was horrified when I got drunk with them, encouraging them to burn the ribbons anchoring the helium balloon bouquets to the banquet table with my lighter, crazy laughing as they rose into dark rafters. The cool kids tried to fit back into their teenage roles, but now old and fat, could only glare at the dweebs for their impertinence. “You have no power anymore! GO, before someone drops a house on you too!”

People at our table told me about a teacher named Squirrel Norris, who had the bushiest, untamed, wandering eyebrow hairs on the planet. This was a great gift, and I see him in my mind all the time. I never went to that school or met the man, but he’s moved right into my imagination, third door on the left.

When Ellen looks in the mirror here, she sees Squirrely’s brow, even though hers has been tweezed to a single-file follicle march. The hand holding the tweezers is backwards(not to mention crude, well, I guess both hands are crude)but I just left it. I also made a diagram showing the proper eyebrow alignment to eye in case you were wondering. Ellen really looks like she’s wondering, “what the hell am I doing in this painting?” Overall, a wistful mess of a breen! Yikes!

Valentine’s Day!



Last fall my sister-in-law Christy was getting the kids ready for school when she realized that the words coming out of her mouth weren’t the ones her brain was trying to say. She was speaking gibberish. She went to the hospital where they found a tumor the size of a tangerine nestled against her speech center. Yikes! And she is only 35!

Good news was, it was a slow growing benign tumor that had probably been there for years. So they opened up her head like a pumpkin and scooped the bad seeds out. Luckily, she was able to talk normally again and her compressed brain popped back into the skull space vacated by the tumor. So close, so young, Christy felt the wind from the dark wings on the back of her neck!

Anyway, she sent me a note saying her suffering clearly merited a breening. I took an unfinished piggyback attempt sent to me by a fellow artist who lost heart and almost completely covered it, except for the tie. A few years ago she tempted fate portraying a Melrose Place brain damage victim at a Halloween party so I gave her a lab coat like she wore at the party, but I guess in hindsight I should have given her a hospital johnny. Text says “On Halloween Christy tried to say boo, but the word wouldn’t come!”
The cat’s got her tongue, she holds an oyster with a pearl growing next to her brain. A smiley face Halloween pumpkin creatures holds its head out for brain inspection, while it has a half-empty or half-full glass on its shirt, depending on her point of view.

Now for a little background on the next symbol: Nothing scares my six-year-old son and I paint some pretty frightening stuff sometimes. Bloody headless Jesus zombies don’t scare him. Cat-faced psycho bird eating men don’t scare him. Trailers from “The Ring” or any other horror movies on TV don’t scare him. Only painting that ever scared him was one with smiley faces, go figure. However, Mrs. Breen had the bad judgment of reading him the classic kid scary story of the “Girl With The Green Ribbon Around Her Neck” one BED-TIME and the tale’s punchline hit him in the gut like the final explosive boom in a fireworks display. Lil Breen FREAKED OUT! Couldn’t sleep, crawled into our bed for 3 days. The fragility of life, the tenuousness of consciousness, the shock of the careening end all are wrapped up in that ribbon. A couple of days later he and I were in the attic looking for wrapping paper and ribbon for a gift he was giving someone when we came across some green ribbon. Like the jerk I am I instantly wrapped the ribbon around my neck and pleaded with him to pull it! He yelled furiously for me to take the ribbon off my neck RIGHT NOW! And wash my hands and neck with soapy water IMMEDIATELY! As if that would really stop my head from falling off. Sheesh! Of course, in the painting, Christy holds the end of that ribbon in her fingertips.

So, this breen isn’t for sale, it now resides in Missouri with Christy Breen, who by the way, did a crude portrait of me years ago, which got me thinking perhaps I could paint too!. Below is the story of the green ribbon:

The Girl with the Green Ribbon Around Her Neck

A long time ago there was a little girl who had a green ribbon around her neck. One day she went to school and met a boy named Jim. Jim sat behind her in class and noticed the ribbon under her pig tails.
“Why do you wear that ribbon around your neck?” he asked. Someday I’ll tell you, she promised.

