I decided to start art blogging today. “Art” may be the wrong word here – drawings, some of them digital, most of them cartoony, will appear here, but for simplicity’s sake, if not for accuracy’s, I’ll call it art.
I have thought and read a bit online about art blogs, some of which posted useful information on why, where, and how to blob. One blogger warned that most art blogs fail. That of course, assumes what the artist intended to do and that he didn’t achieve it, which assumes a lot. As for me, I don’t foresee anything here going viral, so if I don’t gain a tribe, that’s OK by me. My goal in this art blog is rather selfish; I started thinking the act of blogging might inspire me – “force” is too strong a word – to draw something every day or at least a few times a week and keep the creative juices flowing. Maybe it will serve as an exchange of ideas and I can get inspiration from others as well. That would be a successful blog; so no one would necessarily know whether the blog has succeeded or not. I’ll let you know.
I have hesitated to blog for years feeling that my personal thoughts and feelings in words or drawings are just another drop in the ocean of noise drowning the earth, and may not be a very original or creative drop at that (I’ve learned to appreciate over the years the monkish writings on the value of silence). Perhaps, I also felt that my writing or art just isn’t anybody else’s business. But I thought I could blog and just not give out the address to may people, and so, in some sense, still keep it to myself. Not sure if that will work, but let’s see.
I’m not sure what the word to art ratio will be here either. I suppose that will depend on how busy or moody I am. Sometimes I may just post a drawing; other times, I may feel like writing a bit.
I have a webpage, but don’t really update it regularly. I had one going back to 1997, but it was on Geocities and that closed down in 2009 or so. I started the new webpage about two years ago and plan on keeping it as a space for my best (or better, or more finished) art while I use the blog for rough drafts or partially-explored ideas. Thus, the website may change as the blog progresses. Again, let’s see.
My first blogs will very likely feature older drawings since I’m away from home and can’t really draw and scan or digitally create artwork right this minute. Expect a lot of drawings of sharks, rhinoceroses, slugs, ducks, and a lot of other animals (elephants, ants, turtles, horses, and so forth, but on a much smaller scale than sharks or the others.) I also draw quite a bit of religious and historical art, buildings, and even dabble in self-historicalization with me on coins, stamps, money, and other things, to imagine what the world would be like if I had a cult of personality and to draw the barbs of critics who want to accuse me of arrogance and self-absorption.
I find sharks to be sleek, magnificent, beautiful, and sadly misunderstood creatures, just like me (without all the sleekness, magnificence, and beauty I mean), and so I’ve sort of adopted them as my totem or spirit animal (though I don’t believe in that concept in any real religious sense) or heraldic badge, as it were. They are truly splendid animals, as is shown in ancient Hindu scripture, when Krishna told Aruja in his long list of superlatives: “I am the radiant sun among the luminaries…I am the moon among the stars…I am the lion among beasts…I am the shark among the fishes, and the Ganges among rivers” (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, verses 120, 130, and 131). Perhaps I relate to them because I have persevered the way they do, constantly having to swim around, somewhat sleep-deprived, against a few currents now and then. Or, maybe I just like them. When I draw, the ocean may not roar, as it did when Salvador Dali painted, but sharks certainly swim around in it.
Regarding the title of the blog, I always thought “Stone’s Throe” would be a great name for an English country estate, and like the punny aspect of it. Maybe people can read a great deal more into it than I intended. Perhaps it says something about how “because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matt 24:12), and that our hearts, as cold and hard “as the adamant stone,” (Zech 7:12) are in their last throes, and God will give us new hearts of flesh, as Ezekiel 36:26 tells us. Or maybe it represents the proverbial glass house that Chaucer wrote of (Troilus and Cressida, Book 2, Line 124) – though he actually mentioned a glass head and not a house, but it’s the same concept. Maybe I’m trying to say that I have a glass head or house while hypocritically casting my written or illustrative stones. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s much simpler than all that; perhaps I just didn’t want to name the blog “Mike’s Blog,” or “The Michael C. Paul Blog.” That said, I’m not sure if I can change the name of it if I get tired of it, but will someday find out.
I’m really looking forward to this as a good, interesting, even fun experience. Whether it “fails” according to someone else’s standard, matters less to me right now than the experience.