Yesterday I hammered away at the composition and came up with nothing that didn’t just lie there walleyed. One wondered what was wrong with one. If there is anything more discomfiting than the pall of self-loathing that accompanies artistic impotence I hope I skip it. The dead stuff just would not come alive. For your private amusement I have scanned two of these failures.
Nothing works in either of these except for the trees in the first drawing, and they aren’t placed correctly in the frame. The approach to the snared creature is pitiful. The problem, as I see it, is the difficulty of telling the story I originally wanted to tell, which is the acquisition through low animal cunning of a hostage that possess terrible, life-ruining psychic powers… something like the living rock but more horrible because it is animal: a huge, inert swooning grub-like body, easy to trap but never to be caught, a huge mistake not yet revealed… this was the idea. The problems anecdotally were practical and logistical. How could such a thing be lured into a snare? It would be necessary to show it heavy head down… why would such a cumbersome thing be snared around its tail. That made no sense at all, and the implied “you had to be there” wasn’t going to pull this particular fat out of the fire.
The overt insanity attendant to and at the core of this exercise got to me, I think. Yesterday was just horrible, or would have been if I’d let it get to me. But my mind is very tough.
As soon as I took a step back from the slimy pink wall I saw another solution (for getting a picture painted, not for honoring the initial impulse), and that was to make it a simple, pretty picture showing clever frogs learning to be monstrous.
Et la! Oh, stop! Just wait. You’ll see.