Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Was it not so, O Timor Tom?"

Finally, the second of four drawings of the named whales from chapter 45: The Affidavit. This piece is titled Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou famed leviathan, scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that name, whose spout was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay?

12 inches by 8 inches
ink on watercolor paper
March 29, 2011

Available in my Etsy shop.


  1. I am thrilled to have Timor Tom to grace my wall. My son told me about the project when visiting him in Ft. Wayne. I visited the site and now Timor Tom is on his way to my house!

  2. And I am honestly thrilled to have Timor Tom going to such a good home! As strange as it may sound, every single drawing is very important to me, and sometimes it is still difficult to part with them. Especially the ones I spent so much time with. I can often remember every line and every brushstroke. I have been really fortunate to share this project on this blog with so many people who are incredibly passionate about the novel Moby-Dick, and it has given me great comfort to know that when I send the art to them, it will end up in a frame and on a wall and not moldering away in some dusty drawer.

    I will have your art shipped out tonight or tomorrow from Ohio. I believe it should arrive by Saturday but if not it will be very early next week at the latest. I work 90 miles away from where I live so post office trips generally have to wait until the last part of the week.

  3. Matt:
    I appreciate your dedication and your response. Like many, I wish I had discovered the project sooner, but feel very fortunate to be involved now.
    All things associated with the arts, especially books, are very meaningful to our family. My wife and son both teach English, I taught English/Publishing before going into administration, our daughter is a newspaper designer for the Detroit News, and our youngest will be heading to MSU persuing a journalism degree of some sort. Sorry about rambling, but I am still excited about Timor Tom and the project.

    Any idea on your plan for whale number three?

  4. I can't thank you enough for that bit of personal history. It helps even more to know a bit about the homes I am sending these pieces of art to, and it sounds as if Timor Tom will have a place of honor on your wall.

    This suite of illustrations is based on this passage from chapter 45 of 'Moby-Dick'...

    "But not only did each of these famous whales enjoy great individual celebrity - nay, you may call it an ocean-wide renown; not only was he famous in life and now is immortal in forecastle stories after death, but he was admitted into all the rights, privileges, and distinctions of a name; had as much a name indeed as Cambyses or Caesar. Was it not so, O Timor Tom! thou famed leviathan, scarred like an iceberg, who so long did'st lurk in the Oriental straits of that name, whose spout was oft seen from the palmy beach of Ombay? Was it not so, O New Zealand Jack! thou terror of all cruisers that crossed their wakes in the vicinity of the Tattoo Land? Was it not so, O Morquan! King of Japan, whose lofty jet they say at times assumed the semblance of a snow-white cross against the sky? Was it not so, O Don Miguel! thou Chilian whale, marked like an old tortoise with mystic hieroglyphics upon the back! In plain prose, here are four whales as well known to the students of Cetacean History as Marius or Sylla to the classic scholar."

    I worked a bit out of order, starting with Don Miguel and then jumping to Timor Tom. I believe I'll be doing New Zealand Jack next since I have a few ideas for that "terror of all cruisers." Morquan has been harder for me to visualize, so that one will be last but I am certain I will know what I want to do when I get there.


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