Saturday, January 29, 2011

My task is complete.

As I write this, it is 9:26 a.m. on Saturday morning, January 29, 2011 and I just finished drawing and scanning the final illustration. I have completed my task. You and I have walked together, from the first page of Moby-Dick to the last. As I expected, I just don't know how to even begin to sort out how I am feeling. What surprises me the most is just how sad I feel. It's really, finally over. I am truly going to miss these characters. Queequeg and Ishmael. Starbuck and Ahab. Even Moby Dick himself. These characters have really become a part of my life, a part of my daily thoughts now, for well over a year. It will be sad not to think of them, not to see them as often as I have.

I am going to miss all of you too. I have enjoyed the comments and the emails and the sharing of thoughts and ideas more than you might ever know. It has really been a pleasure and, even more so, an honor to share this project with you all. You may not know it but every one of you who commented or wrote to me or talked to me about this project became a part of it. This is as much for you all as it is for me, and I have been a lucky man to be able to share this with you.

It will be a strange day today I think. I have to wash up some brushes and give my closet studio a long overdue cleaning and sweeping. Then it will be a pleasant dinner this evening with some good friends, to celebrate the end. Beyond that, I don't know.

This is not the end, not quite yet, for this blog though. There will probably not be daily or twice-daily updates any longer, but there will be many more posts. Updates on the publication of the book, hopefully a gallery show or two, a few more pieces of Moby-Dick inspired art (I've always wanted to a suite of four illustrations of the named whales from Chapter 45: The Affidavit. The whales are Timor Tom who is scarred like an iceberg, New Zealand Jack the terror of the cruisers, Morquan the King of Japan and Don Miguel the Chilian whale marked like an old tortoise), and lots and lots of details about me selling every single illustration from this thing. I do hope you'll continue to visit, to comment now and again, to drop me a line and say hello. It should be an interesting year.

For now though, I am going to let myself feel just a little proud of this. I've looked back often over all of these illustrations and while there are always some I like more than others, I am pleased with them all. I do think I've done something good here.

Thank you, everyone, for your kindness and your companionship. Godspeed.


  1. Thanks so much. Following this project has been amazing.

  2. Thank you for your sacrifices, your dedication, and your talent. Mostly, though, thank you for your generosity in sharing your process, and your beautiful, inspiring artwork, with the world. I have been following along since nearly the beginning - no wonder I kind of choked up, viewing and reading your last post for page 552. I can't wait to buy the book!

  3. Thank you so much for your work! It really has been a pleasure to watch.

  4. I'm proud of you Kish. High five.

  5. Congrats. Well done. Hoping to see you at PANEL more now.

  6. Congratulations, Matt. And thank you. Seeing that new illustration every day, typically timed right at the mid-morning doldrums of the workday, was always a joy.

  7. This is sad. And wonderful too.

    Will you pick another title and begin again?


    Take care.

  8. Nice work man! Congrats are in order as well. Was wonderful to follow along. Good luck with the book & drop a line soon. Yer pal, Matt Reber

  9. Congrats! Thanks for sharing your project its been fun to see it emerge with your commentary.

    I wish you success with getting the art out there so people can enjoy it and you.


  10. Dear Matt,
    I have just discovered your project this morning while working on our community's website for the Virginia Yerxa Community Read. Your dedication is impressive and inspiring. Congratulations on completing such a monumental task. Melville's classic in a fitting tome to be honored in this way. I am placing a link to your work on our website and hope our readers visit and revisit your work as we read and reread Moby-Dick.

  11. Congratulations Matt! What a tremendous accomplishment - I'm looking forward to seeing the book.

  12. Congratulations, Matt. This is one of the most amazing art pieces ever. You've got a lot to be proud of.

  13. Oh Matt, what a moment! You truly have my admiration and respect for what you have achieved, but that's not it. I never thought illustrations to Moby-Dick, particularly a whole series of illustrations for Moby-Dick, would ever really 'do' much for me, because I live the words with every reading. And yet your images did 'do' it. I suppose it was, more than anything, like looking into another reader's mind, and not like looking at an illustrator's work. It really has been an astonishing ride.

    I don't know why the following came into my head after looking at, and reading, these last posts - certainly your words, the mirroring of the first and last drawings of Ishmael, but something more too.

    The Four Quartets is not the easiest work from a notoriously 'difficult' poet, T S Eliot, but this first section from East Coker just came to me.
    It's very long! You don't have to publish this comment by the way!

