ART STORIES

Billy Joel

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Paint Factory, Gloucester Harbor, oil, 14" x 18", collection of Billy Joel.

Some years ago at my gallery on Rocky Neck, at 7 PM, I was tired and ready to go home to my house on the other side of the city by the harbor, but I couldn't stop painting. So, when a couple was by the door and a man asked, " Are you open?" I didn't look up, and said, "No, but you can come in." 
 I recognized Billy Joel. I queried, "You are very famous, right?" He just shrugged. I was in one of my painting moods so I said, "Oh, no, you are a celebrity look alike." he handed me his black American Express card, "William D. Joel".
I said, "Billy, I was just busting your ..." After I said that, he relaxed, and introduced me to his fiancee, Kate.

We drank some wine and negotiated the purchase of the Paint Factory painting. Then I took them to the Studio Restaurant, next door, famous for its piano bar. By the doorway, I was elbowing Billy to get him to play something, saying, "Come on, you are the Piano Man." The woman playing, Lee Ann, recognized him and motioned to him. He sang four songs and electrified the place.

Kate said the painting was going to be hung in a particular spot in their Long Island house. Billy was lively, over flowing with physical energy (he had been a boxer),and fun.

I did the painting on Jeff Weaver's lobster boat, the Kathleen. The wind was so strong that it kept pulling up the anchor and Jeff had to start the engine and go back to stay away from the rocks. Jeff made one of his typically brilliant paintings with all the windows and lettering on the building. When I got back to my studio, I took a big brush and lost those details in my painting, and simplified the architectonic grandeur of the iconic building.

I included meeting Billy in an article that was published in the Italian Insider Newspaper in Rome called, "Caravaggio and the Marilyn Elvis Syndrome".
http://www.corneliussullivan.com/caravaggio_and_the_marilyn…

 

Stolen Marble Pieta Recovered

Stolen in Weymouth Massachusetts from a moving van in 1993. Recovered ten years later in 2003. There was a phone call because there was an offer for a  reward on the artist's website. The caller was the thief,  and he hung up. The artist dialed *57 and got the caller's number. The Police went to the address of the number and negotiated the return of the pieta.

 

There was no yard sale, the caller was the thief.

The Jimmy Fund Auction-

 

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The Young Chess Prodigy, Eric Tracy Sigler, oil, 24" x 30", 1977, Private Collection, Miami, FL.


Eric studied with a Russian Chess Master and became a poet when he was quite young. He found a job writing for The Boston Center for the Arts and spent time hanging around in artist’s studios and began collecting art. He became part of a, vital for a time, group of Boston and Cambridge poets in the 70s and 80s.

Around that time we often visited poet, Vincent Ferrini, at his picture framing shop in Gloucester, which has now become the location of The Gloucester Writers Center.

Eric became known for standing on tables at the South End Irish bar Matt Talbot's and doing Dylan Thomas perfectly with verve and volume. I convinced him to do it once at Thomas' White Horse Tavern in  New York.



Facebook 3/23/17 Eric Sigler I'd like to add that Ed gave me this portrait to give to my Mom as a Christmas Present in 1977. I ended up with it- Edmund flowed through this painting- painterly piece that I'm glad have with me ....

Eric Sigler Probably wondering how long I could hold the pose with the cig closing in on my knuckles ... I'm sure Edmund had the NPR classical hour playing in the background ... sometimes his brush became the baton...

La Grande Jette, from the series Nature, Culture
The stream was in Carver, MA, early spring.
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Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and beard

Sky, oil on canvas, 30" x 40", Sigler collection Miami, FL.
Sky, pencil, 17" x 26", collection of the artist.

Sky worked in a welding shop by my studio at The Boston Center for the Arts. He asked me to do his portrait. The pencil study came first. He did not move, he filled the William Morris designed chair. There is a small star tattoo on his cheek and a thin line barbed wire one around his wrist. The painting didn't work, but came to life when I added the paint drips of my wall and floor.

Sky told amazing Viet nam stories and he said he had bone damage from Agent Orange. He walked with a cane and a limp. He decided to weld an exo-skeleton of steel so he could walk. I helped him with the design of the knee. The artists of the art center took up a collection for his medical expenses.

Then he fell in love with the secretary from the BCA office. I don't recall her name, she was small and blonde and had a girl next door innocent look.

With that, Shy welded together a trike, front wheel and handle bars of a motorcycle, with the rear end, wheels and engine of a Volkswagen Beetle, and they left for California on that creation.

He said his name was Colorado Sky. We did not know his real name or where he came from, and we don't know where he ended up. He had a dry self deprecating wit and could tell a story.

The painting is in an important art collection in Miami.

Comments
Donald Langosy great! great! painting!
Cornelius Sullivan Thanks, means a lot from you old artist friend.
Susan Hershey His boots, the floor, his hands, all amazing. LOVE!!!

Julie in Tuscany, oil, 20 x 24", private collection Newburyport, MA.

I have often described this painting to my students as a painting about life because I don't make political art or art to match the drapes.

A couple came into my Gloucester Gallery on Rocky Neck some years ago. The man fell for the painting. It was out of his price range so we agreed that he could make monthly payments. The woman with him, who lived with him, did not approve, and so she moved out. It appeared that Julie had broken up their relationship.

 

The man, let's call him M, came to the gallery every month with a payment, and with a large wicker basket holding the ingredients for a perfect Cosmo Martini, plus blue glasses, and antipasti. My gallery friends would come by and we would all have a martini afternoon.

Months later, a woman called me and said she was a friend of M, and that she wanted to finish paying for the painting and give it to him for Christmas. They came to my house and I said, "M, sit on the couch for a minute." She came out of the studio and gave him the painting. They went to his apartment and hung the painting. He shed a tear, and then proposed to her.

I, along with my Gloucester Gallery friends, were honored to go to their wedding. From time to time, the newlyweds would send me a message like, "We moved Julie to the living room, and because you like the painting, remember, you still have visitation rights. See you soon."