Miniature in the Mail #42: "Eau noire"

"Eau noire," 4x6in., oil and collage on masonite

Here's something I haven't done before, paint a frame ripped from a film, in this case Chinatown (1974). Stylistically film noir, a favourite genre of mine, it was directed by Roman Polanski and was meant to be his European vision of the United States, so darker and more cynical, not Hollywood at all. It's inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of conflicts between the City of L.A. and farmers in eastern California, rife with corruption, subterfuge, and dirty politics.

 In my version of the scene, I've edited out P.I. Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson.

The river, incidentally, is the L.A. River, and the bridge the fictional Hollenbeck Bridge. Film buffs on the net have speculated that it was actually the 7th and Olympic Bridge.

Which looks like this today.

For this mini painting and others like it, visit