07 November 2014

Over the Top

16" x 20", oil on wood panel, 2014

Before I started my World War One painting project, whenever I came across the term "over the top" I thought of it referring to something that is "excessive or exaggerated," but after living with WWI for the better part of a year (researching, thinking, digesting, painting, etc.), I now think of the final scene from Blackadder Goes Forth:

And then I think of this quote from Richard Curtis, one of the writers of that series:

"All the buildup to the First World War was very funny, all the people coming from communities where they'd never bumped into posh people, and all being so gung-ho and optimistic...The first hundred pages of any book about the World War are hilarious...then, of course, everybody dies."

And then these lines from Pink Floyd's "Us and Them":

Forward he cried from the rear
    and the front rank died

The General sat, and the lines on the map
   moved from side to side

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