Transcript: Jamie Wyeth, Inferno


What I love about gulls is what most people dislike about gulls. I love the fact that they're scavengers. They're garbage pickers. They're pirates. They're mean. And it's sort of fascinating, because people will, when they paint gulls, let's say, they're always painted kind of like white doves, and very pretty. Well, they're not. If you look at a gull, I mean, they're beautiful, but in a very tough, wild, mean sense. And living on this island, of course, I'm able to completely tune into them. I've gotten to the point now, I spend so much time with them, drawing them and so forth, that gulls literally go to sleep with me. And to me, the eye of a gull, just that eye with a glint of that sort of pale yellow, is just limitless. That's more the ocean than any big seascape.

The painting is painted on cardboard. And I've always loved the idea of cardboard, where it's just kind of a trash thing. And you can beat it, scratch it, and rip it. And it's very resilient. And I love the color of it. And even I like the kind of ribs that go down. So it just creates another world for me. And the other thing, the paint I was using, actually, is watercolor. It's not oil. But I've always been sort of intrigued by the fact people think watercolor, well, it washes, and it's very thin and whatnot. Well, I work watercolor exactly like oil, very thick, straight from the tube and so forth, which is sort of a departure from most people's use of watercolor. I've found this paint maker that actually Warhol had, helped me to get-- one of his main ingredients is honey in the paint. And honey, as you know, lasts forever.


The boy in the painting is a boy named Cat Bates. At the time, his main job was to feed this inferno of garbage on Monhegan Island, years ago. And the gulls would come roaring down, trying to get at the garbage, pulling back. It was something completely out of a Wagnerian opera.


I look at myself as just a recorder. I mean, I just want to record the things that interest me in my life and so forth. So these are, I mean, this painting is like a part of a journal to me. It's part of my life. I'm in Monhegan. It's as if I'm doing a diary. And again, I think painting is a--what is it? It's a piece of canvas and a stick with some hair in the end of it and some sticky stuff called paint. And you apply that. And there's nobody standing over you saying, paint, every day. And I think in painting, much like in music or a pianist and whatnot, you have to practice. And it certainly isn't all inspired. Many times working with the gulls where I just am in drudgery. But once in awhile, things really click. And that's the opiate, when that gull all of a sudden breathes, and the fire starts-- I mean, then, that's why you paint. That's what I think.


So how is that, Darcy?