Here are the ten drawings I've been working on over the past few weeks to accompany seven of my fish paintings (bottom of this page) for artstream gallery's summer show. Caroline suggested to me that this series (Oceans Ten) must be 'prequel art.'
I've been absent. Sometimes life gets overwhelming and I find myself cratering under the (mostly self-imposed) pressure and though I'm as addicted to the interwebs (got that one from my boys) as any other blogger, I do find that a break helps me align my ducks a bit better. I could write about it, and that could be cathartic and useful, but like Joyce wrote here, I've recently become bogged down by questions of transparency. (And if it gets any more opaque than that I'll have to quit! :)
Yesterday, while questioning every decision I've ever made (and a few of the ones I haven't made yet), I wrote an email to Angela. After finishing, I was heading upstairs and noticed that the mail had come. There was a small box from Amazon on the floor and it was addressed to me. Did I order something and then forget what? Turns out it was a book that the very same Angela (an angel in not a very convincing disguise) thought I'd find useful, written by Steven Pressfield of historical fiction fame, cleverly titled The War of Art. It was one of those serendipitous moments that often appear when I'm struggling with something and I definitely took it as a sign. This little book is not a self-help book in any traditional sense; it's more like a handbook of inspiration and validation (read: kick in the butt). I could bore you endlessly with great quotes, but I'll choose just one for now:
Someone asked the Spartan king Leonidas to identify the supreme warrior virtue from which all others flowed. He replied: "Contempt for death." For us artists, read "failure". Contempt for failure is our cardinal virtue. By confining our attention territorially to our own thoughts and actions -- in other words, to the work and its demands -- we cut the earth from beneath the blue-painted, shield-banging, spear-brandishing foe.