Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Warrior and The Cat

How often I am asked the same questions that will be asked of almost everybody who produces artwork. I am sure all who read this know exactly what I mean.

“How do you manage to do that?” usually with the added comment, “I wish I had such talent.” I always feel so humbled when this is said to me, because I know the truth, I have no more talent than those who ask the question.

Then there is the question, “How long did it take you to do that?” This question I always find almost impossible to answer. Impossible because I am aware if I only talk about the time I take to put paint onto a canvas it may well trivialise the finished product. But the time the painting has been developing in the inner reaches of the mind are almost impossible to calculate.

Then there is the question that always comes, when the finished product is an abstract. “Where do you get the ideas to paint those?”

The answer to that question is best answered with the little tale of the warrior and the cat.

The great warrior was a marvellous swordsman. One night he came home, he saw a rat near his bed. The rat looked at him ferociously.

He took his sword and tried to kill the rat, but all he managed to do was keep missing it and eventually broke his sword. This is no ordinary rat, he thought.

He spoke to his wife. She looked at him and said, “You fool, you can never kill a rat with a sword bring in the cat.” The cat was a highly trained and famous rat-catching cat.

Try as hard as she could the cat failed to catch the rat. The warrior said, “This is too much.” He then visited the king who had the best reputation for catching rats. A highly skilled cat. The king’s cat also failed to catch the rat.

The king’s cat said, “What you need is just a plain ordinary cat, not famous cats.”

The warrior asked, “What can an ordinary cat do that you cannot do?”

The king’s cat said, “Just try. I know this; she does not know a thing. She sleeps all day but she is very mysterious. She knows nothing about the art of rat catching, the technique, or the philosophy. She is just a plain cat, but other cats are very afraid of her.”

The warrior was not hopeful, but the cat was brought.

She came, and without any skill, caught the rat and brought it out. All the cats gathered together and asked her, “What art?”

I am a cat and a cat is supposed to catch a rat. That is what I do.

This blog is linked to my other. Structured Thinking (Or As Close As I Can Get)


  1. Love your abstracts, Ralph and what a great story. that is what we do, huh? As simple as that.

  2. A great chuckle here Ralph! Love your little story. Yes the question of how long did it take you to paint this painting is best answered by responding, all my life...

    Of course it leaves them pondering. But what's wrong with that?

  3. Great parable Ralph..and the painting is wonderful too.

  4. I find your stories as wonderful as your art, Ralph.