Blackbird Singin’ In The Dead Of Night….

"Blackbirds" by Todd Powelson

“Blackbirds” by Todd Powelson

I finished this here flock of bird earlier last week. I’m very happy with how they all turned out, and am pleased as punch to have them done. I really like to draw these birds (in the face!) though, so maybe I’ll add even more to the flock over time.

These birds are based on some drawings I did a couple of years ago, and I’d always meant to go back and “ink” them in Adobe Illustrator.

It is hard to explain why I like this symbol or idea so much, or even where it comes from. As I write this, the thought just came to me that maybe it has its root in the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos. I’d never really thought about that before… but if that was the germ for the idea, I think it came to mean something else for me personally.

I think way too much on that age old question of “where do we come from, what are we, where are we going?“… Way too much. I don’t really have any answers to share, but I guess I explore it a lot in my art. You know, maybe this is a good way to explain… I’ve heard that some cultures and native tribal traditions believe that a human being has two souls. One soul comes from the stars, and one soul comes from the earth. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love birds because I just love birds. They are such beautiful animals. But as a symbol, maybe they represent that concept of the soul. Or the merger of those two souls. They are fly through the heavens in their earthly bodies… they are kind of a merger, at least symbolically, of those two souls. And maybe, at least here, that is why I wanted to put a bird on it ;) Put a bird on that human face.

I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me, but there ya go…

You can purchase this artwork from www.toddpowelson.com as a downloadable PDF file that you can print at home, as a tshirt, or as a poster.

František Kupka

"Positioning of Mobile Graphic Elements" 1913

“Positioning of Mobile Graphic Elements” 1913

I’ve been visiting with the work of Czech painter, František Kupka.

I’m sure I talk way too much about how much I love Cubism, along with many of it’s visual offshoots. Kupka was among the first to experiment with a more “colorful cubism”, a style that eventually became known as Orphism. He was also an early pioneer and among the first painters to experimented a with pure abstraction.

Kupka made many beautiful paintings that I love to look at. Lets check some of ’em out!

"Organization of Graphic Motifs" 1912

“Organization of Graphic Motifs” 1912

"Creation" 1920

“Creation” 1920

"Creation" 1920

“Creation” 1920

"Drill" 1926

“Drill” 1926

"Warm Chromatics" 1912

“Warm Chromatics” 1912

"Music" 1936

“Music” 1936

"Blue" 1914

“Blue” 1914

"Fanny Machine - The Machinery" 1928

“Fanny Machine – The Machinery” 1928

"Vertical Plains - Blue and Red" 1913

“Vertical Plains – Blue and Red” 1913

"Syncopated Accompaniment Staccato" 1928

“Syncopated Accompaniment Staccato” 1928

"Hindu Motif or Graduated Red" 1921

“Hindu Motif or Graduated Red” 1921

The Fourth World

"The Fourth World" by Todd Powelson

“The Fourth World” by Todd Powelson

I don’t meditate nearly as much as I should, unless you count walking… and I guess I do. There are techniques that I do practice while I walk. Still, if I am able to find a quiet moment I’ll usually choose to draw.. which, I suppose, could also be used as another type of meditation. But neither are quite the same as closing your eyes and sitting, clearing your mind, becoming aware of your body, and following your breath.

I don’t really like to talk about the experiences I have while meditating. Just because it is hard for me to describe, and also because they are personal and probably hard for some people to relate to. I am only writing about it now because it relates to the digital painting diptych that I just finished (above).

Like a lot of people, when I meditate I tend to see things. People, animals, or I find myself in different environments, landscapes or rooms. Of course, this all happens behind my eyes, but they are very significant and real. I could probably write more about it, but I firmly believe that there is more than just the mundane and material world. Meditation is a way to glimpse into, experience, and learn from those other places.

A few months ago I had one of those very significant experiences while meditating. Or maybe it was more of a trance. I sat in a dark room with my eyes closed, followed my breath, and listening to a very soft and rhythmic drum beat. Soon I found myself in a night-time and rural landscape, traveling down a very primitive path. On that path, just up the way, there was a gigantic bear crouching down. Not in a threatening way, but it was crouching. The bear kind of began to shimmer and a tiger became super-imposed over the bear until the bear became a tiger. Then the same thing happened again, and and the tiger shimmered and became a bear. I watched it change from bear to tiger and back for a little while, but soon my attention was drawn up into the starry sky. I realized the whole sky was a great goddess looking down at me (hello Nut), her arms stretched from horizon to horizon. I saw something moving quickly through her sky down towards me. I realized it was a gigantic dragon. Soon its enormous body filled all of my vision, and it just sat there looking at me looking at it. It got closer and closer until all I could see was its gigantic face. Looking at me. It would turn its head from side to side, but held my gaze the whole time. This was an amazing experience for me. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t sacred, it didn’t make me happy, nor did it intimidate me in any way. It just was. And it was just looking at me looking at it. We just sat looking at each other for a very long time. And somehow, that was very important.

As I was ending my meditation, I asked the Dragon its name, and it told me. I will never tell anybody else, because it seemed like that was just meant for me. Its name was a gift, and I have though about it and the Dragon it belongs to a whole lot ever since.

I’m not really clear on why, but after that experience I also knew that the Fourth World belongs to the Dragon.

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ISIS Militants Destroying Antiquities in Iraq

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We learned last week that ISIS militants were destroying ancient historical artifacts on display at the Mosul Museum in Iraq. With so much murder and war going on in the area, this is just one more horror to add to the long list.

As modern human beings, we understand the ancient past through the images, sculptures, architecture, jewelry, pottery and other art objects that were left behind. There is really nothing else we have to understand ancient people. And what was destroyed were among the most ancient of known relics. What was destroyed was not just regional history, but also our shared human history, and we’ve already lost too much of our history. Its been rewritten, slaughtered, burned, and swept under the dirty rug. We can’t afford to lose any more.

You can watch the destruction here: youtube.com

Democracy Now! ran an interesting story as well, and you can listen to that here: democracynow.org

The image shown above was not the actual piece destroyed but, from what I understand, there was a similar gigantic sculpture that was destroyed. I’ve written about other similar sculptures before, and you can read that blog post here. I just can’t believe anyone would topple and take a hammer to these.

Sickening!

Elegy to the Spanish Republic

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It occurs to me that I haven’t posted any Robert Motherwell here on ArtDuh, so I thought I’d change that. He is best known for his images/series, called “Elegy to the Spanish Republic”. It used to make me so happy to come across one of those paintings. They are enormous, start, messy and there is something about them that is very beautiful to me!