"Fortitude" by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 5 1/2" x 7 1/2"
Painting #5 Day 8 in Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Painting Challenge
"I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream—past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was, and methought I had—but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream." - A Midsummer Night's Dream, ShakespeareIn the fantastical world of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Bottom for a brief time is literally turned into a jackass with ears. He recalls it as a dream and wants to tell others about it but he reasons that the story is too fantastic for anyone to possibly believe it, and it is too grand for him to put into words and give it justice. Besides, people will think him a fool if he were to tell anyone about it. So he decides not to tell the story himself but instead to hand it over to another to craft it for him.
What a gift that dream would be to an artist who felt he had the ability to turn it into a work of art! Imagine someone who wasn't afraid of taking the risk of telling a story that was so fantastical that no one would believe it. Someone like uh, I know, William Shakespeare!
The work in the world of the arts that stops me in my tracks and takes my breath aways strikes me as a courageously honest example of self-expression. I think, "Wow! You just lay it all on the line!"
I am very much aware of the need to have courage when I paint. I sometimes carve the words "practice fortitude" "be brave" "courage" into the paper as I'm working, and as I am seeking more authenticity in my own self-expression. And that is what this painting seems to signify today; the figure is standing inside, peeking out into the light, considering the pitfalls and the rewards of authentic self-expression, mustering up the courage to step forward into the world of creativity and risk-taking .