Saturday, January 29, 2011

MOBY-DICK, Page 552

It's funny. I looked back at the very first entry for this blog, the illustration for the first page, and in my innocent exuberance I had written "Because I honestly consider Moby-Dick to be the greatest novel ever written, I am now going to create one illustration for every single one of the 552 pages in the Signet Classic paperback editiion." That made me smile. Especially the "I am now going to..." as if it were a simple card trick or a demonstration on how to make a pie crust. I had no idea where this would end up taking me.

And now, here, 543 days later, I have taken you from the first line of the book to the very last. Here is the final illustration for page 552. I think you will see, after looking back at that first page, that this one is as it had to be...

Title: On the second day, a sail drew near, nearer, and picked me up at last. It was the devious-cruising Rachel, that in her retracing search after her missing children, only found another orphan.

8.5 inches by 11 inches
colored pencil and ink on found paper
January 29, 2011

26 comments:

  1. hello dear matt - and you are done.
    i do expect to keep in touch.
    no doubt. iy's been a lovely part of my life, this visiting with your work and with you as months passed.
    great thanks. to your wife also, i want to say.
    very fondly,
    lizzy

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  2. My favorite line from the book: a beautiful ending, a contender for the best last line of a novel ever.

    I've really enjoyed following your progress. I'm going to miss the daily updates! Here's hoping I'm able to snag a couple of pieces when they finally go on sale...

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  3. "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee..."

    Well done, Matt.

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  4. It's exhilarating to see your last page Matt, congratulations!

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  5. Yes. Particularly when the two are juxtaposed in your head. What a closing.

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  6. I got to watch the second half of your project unfold. Thanks for it all!

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  7. Congratulations. I'm going to miss the updates, but I'm heading off for a project of my own, now.

    Thanks, and I'm looking forward to the book!

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  8. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for everything. You have done something great here. I have shared it with my friends and students over the months. I love this book and you have made it new for me.
    Best,
    Wes

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  9. Lizzy, I will definitely be in touch! I owe you an email as I write this, so expect that soon. At the risk of sounding brash, this is certainly not the last thing I will attempt artistically, so I hope you'll continue to check in and see what I am doing from time to time.

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  10. Thank you Good Doctor, it really did turn out to be something special I think. I am glad I did it.

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  11. Imagined Icebergs (what an incredible name, by the way) I agree wholeheartedly. The final line is so deeply moving that I actually have a difficult time discussing it vocally without feeling a bit tight in the chest and slightly choked up. Such a brilliant way to end the journey.

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  12. John, thank you. At times, the solitude of working on this was so great that I felt a great deal like that line. Those who have visited this blog and followed along were a kind of lifeline, always reminding me that there was, happily, a world outside the studio door.

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  13. Thank you Joe, it was exhilarating to complete them. I was so worried I would be losing steam and limping to the end, but I seemed to be filled with an almost unholy energy that pushed me right to the final pages.

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  14. Indeed, Keith. This is really the way it had to end, and I think it is perfect and fitting.

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  15. Titus, I was able to take both pieces out of my portfolios and place them side by side, and it was actually rather moving. I think they would make a fantastic diptych, framed and hanging on wall somewhere.

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  16. D'Arcangelo, thank you very much for finding me and for sticking around through the second half. I truly appreciate everyone who visited.

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  17. Charlie, best of luck, and I mean that sincerely, on your own endeavor. Send me an email and let me know what it is so I can share a link, if you're okay with that.

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  18. Buck, thank you, I'll really miss your comments because they always seemed to sum things up almost perfectly in so few words. That's not easy to do, and I have a lot of respect for that.

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  19. Benjamin, that was wonderful to read because I had so hoped to make this final page something beautiful. I am so glad you wrote that.

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  20. Wes, those words are truly some of the kindest that this project has ever received. I've mentioned before how it was intimidating at times because so many giants of the art world have lent their talents to illustrating the book. Frank Stella, Leonard Baskin, Rockwell Kent, Benton Spruance, Bill Sienkiwicz, and the list goes on and on. I knew my efforts were nowhere near as good as theirs, but I did hope to be able to add at least something small to the greater body of work on Melville. Knowing I have been able to make the book "new" again for someone who has already read it and already loves it is a profound honor. Thank you.

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  21. What a wonderful project! I can just hope that other excellent illustrators follow your example.

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  22. Thank you Doctor X, I remain very proud of what I was able to do. And I hope very much to have the opportunity to explore other texts in a similar fashion.

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