“In the serene weather of the tropics it is exceedingly pleasant the mast-head; nay, to a dreamy meditative man it is delightful. There you stand, a hundred feet above the silent decks, striding along the deep, as if the masts were gigantic stilts. . .”

        Moby-Dick or, The Whale, Herman Melville 1851

Artist Statement

This was another book that I absolutely adored in college and once again was worried that it wouldn’t stand up to the standards that it had created in my mind over the years.  Once again, not to worry.  Better than I remembered.  Ishmael has an intriguing warped sense of humor which makes for some very funny scenes.  It is a strange sort of book but manages to hold up completely.  You bounce from the high seas to a natural history class to a sermon to the filed teeth of the harpooners.  Even the names are a poem waiting to happen, Ishmael, Ahab, Stubb, Queequeg, Elijah, Starbuck, Flask, Tashtego, Daggoo, Fedallah, Pip.  And the ships themselves…Pequod, Goney, Town-Ho, Jeroboam, Jungfrau, Bouton de Rose, Bachelor, Rachel, Delight.  I was, of course, determined to paint Ahab.  Being the same age and on the same quest for truth in the world, it seemed like a natural follow-up  But then I read the Mast-head chapter and it was all over.  Here was the search for meaning once again.  Up above the world, looking for whales, swaying and dreaming of eternity.  At times like this, the adventure book just freezes into its own world within a world.  This painting was one of those strange ones that most people recognized even if they hadn’t actually read the book.  Usually because it’s too long.  Too long?  That’s like complaining that peach season lasts for too many months. August 2014


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