took the full deliberations involved with what I thought would be my
first truly Painterly piece: models poised, pain-wracked,
in the virtually impossible (not to mention improbable) positions of
my first rough sketch, buying tons of reference books, magazines and
such. I drew it three times, all full size, all finished. Certain details
were drawn over and over; one figure in particular, the woman clutching
the sword, I drew around fifteen times in all. Half way through the
painting of the picture I was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable
with the tonal medium, not only that, but I was also doubting my choice
of subject matter, too. Getting desperate for a positive feeling about
the painting I drastically scrapped the work entirely and started again
in inked line style. I was again half way through this picture when
more self doubt assailed me and I stopped work on the line version
of Judgement also. After countless conferences with Linda upon the
question of what on Earth I was trying to do, and with the encouragement
of passers by I started once again with a further reworking, in tone,
of the picture. I had no title for it all along, but was referring
to it as "the prison picture", this alluding to the legend
on the side of the boat "Ic Waes Nerwth" (originally Ic Waes
Carcerne) meaning "I was a prison"; the picture, in final
sum, bearing reference to Life (thus freedom) after Death.
the time I'd finally finished the painting I was quite upset that I failed
it and feeling a little foolish that I couldn't live up to my ideals
of creating great work. I still had no comfortable title for it.
A day or so after its completion I took from my shelves a book to relax
with; an Art book (a continuing endeavor to learn of where I go wrong).
It was volume 1 of William Holman Hunt's biography. Hunt, the most particular,
insistent and positively accomplished painter in the original Pre Raphaelite
Brotherhood has some pretty strict and weighty ideals about painting (as
well he might). In his preface to his story he wanted to make quite sure
that the prospective reader was perfectly aware of just what Art was and
what it was not, quote:
is generally considered a light and irresponsible pursuit, entailing
its misuse no penalty to the artist or the nation of which
he is a citizen.
It is further assumed that being endowed with original taste may, after some
perfunctory essays, be happily inspired, and that he will then, with a few
days rapt energy, be able to convert his thoughts into a masterpiece.