but those that were fought and won
behind your forehead.”
― James Joyce
Actually, it's also all about a very special person in my life, my hero.
Not sure if you are aware but my all-time hero is the King David of early Hebrew history. The reasons are many but some include his being a humble shepherd boy who becomes both an amazing sensitive artist, a warrior, a king, plus a real "man's-man" kind of a person. His area of the arts was his music skills, including playing the harp and writing songs. You can find a lot of his lyrics in the book of the Bible called the Psalms.
Many of you will know how it all began, how he came to be "discovered" when he showed remarkable courage and skill in eliminating that giant of a man named Goliath while still a young man/shepherd boy, of only 16 or 17 years of age. This act alone creating a crucial victory for the nation.
When I was a boy I loved all things of a military nature. I devoured books like the "Leather Stocking Tales", Danial Boon and his exploits etc. My poor parents had no idea what was going on in my head! When I went to get the cows for milking in the morning, I imagined I was an Indian (sorry) scout skilled in all matters of native warfare. I imagined the cows were the enemy and would circle downwind from them, slither through the grass for a sneak attack, jumping up when I was a few feet away scaring the very milk right out of them. These heavy cows with their full udders would jump in fear and begin their way home running, I mean lumbering along in abject fear. Now when I think of this I'm sure I affected the amount of milk our farm could have produced!
My poor pacifistic parents had no idea of my passion for the military. I did give myself away with my drawings and sketches but they never imagined the passion I actually had. Ever since I began with clay, I have wanted to create pieces having to do with battle. The "one on one" scene of two skilled fighters going at it with sword and shield. This I believe is the time.
Now you of course realize I did not grow up in any kind of military context, except of my own reading and imagination. So what's a pacifist doing making sculptures of men fighting to the death? I don't know! Maybe that is why I'm fascinated with it. Sometimes the very things you were not supposed to know about, make you fascinated with it! So it is not surprising a "military" man of the Bible like David would become a hero for me. A man very spiritual plus gifted as a warrior and leader of men, who was literally made for the complicated role he had to play in the history of the Hebrews as a nation, their faith and legacy.
It is clear to me that our very life is a battle. We need to be ready, disciplined and trained to succeed in building our own faith, leadership and legacy. David's story covers all that ground in one persons experience.
So, I'm beginning from scratch. I have no knowledge of battle techniques! I cannot make any of these sculptures and pretend I know what I'm dong. It could be very embarrassing to place these dueling gladiators in an embarrassing possibly even shaming fighting stance. So I'm indulging this latent desire. I'm having way to much fun doing my research! The memories of all my many boyhood military exploits in our pasture of ponds, willows, bush, rocks, riding that lazy work horse (pretending it's an amazing spirited war horse) bareback, sneaking up on the cows, are all coming back with a rush.
Above is a video of fighting techniques having to do with the vikings. I have come to understand that with David living 3000 years ago, it seems right that his equipment and techniques would have been very similar to those of the vikings. Other than the slingshot of course!
Like David, they were very skilled with these basic military tools. I believe that in representing David as a fighting man, it's worth seeking to make the work as true as possible in the context of a one on one battlefield duel to the finish.
and I know that talk is cheap.
But the heat of the battle
is as sweet as the victory."