Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Tigers and the Strawberry.

A man was on a journey and was travelling across a field as he moved across he met face to face with a tiger. He ran as fast as his legs would carry him, the tiger after him. He arrived at a cliff edge and there was no way he could turn back. He grabbed hold of a vine and swung himself over the edge. He looked up as he hung from the vine and saw the face of the tiger looking back down at him, waiting. In great fear he looked down. Not only did he see a great drop but he also saw at the bottom of the drop another tiger looking up at him. The only thing that was saving him was the precious vine.

He looked up again at the tiger and at that moment, to his horror he also saw two mice. They had started to gnaw at the vine. To his right he saw a luscious strawberry. Holding on with all his might he reached out and picked the strawberry. Never ever in his life had he tasted a strawberry as sweet!

I remember once slipping on a mountain track and falling. Fortunately there were no tigers waiting at the bottom just a river. It was a steep drop and I could easily have landed not in the river but on the rocks at the edge. I hit the side twice on the way down and fortunately landed in the water hitting the bottom of the river. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday the thoughts that filled my head between top and bottom, amazing how much in such a short space of time. It was a life changing event. I remember one of the thoughts was that I would not be able to run in that years London marathon even though I had a place. How sweet it was to stand on the starting line and hear the starter’s pistol.

Every empty canvas should be respected by the artist as if it was the last canvas they might paint. Every day lived as though it was the last and ever moment cherished.


  1. Good morning, Ralph, I am alive, it is a great day! Interesting topic, for me, today. Before I knew I had cancer, when I thought I was healthy, I couldn't have agreed with you more! The paintings I did and my metal work were the best I could do and if they were the last it wold be ok. Now, I don't know? I don't know what to paint
    nor what metal work to create, or even if it makes any difference whether I do it or not. I hate to think that I have done my last painting when I am capable of doing another, capable but maybe not willing?
    As you may have noticed I am listening more, commenting and advising less and I haven't painted in a month. Sorry, Ralph, I am just complaining!

  2. HiThere to you also. Complain away it is just so good to hear from you. I am not at all sure how I would feel being in the position you are but I sure do know I admire the way you are facing it. I am with you.

  3. A late response to your blog Ralph. Left me pondering as you usually do. As artists I think we are always tettering on the edge of better, better, better; never achieve best; but constantly grow in vision and expression. We may start as a child with a sunny rendition of blue sky and yellow sun and progress to a landscape devoid of sunlight; but which speaks more than a yellow globe in a blue sky.

    We, I think, hang on a cliff edge. We can't return because we believe it was not our best. Dare we plunge what disaster? And like the man in your story may take a cautious sideward lunge.

    As a younger person I was always avid to explore the new and exiting in art, to the extent of purchasing and working with lead plate, split copper plate, viscosity printing, always looking for new avenues; always exploring the rise of the wind.

    Now at a later stage I envy the artist who can make these journeys using different approaches, approaching and soaring over a new interpretation of style; of challenging one's worth employing different mediums; like the man who applies plaster to canvas, or ground rust to his mediums to see 'what if, what about this'.

    The joy at the end of that road, at seeing the finished product, maybe not be the best produced today, but better and better tomorrow. Even on our last day I believe we will have achieved 'better'. Leave to those who come later to say 'masterpiece'.

  4. An addendum to my comment...telephone call intruded on thought process.
    Wanted to say...I don't want to think that the canvas I start today is my last, if it were I would want it to be my masterpiece. I do know that today it will be the better of what I can do today, whether binned or applauded. I also know that given time, place and climate it will have my fullest attention.
    My last canvas will be one of the 'betters'. Leave to those who come later to say

  5. Thanks to you both. I feel pleased when this blog causes even just a little thought. I am happy that we each see things in a different way but I thank you for your comments and wish we had more.