Archive for the ‘Sunday Post’ Category

Wildwood

April 19, 2014

ww_shamanWWT-III have a very strong interest in oracles and omens and I think if we can keep our eyes open, we’ll realize they are everywhere. I know, in this modern world that isn’t very well received, but I don’t care. If I come across a certain animal, bird, tree or rock… well, sometimes those encounters have very deep significance for me, even if I can’t explain why at the time. The synchronicities of everyday life, knowledge gained, an action, a conversation or casual comments… these everyday things can really fire my imagination at the very least. This is a pretty amazing place!

It is hard to put into words, but I feel a deeply spiritual connection between myself and pretty much everything else I share this world with. And even beyond this world. Even though I love science very very much, I instinctively feel like we share connections with each other and the rest of nature that science cannot easily measure. I’m probably starting to sound pretty woo-woo, and I usually try to avoid that at all costs, but I guess I also feel like I’ve got to explain so I can also understand…

pageofarrowswrenI have a very strong interest in and am amazed by divination. I think, if you’re open to it, divinatory systems can give glimpses into our shared physical, mental and spiritual connections. Ancient books like the I Ching are, quite simply, beautiful to me. The history behind the Sibyl and other prophets fascinate me. But on a personal level, what I relate to the most would be the Tarot. As an artist, my eyeballs devour this world, and then I express my thoughts and feelings about it visually through symbols. I find the artwork and symbolism on some tarot decks to be extremely powerful and moving. Its goal is to represent visually the different aspects and experiences we all go through, symbolically, on separate individual cards. Even if you’re not all that open to these symbols as a divinatory system, I think all of us can learn by examining them. Maybe it’ll help at first to think of the pictures as a very complex Rorschach test. Check it out, see what ya see.

KingBowsI don’t have many decks by any means, but if I see one I like, I will pick it up. My personal favorite deck is my Wildwood Tarot. There is something about its primal and animal characters that speak directly to me. With beings like the Green Man, the Ancestor, or the Son of Life running through the deck, how could it not?

As if this post wasn’t already long enough, I have a little side-tangent I’d like to explore.

I don’t know why, but it seems like most of my life I have been drawn to stone-age and bronze-age mythology and magic(k). Not that I practice it really, I don’t think of myself as a pagan or Wiccan, but maybe I lean that way a little bit. I suppose maybe the biggest reason I am drawn to the Wildwood is because it portrays that primitive and primal mythology instead of a medieval court (like many other tarot deck do).

WTT-7SI’ve explored a lot of different religious beliefs. I am very drawn to Hinduism especially, but what I relate to most are the ideas of ancient (i.e. pagan simple country folk) Europe. Nature is magic to me, and spirits move through it. Animals are my friends and trees and rivers whisper secrets. I’ve felt this way for a very long time. The wind cries Mary. I like the city and technology quite a lot too and, even though in a lot of ways it is now, I don’t think it needs to be incongruent with the natural world. Its all a part of Nature I guess. When I was younger running around under starry-skies and tree canopies I used to think to myself that modern man simply cannot relate to ancient customs and thought. Even though I felt a longing for them in my heart, I also felt like an outsider to those customs. I thought the animal in us had died. I think I was right, to some degree. We have changed. But I have come to see more and more that we are all still a part of Nature, and she has evolved with us, and (hopefully) we with Her. These ancient symbols and beliefs still have relevance, and returning to respecting Nature, trying to understand Her language and symbols (and also our own symbols at the same time) are perhaps some of the only things that makes any sense to me anymore. Not that we need to go live in caves, but we need to realize we are a part (not apart) of Nature too and respect that.

thewildwoodtarot.com

I should mention that the Wildwood Tarot was created by John Matthews, Mark Ryan, and illustrated by Will Worthington. Great job fellas!

