Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Lady of the Lake

I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but do you know how, sometimes, you slowly drift to the bottom of the lake and manomanoman the water is so warm and you can hear some weird music playing (which makes you pause briefly and wonder if you're one of the five original Cylons) and you feels the arms of the Lady of the Lake, which look like some weird combination of seaweed and umbilical cords, wrap softly around you? And you know that you are gently, ever so gently, being pulled over to the other side? And you know that, since you've tried to live the best life you can, everything is going to be Allright? Capital A?

Well this is kind of like that. It is, of course, a photo of my painting titled "Wounded Man."



I won't bore you with the details of my original collaborator skipping town without so much as a toodle--oo, but suffice to say I went through the requesite mourning period, followed by rolling the goddam thing up and not thinking about it for a while, then unrolling it and giving it to my friend Richard and asking him if he would be good enough to fill in the white areas--which you see here:



Which is what it looked like when I gave it to Richard.

It came back this morning looking like the top image. The Lady of the Lake was his idea. Or, rather, the set of images he painted was his idea; me calling them the Lady of the Lake was mine.

Voici, la dame du lac...



... as we say in France.

Richard obviously has access to better drugs than me.

This, by the way, is a woodcut illustration from Tennyson's Idylls of the King, a must read if ever there was.



Here's just a bit of the thing:
"And near him stood the Lady of the Lake
Who knows a subtler magic than his own-
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful.
She gave the King his huge cross-hilted sword,
Whereby to drive the heathen out. A mist
Of incense curl'd about her, and her face
Well nigh was hidden in the minster gloom;
But there was heard among the hold hymns
A voice as of the waters, for she dwell
Down in the deep-calm, whatsoever storms
May shake the world- and when the surface rolls,
Hath power to walk the waters like our Lord."
I love the bit at the end when they throw Excalibur back into the lake and she catches it.

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