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Rising Water by ursulav Rising Water by ursulav
I've had artist's block of a weird sort for over a month now. I torture out a few paintings, but I have a hard time sustaining interest. It's not lack of ideas,* it's a lack of passion. I can't sustain interest in the painting for long enough to kick it out.

So I decided to take a page from James Christiansen, and try something with deliberate symbolism, something I felt really passionate about, in hopes that passion would sustain my interest. It might come out preachy, or incomprehensible, but hopefully it would at least come out, and one can't be afraid to make bad art, after all. And one of the things that really really gets my goat is people who believe in books over reality. If reality contradicts the book, reality must be wrong. Biblical literalists are the main culprits of course, but I also reserve a special disgust for people who believe crackpot conspiracy theories just because they're published. Believe me, people, I have had two art books published and a third on the way, and if I can do it, they'll let anybody do it. There are no background checks.

So I came up with this little guy. The water is rising, the rats are fleeing, but he has so much faith in his books that he is ignoring the reality that he's about to get very wet. Because I was playing with symbolism anyway, I started having fun with flowers--the geraniums, in Victorian flower symbols, stand for stupidity, and the columbine tucked in his scroll-hat are for folly. But as often happens with paintings, you can't paint somebody and not start to feel a certain affection for him. Sure, he's a haughty idiot, who stubbornly refuses to admit that his book is about to be swamped, but I suspect that he's really just scared of the water, and is really hoping it'll go away. If he'd left when the rats did, he'd probably have saved a few volumes, but now he's screwed. It's no wonder he doesn't want to face that.

But since symbolism is also basically silly, and you can't stand next to the painting and demand that people see what you meant, hopefully it's got enough of a visual appeal that people can put any interpretation they want on it. Maybe he just loves books and won't abandon them to the flood. I can sympathize. My dream apartment is one with walls made entirely of bookcases. Maybe it's just one of those weird moments caught in time. Maybe this guy knows how to surf on a hardcover tome. Whatever works.

I can't say it's a great painting--I like the water, but there are various bits that don't work for me--but it's at least a painting, and at this point, I'll take whatever I can get.

Prints available, 8.5 x 11 $10, 13 x 19 $20, send a note or visit [link] for details.

*I mean this. Whenever I say I have block, people tend to flood me with painting suggestions, and while I really appreciate the kindness, realistically, I will never paint any of them. I do not have a problem getting ideas. I have ideas the way some people have leprosy.
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finifututa Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2010
Chiamata-alle-Arti Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2009
Our compliments! We would like to publish this work on the next issue of the italian art-zine named Chiamata alle Arti, themed Water.
You can see all past editions here: [link]
Read here how to join us: [link]

The deadline for this issue is 15 July 2009.
The team
Smoke-Z Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2009
Man I miss your aged concrete background paintings.
KD-Neeley Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2008
I'm not gonna lie...I faved this for your comments. And unfortunately I know how you feel. I've gone so far as to write pages of ideas, the pages continue to grow, and I have over 300 unfinished works...that I know would be successful if I finish them but....lately I finally managed to dedicate myself to a 'series', at the moment I am stuck on getting the water just right, and that's how I found your painting (and although it doesn't help) I love , of all things, that you finished it. It was the storybook look of it that drew my attention, your illustrations are the ones I spent hours over as a child, and that purity always takes me in. I also have a love for using symbolism, but I wouldn't have gotten your message from it. (I interpreted something of the ignorance...that's obvious, and that was upon seeing the 'three blind mice' wise enough to climb the rope while the man with eyes to read with and gain knowledge closed his eyes to the flood)
TinorialPeredhil Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2007
Aww, you do feel sort of bad for the ignorant little ass. Nice symbolism and well presented. :+fav:
This deviation has been chosen as a feature of the week
on *Word-worth-1000-pics which is a community project
promoting artists on dA.
It has been found from the word : "AWAY " :devart:

:bulletblue: To know how it works: [link]
:bulletblue: F.A.Q. : [link]
Flame-and-Darkness Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2007  Student Traditional Artist
i love it
the symbolism rox my sox
real cool
BottledTears Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2007
I want your dream apartment *_*

I realy like this though ^_^ It's quirky and funny, and I really like this style of art (umm...which one? Ummm....yours. XD Yep.).