WWT-IV

sunoflife

 

devil-WW

5 The Ancestor

 

death-WW

 

… And More New Drawings

April 13, 2014

4-dragonperson-01

Dragon Dancing

Crowd of People

Crowd of People

Here are a couple of additional new drawings I just finished. Really only one piece, a diptych, over two pages.

Jan van Eyck’s Last Judgement

April 6, 2014

Jan_van_Eyck_-_Diptych_-_WGA07587

I’ve been looking at a lot of old religious artwork lately, and have been enjoying the work of Jan van Eyck especially. One piece in particular stands out, and that is his Last Judgement, pictured above. This incredible piece is really a part of a diptych, made up of two panels, called Crucifixion and Last Judgement. The truth is, it is the Archangel Michael in the middle of the Last Judgement that I just keep looking at (I just realized that I wrote about another painting of Michael not too long ago. So there ya go). With his peacock wings filled with eyeballs, holding hell at bay with his shield and sword. Pretty sweet!

"Last Judgement" detail

“Last Judgement” detail

New Drawings

March 30, 2014

"Taurus" - by Todd Powelson

“Taurus” – by Todd Powelson

"Leo" - by Todd Powelson

“Leo” – by Todd Powelson

This last week or two I’ve been doing some drawing, and here is what I’ve come up with. I often just let the drawings kind of reveal themselves to me as I go along, and with these four pieces I started drawing and pretty soon I saw the bull, so I went with it. Then a lion started to appear, so I let that one come on out too. Then I knew what I was drawing, although I wasn’t completely sure why.

The bull, lion, eagle and man often represent the fixed signs of the astrological zodiac… but more than that too. They are also the four different faces of the angelic cherubim, one of whom was the angel who kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and stands guard over the Tree of Knowledge with his flaming sword. Also, in Christianity, these four animals also represent the Four Evangelists. Thats what came out of my pen this week, although I can’t really say why. I guess I do love symbols, and these are ancient and powerful. Think the three different traditions and their usage of these symbols are connected? I’m pretty sure they are somehow :)

"Scorpio" - by Todd Powelson

“Scorpio” – by Todd Powelson

"Aquarius" - by Todd Powelson

“Aquarius” – by Todd Powelson

Lee Bennion & Brian Kershisnik

March 23, 2014
by Lee Bennion

by Lee Bennion

By Brian Kershisnik

By Brian Kershisnik

I had the pleasure of seeing some very nice painting this week here in downtown SLC. Specifically the beautiful work of Lee Bennion and Brian Kershisnik on display at the Mormon Church History Museum.

I’ll be honest, I don’t really like church-y stuff. I respect other peoples beliefs completely, but I don’t find any kind of organized religion to be a good fit for me personally so I tend to avoid. Yep, even the Salt Lake religious art museum. I know I live in Utah (and I love it here) so I’m going to come across church-y stuff sort-a regularly, and that’s okie dokie. Whatever floats your boat… plus, there is obviously a long history and so much fantastic religious art. But anyway, I know both Bennion and Kershinik to be very fine painters, and because I love to look at beautiful things I found myself in the official Church Museum®.

I’m very glad I stopped in and saw the pieces I’ve posted here, and many more (again, I apologize that my photos don’t do the work justice).

I’d recommend this show to anyone, so check it out!

horseshoemountainpottery.com/lee

kershisnik.com

By Lee Bennion

By Lee Bennion

By Brian Kershisnik

By Brian Kershisnik

By Lee Bennion

By Lee Bennion

By Brian Kershisnik

By Brian Kershisnik

By Lee Bennion

By Lee Bennion

Curiouser & Curiouser: The Artwork of James Christensen, Cassandra Barney & Emily McPhie

March 16, 2014
image-05

By James Christensen

By Cassandra Barney

By Cassandra Barney

I’d been meaning to go and see the artwork of James Christensen, Cassandra Barney and Emily McPhie at the Springville Art Museum for some time, and last weekend I finally made it. It was great to see so much work by this talented family collected in one place!

