Why Don Quixote? There must be reasons why I chose to take him as my subject matter, my antagonist, my surrogate. Let’s delve into some background.
We have all heard of “The Man of La Mancha.” He is the guy who sings:
“To dream the impossible dream…!”
In 2001 Rosemary and I bought a house and land in Santa Fe, NM, which we dubbed “La Mancha”, making me: The Man of La Mancha, right? So, over time we ended up buying a few rather silly welded-nuts-n-bolts sculptures. Laid up for the summer of 2011, I was looking for a project to occupy myself with, and there he was on the bookshelf: Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha, all goofy and abstract but still the great wanderer himself, ready for another adventure.
To quote myself from an artists’ grant application I wrote last summer:
“Don Quixote wanders through the landscapes and the color fields of my paintings, through thickets of pattern and drawing, still believing in the veracity of his visions and the nobility of his cause. The inveterate impossible dreamer himself is clearly a misguided soul and something of a nuisance. But is he crazy, a surrealistic performance artist who does battle with everyone he meets, or just a pony-tailed old cynic who can never give up on rock ’n’ roll? My re-imagining is of The Old Man on a swaybacked horse, a long spear at the ready, ever seeking his own truths, ever wandering.
“Delusional though he may be, misinterpreting everything he sees, he is never in doubt.”
As a metaphor for an artist I still think it is quite good. Pursuing personal visions regardless of what others say is part of our job description. To continue despite the odds, to swim against the tides, not because of the reward at the end but because it is the battle to get there that is necessary for our creative survival.
Well in April 2012 we sold the house and land. I spent January, February and March 2012 in the house with my dog Scout. Thus the title of my upcoming exhibit: “Leaving La Mancha.” The show will be (almost) exclusively the paintings I have done this year, either at or since…
leaving La Mancha. Ready for another adventure.