Sage Advice…

“Read. Everything you can get your hands on. Read until words become your friends. Then when you need to find one, they will jump into your mind, waving their hands for you to pick them. And you can select whichever you like, just like a captain choosing a stickball team.”- Karen Witemeyer

Inspired by ‘The Father’

I watched The Father two days ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I drew this piece in honor of a great movie with a superb script and cast. It started out as charcoal and then I decided all it needed was pencil and lots of blending. Quick note about the movie: Anthony Hopkins was fantastic and I’m glad he was honored for nailing such a difficult role. I think anyone who has had a family member with dementia could connect with this film. And it shows how very scary it is for someone afflicted, almost like a horror movie. I thought of my grandmother many times while watching this, and it made me understand my own family situation more. There were times where Anthony (the character) just sits in silence because he knows explaining his confusion won’t help. That look is one I saw many times. A great film. (Available on Starz).

If ‘12 Angry Men’ were made today

I drew this for my teenage niece. She has a learning disability (she said it’s ok if I say that) that makes it difficult for her to retain information. She has always been a visual learner, and it’s just hard for her. She tries so hard. Her English teacher assigned 12 Angry Men and is allowing her to also watch the movie to help retain the material. One small problem: my niece isn’t into the movie because it’s in black and white and “it looks old” (forgive her for she know not what she says) and it’s just “a bunch of old white guys” (ok, she got me there but she also knows it was a representation of how things were in 1954 when the play was written). There is a 1997 movie adaptation but she wasn’t interested in that either. So, to make it fun I suggested we put our own diverse cast together with actors she’s more familiar with so she can connect with them and put a face to the character. Then I’d draw them to try to help her remember each man, and what their personalities bring to the jury. She wanted to me to pick six, and then she picked the other six. (By the way, she selected Shawn Mendes as the defendant 😂)

I used the same background as the movie poster from 1957, but I inverted the colors on procreate. Here’s the original:

Here is the version I drew in 2021, the year of our Lord and Savior Dolly Parton:

Jury Foreman: Paul Walter Hauser – calm, fair, employed as a high school coach. Originally played by Martin Balsam.

Juror 2: The Banker. Riz Ahmed. Shy and meek. Originally portrayed by John Fiedler.

Juror 3: The Angry Business Owner. John Turturro. Hot-tempered and estranged from his son. Wants a guilty verdict. Originally portrayed by Lee J. Cobb.

Juror 4: The Stockbroker. Chiwetel Ejiofor. Detail-oriented, concerned with focusing on the facts of the case. Originally portrayed by E.G. Marshall.

Juror 5: The Survivor. LaKeith Stanfield. From humble beginnings. Now a healthcare worker. The one who realizes the position of the switchblade knife is inconsistent. Originally portrayed by Jack Klugman.

Juror 6: The Painter. Oscar Isaac. Tough, measured, protective of the older jurors when they are disrespected. Originally portrayed by Edward Binns.

Juror 7: The Salesman. Patrick Wilson. Wisecracking, totally indifferent, would rather be anywhere but in a jury room. Originally portrayed by Jack Warden.

Juror 8: The Architect. Mahershala Ali. The first one to vote not-guilty. Kind, justice-seeking and humane. Originally portrayed by Henry Fonda.

Juror 9: The Senior. Alan Arkin. Wise. Extremely observant of witness behavior. Originally portrayed by Joseph Sweeney.

Juror 10: The Garage Owner. Woody Harrelson. Bigot, loud-mouth. Originally portrayed by Ed Begley.

Juror 11: The Watchmaker. Mads Mikkelsen. European immigrant and naturalized citizen. Passionate about democracy and due process. Originally portrayed by George Voskovec.

Juror 12: The Advertising Executive. Alan Cummings. Indecisive and easily swayed by others.

Shout out of the day: Kenneth Lonergan

I first discovered Kenneth Lonergan when I read the play ‘The Waverly Gallery’, which was about a boy watching his grandmother die of Alzheimer’s disease. At the time, I was watching MY grandmother die of the same, and visited her regularly at a nursing home in the Bronx. While Waverly Place was hard for me to read, knowing others also had this experience made me feel less alone. NY might be populated, but when you are going through heartbreak, you feel very much alone. Lonergan helped me.

I drew this piece (techniques and medium: acrylic, airbrushes, calligraphy pen) -in honor of Mr. Lonergan, a fellow Bronx-born artist and inspiration. I’m assuming he is no longer in the Bronx- like I’m not – but still very much shaped by having lived there.

Every film and play he has created has been stellar, and really speaks to the human condition. Stories with memorable characters navigating through the most difficult of circumstances. He’s made me laugh and cry. He’s made me laugh while I cry. Here’s to artists like Lonergan who exude a quiet strength. After all, only someone with that quality could give us unforgettable stories like: #Thisisouryouth #Margaret #TheWaverlyGallery #YouCanCountOnMe #AnalyzeThis #manchesterbythesea #gangsofnewyork #LobbyHero