Osa-Art-Farm Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2007
He IS a haughty idiot! This is a marvelous accomplishment for being blocked. It's a marvelous accomplishment if you are not blocked! Everything is grand ecept the coloring of his clothes. Not your usual grandness.
Gribby Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2006
OH NO!! Who's going to save the BOWL OF NASTURTIUMS!?
mynewalterego Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2005   Writer
i kind of see, triumph of love of knowledge over fear. he's afraid to touch the rope that is covered with rats, but he's going to save himself and more importantly, his books from the flood
sweetie-smile Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2005   Traditional Artist
luv the background and the colour's very creative....i love it!!
Yensil Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2005
This reminds me of the hurricane/flooding that happened in the southern US this past summer.
People refused to evacuate when warned well in advance of the hurricanes approach, and the resulting tragedy has been a huge political mess. >_<
Vividlight Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2005
I've been thinking about these same issues lately.

LostSiren Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2005   Photographer
Lovely the expression on the face as well. Your artwork always impresses me and it puts a huge grin on my face...great stuff! +Fav :-)
SSEJBAT Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2005
full of detail, as ever...!
Sunflicker Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2005
i really like this ... the expression is great ...

to me it looks like you are trying to prove the point that rats are actually more intelligent than people ;-)
Coolflm Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
First..I have to say ... nice comment there :D I think that what you said is totally true... Sometimes people just believe what is infront of them instead of searching more info somewhere else.

Second, nice painting. The wall looks pretty sweet along with the water. And all the ideas involved in it are tight. :D I also liek the shadows on the guy´s face :D

Hope you get over the block soon...

By the way.. .how do you manage artist´s blocks when you have a comission ? ( I am art student..and sometimes..blocks are there for killing the homework :( )
ursulav Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
Simple--I stopped taking commissions!

Sorry, I know that's not at all helpful, but it's actually what I did. Once I could afford to stop doing commissioned work, I did, and man, I've been happier ever since. Some people are really good at fitting their creativity into what people want, and really enjoy it--it was almost always a really brutal slog for me.

When I had to do it, however, basically I'd just sit down and DO it, and forbid myself distractions or internet surfing, or whatever--set up a mental reward for the various steps, like "Do this background, and as soon as it's done, you can go take a break for an hour." Stick meet carrot, carrot, meet stick.
supergirlanna Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
LOL! that looks sooo funny! hehe, looks good though
Comet-Dust Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2005
the first impression i got this was "leave me! i shall go down with my precious books!". you know the way sea captains used to "go down with their ships"? so haha like that.
but was interesting reading what this actually is supposed to symbolise, and the various other interpretations there are. stubborn scholars are so cute!
FinalGamer Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
That is a very inapporpriate way to treat a book.
But it's lovely art, I like the mice climbing the rope ladder, who put it there for them to escape?
Lani-San Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005  Student Traditional Artist
Very nice symbolism! I lov it when people use flowers for symbolism. :) A very clever idea!
le-bel-agneau Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
great job;
your art astounds me:)
Dunnas Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2005
Awesome! Believe me when I say I know what you mean...
Great job on... um... ^^; EVERYTHING. I love it.
Bug-Id Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist
That's so funny!!! Nice job on the symbolism!!! :lol:
LibrianGoober Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
I feel sorry for his books...:reading:
Katimazie Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
When I first looked at it, I had a feeling the rats were saying "Jeez, just open your eyes and look over here, the rope is THIS way!"

It reminded me of Fantasia too... I grinned at the mention of "surfing on a hardcover tome".

Writer's block is a total pain. Once I drew it an actual block-shaped creature that eats Muses. Explains a lot, dosn't it?
kameleonkat Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist General Artist
Cool, I knew what you meant before I even read the description :) A very successful painting!
JulepPony Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
I like the current trend you're going through with adding graffiti to every flat surface. It adds a... touch. Of some kind. Maybe a realistic touch?

And a nitpick on the farthest right columbine: even at the angle its facing, its sepals would be longer (the spiny-thingies). Still, I'm glad you chose them, even if it was for the symbolism. Columbines are definitely in the top-three of my favorite flowers.