    In my beginning is my end. In succession
    Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
    Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
    Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
    Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
    Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
    Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
    Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
    Houses live and die: there is a time for building
    And a time for living and for generation
    And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
    And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
    And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

    In my beginning is my end. Now the light falls
    Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
    Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
    Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
    And the deep lane insists on the direction
    Into the village, in the electric heat
    Hypnotised. In a warm haze the sultry light
    Is absorbed, not refracted, by grey stone.
    The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
    Wait for the early owl.

    In that open field
    If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
    On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
    Of the weak pipe and the little drum
    And see them dancing around the bonfire
    The association of man and woman
    In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
    A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
    Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
    Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
    Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
    Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
    Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
    Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
    Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
    Mirth of those long since under earth
    Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
    Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
    As in their living in the living seasons
    The time of the seasons and the constellations
    The time of milking and the time of harvest
    The time of the coupling of man and woman
    And that of beasts. Feet rising and falling.
    Eating and drinking. Dung and death.

    Dawn points, and another day
    Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
    Wrinkles and slides. I am here
    Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.

  14. What an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations on this has been so inspiring to follow. I know that since this project has ended, the space that opens up where it used to be will be very valuable for you.

  15. Late to the party as usual, but let me add my CONGRATS to this long list. It's be so much fun to watch the project develop here. Can't wait for the book.

  16. Thank you, Matt, for a fresh exploration and a new perspective on my favorite novel. You've deeply enriched my relationship with the book.

    It's been a privilege to watch your work. Rest up, and then let us all know where you will take us next!

  17. Well done, man! I'm looking forward to the book!

  18. Kudos! I never imagined Moby Dick this way, and it's marvelous!

  19. Going to let yourself feel "just a little proud," huh?

    Well, as long as you don't over-do it!

    Seriously, though, this is wonderful work. Original and well executed, true to the book to your own personal vision. Art for art's sake in all the best ways.

    Can't wait to get the book, and to see what you're going to do next!

  20. Dear Matt,
    Thank your for your heartfelt and wonderful work! (and I do mean 'full of wonders'). It has been a privilege to be a witness to this journey of yours and to see the work, Matt, it is fine, fine stuff. I have been visiting for a while and have received so much from this so thank you, friend.
    I was thrilled to see Titus' post because I thought of Eliot's 4 Quarter's also when I read of your sadness of the end of this project. The poem is worth a read especially considering your present situation. It is wise and kind and true. His idea that "In my end is my beginning" has helped me enormously over the years.
    here is a little more ( I can't help myself):

    You say I am repeating
    Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
    Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
    To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
    You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
    In order to arrive at what you do not know
    You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
    In order to possess what you do not possess
    You must go by the way of dispossession.
    In order to arrive at what you are not
    You must go through the way in which you are not.
    And what you do not know is the only thing you know
    And what you own is what you do not own
    And where you are is where you are not.

    Please read the whole thing. You can find it on-line.
    One final thing - would you please stop with the "I am not an artist" thing? What you do is art. Your work moves people in powerful ways which is what art does and you are crazy-committed to it like an artist is. You are an artist. That is it.
    I love your work. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future,
    Kathryn Collins

  21. It has been a wonderful experience following this project — you're not the only one to feel sad that this is over!

  22. You did it! What a fantastic project! It is also totally understandable that you now wonder -- what next? You will find your way. Having completed this will open up new doors -- once you have had a good rest! I also am very eager to buy your book. And if/when you're ready, Team Tolstoy would love to enlist you as an occasional contributor to the project that you inspired.

    be well
    Brookline, MA

  23. I have just found your wonderful, amazing blog on Moby Dick as I am reading it with my high school tutorial. My Christmas Present was an Altered Book of Moby Dick. Absolutely amazing piece of artwork.
    I do hope a book gets published.

  24. My mornings this week have missed you. Thank you for your diligence and flair in this project. Really beautifully done.

  25. I've been following your project off and on since around September 2010. It's amazing to see that you've finished! Congratulations. I've enjoyed it.

  26. What a fantastic achievement. I look forward to any future projects!

  27. It's the greatest book I've ever read. One edition I had years ago had a forward by some Oxford don or somebody, who wrote, "This book merits continual rereading."

    I agree.

    Congratulations on you wonderful project.

  28. Thank you for your blog, it is very interesting not only for the great illustrations but also as a help for the inmersion into Melville's book. The effort has been worth indeed. Added to mine :)

  29. Well bone Matt. I have enjoyed each of the drawings, and will miss seeing your postings in my email box.

  30. Rockwell Kent
    Barry Moser
    and now
    Matt Kish



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