It’s that time of year…preparing the Spectrum entry.

This year I’m going with Azezaelbunny, Orc Nouveau II, and the Water Mouse. There are others I really like, but at $20 a pop, most of ’em ain’t gonna happen. Those three cover a pretty broad range of styles, I was near the top of my game for all of ’em, and still I’m proud of all three.

And more importantly, they’ll hold up fairly well with just the title.

There are other paintings I did last year that I really LIKE, like the Sings-to-Trees pieces, but they really suffer without the text. It is a profound arrogance, I realize, but I suspect in my withered little heart of hearts that if I was given an explanatory blurb space, I’d’ve been in Spectrum years ago.* The little captions are what makes a lot of my work fly. The paintings, as another artist told me once with great accuracy, are basically visual punchlines for my jokes. I am not so much a painter as a prop comic who faints at the thought of public speaking.

This flies in the fact of artistic wisdom–i.e. that you can’t stand next to your painting and tell people what it’s about, so the image MUST STAND ALONE. Having to explain yourself is a sign of weakness, of a work that will not hold up alone. I writhe like a sinner on hot coals when I contemplate this, because if reliance on one’s text is an artistic sin, I am spending eternity wedged in Satan’s left testicle.

Still, I take comfort in the words of Wallace Tripp: “Illustrators are word people who happen to draw. We work with one foot in a book, the other stuck in a paint pot. Our shoes are a disgrace.”

Yeah. It’s a lot like that.

*At least, that’s what I tell myself.

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