Painting with John

Last updated
Painting with John
Created by John Lurie
Written byJohn Lurie
Directed byJohn Lurie
StarringJohn Lurie
ComposerJohn Lurie
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
ProducerMatt Dwyer
CinematographyErik Mockus
EditorErik Mockus
Running time20–24 minutes
Production company Hyperobject Industries
Original network HBO
Original releaseJanuary 22, 2021 (2021-01-22) 
present (present)
Related shows Fishing with John
External links

Painting with John is an American unscripted television series created by musician, painter, and actor John Lurie. [1] Each episode features Lurie painting watercolors and reflecting on life, music, and art. A six-episode first season premiered on HBO and its streaming subsidiary HBO Max on January 22, 2021. [1] In August 2021, the series was renewed for a second season. [2] The title alludes to Lurie's earlier show, Fishing with John , from 1991.



Part meditative tutorial, part fireside chat, musician John Lurie shares his philosophical thoughts while honing his watercolor techniques.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [3] U.S. viewers
1"Bob Ross Was Wrong"John LurieJohn LurieJanuary 22, 2021 (2021-01-22)0.185 [4]
In contrast to what television painter Bob Ross says, not everyone can paint, according to Lurie. He goes on to lament his abilities to fly a drone to film an elaborate introduction to his new television show, recounts a childhood story involving his father and brother Evan, discusses his thoughts on laughter, and invites the viewer(s) to "write a poem" while viewing the sunset.
2"The Explosion Story"John LurieJohn LurieJanuary 29, 2021 (2021-01-29)0.215 [5]
Lurie recounts his cancer treatment and vertigo, while remembering an incident involving him reheating curry with a gas stove. He goes on to show more of his life at home on his undisclosed Caribbean island, enjoying rolling tires down hills, and with his housemates, and recounting the time he met Barry White, who said he was very fond of the Lounge Lizards' album Voice of Chunk .
3"Elephant"John LurieJohn LurieFebruary 5, 2021 (2021-02-05)0.223 [6]
Lurie discovers fragment of a tree that resembles an elephant trunk. He discusses his upbringing with his brother and their shared love of Little Walter, and John Coltrane. The background of the art design of the album cover of Voice of Chunk is discussed, with an elaborate tale of Lurie purchasing and photographing an eel. Throughout the episode, Lurie is painting a piece called Elephant, revealed in the end credits.
4"Fame Is Bad"John LurieJohn LurieFebruary 12, 2021 (2021-02-12)0.171 [7]
Lurie discusses his thoughts on fame and what he had encountered in his life as a musician and actor: a casual meeting with Gore Vidal, partying with Rick James and Steve Rubell, mentoring Zach Galifanakis, his friendship with Anthony Bourdain, and his collaborations with Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waits.
5"The Disappearance of Chicken Man"John LurieJohn LurieFebruary 19, 2021 (2021-02-19)0.089 [8]
Lurie recounts his times with his companion "Leroy" around his village concerning various neighbors and townspeople whom they were convinced were mysteriously disappearing, one of them they nicknamed "The Chicken Man". He goes on to discuss his relationship with his mother, and their collective disgust with the registry of motor vehicles in Massachusetts. The episode ends with a live action/animated mashup of Lurie's artwork and surroundings amongst his song (alias Marvin Pontiac) "My Little Garden Gnome" playing in the background.
6"Finding Rudolph" [9] John LurieJohn LurieFebruary 26, 2021 (2021-02-26)0.209 [10]

Lurie recounts his friendship with a man named "Rudolph" on the remote island he lives on, and reminisces on their times together, before Rudolph's absence from his life. Lurie and Nesrin set out to reunite with Rudolph while enjoying the countryside. Lurie describes the local tree frogs he hears in their natural habitat and their musical coordination. Lurie wraps up the series discussing how, despite his battles with his illnesses, he happened to meet the series cinematographer Erik leading to a new series and a medium for him to showcase his work, yet just how uncomfortable it made him.

The series ends with John Lurie successfully commandeering his drone for his show's introduction and welcoming the viewer to Painting with John. His collective artwork is showcased in the end credits.


The episodes were recorded at Lurie's home on an undisclosed island in the Caribbean. [11] In June 2021, Lurie announced a second season of the show was planned and for the first time in 22 years, he was rehearsing music for it. [12] In August 2021, HBO renewed the series for a second season. [2]


The series' soundtrack features music by Lurie, who was a founding member of the Lounge Lizards and the creator of Marvin Pontiac.


The series has received positive reviews from critics. Robert Lloyd of Los Angeles Times wrote "Painting With John represents HBO at its most worthwhile: arty and unpredictable." [13] Robert Ito of New York Times described the show as "a meditative and often joyful blend of painting and personal storytelling." [14] On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 100% based on 15 reviews, with an average rating of 8.0/10. The website's critical consensus states, "A celebration of art and life through the eyes of a delightful curmudgeon, Painting with John is a surprising, intimate feat of TV joy." [15] .

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  1. 1 2 Holloway, Daniel (December 10, 2020). "John Lurie Returns to TV in New HBO Series 'Painting With John'". Variety . Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  2. 1 2 Grobar, Matt (August 17, 2021). "'Painting With John': HBO Orders Second Season Of Unscripted Series Exec Produced By Adam McKay". Deadline Hollywood . Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  3. "Painting with John – Listings". The Futon Critic . Retrieved December 29, 2020.
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  9. "Painting with John 06: Finding Rudolph". HBO . Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  10. Metcalf, Mitch (March 1, 2021). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Friday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 2.26.2021". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  11. Ito, Robert (2021-01-20). "John Lurie Doesn't Paint Happy Trees". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  12. @lurie_john (June 2, 2021). "I am rehearsing music tonight..." (Tweet) via Twitter.
  15. "Painting with John". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved March 4, 2021.