When they were teenagers, Jim asked the girl on a date. While they were drinking frappes, Jim asked again, “why do you wear that green ribbon around your neck?” She laughed nervously and said, “Well maybe if we ever get married I’ll tell you.”

Jim fell in love with the girl and they got married. In bed their first night, the only thing his new wife wouldn’t take off was the ribbon and he asked, “Okay, we’re married now…why do you wear that ribbon on your neck!” She said, “I’ll tell you if we ever have kids.”

After they had a boy and a girl, Jim asked again,”Please, please, please, WHY DO YOU WEAR THAT RIBBON AROUND YOUR NECK?!?!” She said, if you love me, you’ll drop it for now, some day I’ll tell you.”

So he dropped it. Just accepted the fact that his wife wore a mysterious ribbon around her neck all the time. They got old together, then the woman got very sick, went to the hospital, and the doctor said she was going to die. Her distraught husband sat by her side for days, and finally said, please, tell me now, why do you have that ribbon around your neck? In a croaky voice she said, okay, I’ll tell you, take it off now.”

He pulled the bow loose and her head fell off.


Old Face on the Bald Spot



To bid on this piece, go HERE.

Hair drives this work. First thing that struck me was the subject’s pompadour. So I threw a Lords of Flatbush leather jacket on him, gave him a switchblade and turned him into an urban conflicted rebel bad boy hear-throb bleeding heart liberal.

The breening could have stopped right there, maybe should have. But I got a haircut day before yesterday, and that kind of wormed its way into the painting. Mrs. Breen was going to a fancy hair salon in Newburyport to get her do done and begged me to come along. I agreed to let her sophisticated ‘originally from NYC’ stylist have at my raggedy mop which hadn’t felt scissors in about 5 months. I resolved to abandon all control and let her go wild on my head. Ann picked these pictures of hip rock stars with their modern choppy hair cuts and said “do this” to the stylist.

Well, as usual, in the end, I looked like a banker. “You have to let it grow out, your hair is thinner on the top” the stylist apologized. I knew all too well what she meant. My hairline has steadily marched north for years, hair disappearing and cropping up unwanted in other regions of my body I would prefer to remain hairless. I don’t go in for haircuts too much these days, mostly cause my hair doesn’t seem to grow too fast anymore, and secondly because it is kind of depressing. It often seems like the hair stylist adopts the attitude of a mortician striving to make the top of my corpse head look as normal as possible, rectifying the damage sustained from a horrible scalp-peeling car wreck.

“Look at the back?” the stylist asked, handing me a mirror and spinning the chair for the double reflection. I never really want to look at this view, believing that what I don’t know can’t hurt me. But I did look, and saw pink flesh coming through where the brush has been mowed down. Looking through that shaky double reflection, the mirror slipped through my fingers, bouncing off the floor! “What’s the matter!? Don’t you like it?!” the stylist moaned. No, it’s fine! HOW COULD I EXPLAIN I SAW ABE VIGODA’S FACE ON MY BALD SPOT! And he didn’t look happy! Yikes!

I got home and rubbed my scalp along the edge of my hair line and discovered one more insult. The gel stuff the stylist put on my unaccustomed hair had nurtured a raging single zit! It throbbed and dared me to squeeze, but I couldn’t! It was too close to living hair. I worried that damaging that sensitive area would perhaps negate any chance of a return appearance of hair to that area, currently staked out by a few lonely pubic looking sentinels, whose only hope for company was a sudden breakthrough in hair revitalization technology.

On another subject, it seems the Italians are intrigued by breenishness. First, Vogue Italia, now a huge interview in Brain Twisting, which I believe is an Italian webzine. It’s in Italian though, so unless you capisco Italiano, you’ll have to make up your own translation.