And, by 'two art books', do you mean 'Digger Vol. 1' and 'It Made Sense at the Time'? Or are there Ursula books I know not about?
ursulav Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
Nope, those are the two!
Phionnuala Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Student Traditional Artist
i love the symbolism even though that sort of thing is just something to turn over in your mind a hundred times over
but i love it

i read your artist's comment because i was wondering at the expresion on his very
and it just seems he has the personality of an idiot]
i say, go rats!!!

i praise you for the interest you put into this work
i hope you do some more like it... :)

he realy is a silly fellow
mystiquemoons Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
The rats are very cute! =D

mateem Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005   Interface Designer
This reminds me alot of Disney's rendition of The Socerer's Apprentice, mostly for the ill-fated attempts to command the water and the floating on top of the old book. Oh, and one stocky guy with exagurated head features. XD So sorry to hear you're having trouble finishing pieces. If it's any condolence, Da Vinci barely finished any of his works, so it's not a deficiency on your part, that's for sure. It's frustrating, nonetheless, I'm sure.
tails2k4 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow, it's beautiful.
insecteye Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005   Digital Artist
Those blocks (dry spells, flat periods, whatever we wish to call them) are turturous for me as well. I have ideas until I can't sleep, but maintaining the drive to flesh out each and every one (which I'd love to do) isn't a physical possibility. Keep doing your thing at your own pace-- I really enjoy it.
painbrush Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
excellent! love the colors, the textures and the dynamic water
Lucanis Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
haha nice! :D
FWACATA Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Professional Traditional Artist
I totally understand that passion thing. Seems to flicker or get dulled in the middle of painting, then so much bloody self-doubt comes in, bah!
Either way great exercise, and really dig the symbolism here. It's rich but not overbearing or ridiculous.

"I have ideas the way some people have leprosy"
Having that engraved on my tombstone.
Dyre Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
If it makes you feel any better, I got the symbolism. Beautiful painting, you are an incredible artist.

My blocks are just about the same with my writing...have all the ideas, just sometimes I lack the passion needed to keep at it.

Amazing, you truly astonish me with both the symbolism in a lot of your work and the amount of heart that is so obviously poured into each piece. Even if you had to force this one a bit, it's still beautfiul and shows a piece of you.

Never try to force passion, it would show through...
thylacine-girl Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
He looks just like my dad! Saying "Go and do your homework, come hell or high water!" =D

Actually, he doesn't do that. He tells me to "stop doing that homework and read this!", but that just illustrates his devotion to the written word, so it could still be him. ^^;
hornedangel Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
very nicely done
meli Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
Y'know what, it'll probably take me a little thousand years to actually get how you get such a texture on your walls, but I hope I live long enough to get it, one day. For now, I'll just astonishly stare at it.
emerald-starflower Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
I know about the whole artists block thing.... >.>

But anyhow, I think it turned out amazing, as always. :heart:

You'll be back at it in no time, I am sure. :hug:
duhcoolies Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Professional General Artist
surf's up!!!
I like this one... gr8 work :D
SolidAhmed Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005
loved the water
JolieBonnetteArt Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2005  Professional Digital Artist
:D Love the addition of the flowers for their Victorian meanings. Cool idea! This piece is actually very good, I think. It does convey your idea very eloquently and your execution, as usual, is awesome!
lost-in-a-fishbowl Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2005   General Artist
I understand how you feel about books, but the world.. Or rather the human society works in weird ways. Its not always books, its also people.

For me, book is like a double edged sword. Its an inside out, backward, and all way around sort of catalysim. It can do good, it can do evil or it can do anything else in the opposite or it just does nothing but spread ideas. However, it's usually how people take in books and its words that determine the outcomes.

Its like looking on a blank page and trying to tell other people that you see something in there.
amazinggrace Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2005
Fabulous dear!! It's more like your older work than your recent crosshatching, but lovely!! You said, "My dream apartment is one with walls made entirely of bookcases." You just described my living room :D :hug: --AG
ganondorfs Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2005
I feel your pain, all these ideas but unable to draw them. Sigh. Anyway, very lovely and interesting piece, as always.
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Submitted on
October 10, 2005
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