“— on that same narrow dam, among wagons and cannons, under horse’s hooves and between wagon wheels, now huddled men with faces distorted by the fear of death, crushing one another, expiring, stepping over the dying, killing one another, only to move on a few steps to be themselves killed in the same way.”

                                  War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy 1869

Artist Statement

I made it.  52 great books in a year.  Culminating in this – War and Peace.  I love this book.  I saved it for last because I wasn’t sure I would make all 52 if I put it in the middle and also what a fitting end.  I just read this book last year and was excited to read it again.  Keeping track of the names is probably the toughest challenge to this book.  Wonderfully written, his blurring of history and fiction creates the time of Napoleon’s Russian invasion.  The novel jumps back and forth between characters and places.  The overall theme of war is either in the foreground, or still in the background as the society members try to go along with their precious lives.  Growing up during the Vietnam War, and having the country involved in so many disturbing war instances now, I wanted to create a tumultuous war feeling for this book. Tolstoy shows us that the fighting is not black and white, not just good vs evil.  I always have Picasso’s Guernica in mind when I envision war.  I saw Guernica in Madrid last year and that is a painting that will never leave your brain. Certainly that was hovering over my illustration for one of the best books ever.   January 2015


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