Rather than write too much more I think I will just post a number of the different pieces I enjoyed. I apologize that my photos don’t do the work justice, but this is a show you should see for yourself anyway :)

www.smofa.org

By James Christensen

By James Christensen

By Emily McPhie

By Emily McPhie

By Emily McPhie

By Emily McPhie

By Cassandra Barney

By Cassandra Barney

By Cassandra Barney

By Cassandra Barney

By James Christensen

By James Christensen

The Green Man

March 9, 2014

dsc0090


osirisI’ve been thinking a lot about plant people and will probably sit down to draw them soon. One of my favorite plant buddies would have to be the Green Man, god of the forest. I’ve already painted him a few times over the years, but yeah, he is starting to play in my imagination once again. This week, I’ve decided to post a few pictures of him throughout history.

2012-ZL-Greenman-WEBI’ve read that the first incarnation of the Green Man (that we know of) may have been the Egyptian god Osiris.  His body representing the land of Egypt as it goes through the winter months when he is murdered, dismembered, planted in the ground, only to rise again for harvest (with his skin a nice shade of green). The Green Man has certainly evolved since then, and has been represented throughout Europe, and even India and Asia to represent the guardian of Nature. Even the Catholic church couldn’t get rid of the Green Man, and his image can be found inside and incorporated into their medieval cathedral’s architecture, columns and stained glass.

green-man-bambergI love the Green Man. Branches and bark on his face and skin, leaves as his hair, with flowers and foliage growing out of his mouth.

I remember being very happy as a kid if he’d show up in one of the books I’d be reading. I may have initially encountered the Green Man the first time I read Tolkien, where the he was embodied by the Ent, Treebeard. I’ve come across him many times since, in comics (Yay Swamp Thing!), literature, artwork, sculpture, and out in the wild wood. He shows up all over the place, and if you keep your eyes open you will see him everywhere!

Some books and things:

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest

Green Man: The Archetype of Our Oneness with the Earth

A Little Book of the Green Man (Little Books)

The Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life

Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1

The Green Man Tree Oracle: Ancient wisdom from the greenwood

green-man-winchelsea-east-sussex

005

Acheloos,_detail_of_roman_mosaic

green-man-sutton-benger-tina-negus-p

"Fall" by Todd Powelson

“Fall” by Todd Powelson

"Green Man" by Todd Powelson

“Green Man” by Todd Powelson

Hide and Seek

March 2, 2014
IMG_7720

“Hide and Seek” – by Pavel Tchelitchew

I found myself thinking about Russian Surrealist Pavel Tchelitchew‘s large painting called “Hide and Seek” today. I first came across the original painting many many years ago and was completely mesmerized. Back in college, it was also one of the color plates in a text book for one of my art history classes. One of my favorites, and I looked at it a lot.

I kind of forgot about the picture though, over time. But then today, while walking under some trees, it just suddenly came to mind. And here it is on ArtDuh for all to enjoy.

Floating Dragon with Sky Beast Clouds

February 23, 2014

2-FloatingDragon_SM

A while back I was in the bookstore flipping through a book called Sacred Symbols and I came across this beautiful image of a blue dragon floating in a field of red. So beautiful! I knew I would draw it.. or something inspired by it anyway. I studied the lines, gestures and posture. Then I put the book down and walked away. I didn’t even want to learn the artists name or to see that picture again until my version was finished. I like to get an idea, walk away, and let it roll around inside my mind and imagination for a while. But those colors and lines… I like a lot of old Chinese painting and prints, and liked this one in particular.

I finished my Dragon, and you can click the image at the top of this post to see a larger version. I also went back to learn who did the picture that inspired my piece. I couldn’t find the specific picture of the dragon online, so I went back and bought the book. It turns out the artist is anonymous and the original piece was painted on silk sometime in the 16th or 17th century. I took a picture of the pages with my phone (not the best quality) and you can see that by clicking here.

Apollo and Daphne

February 16, 2014
gianlorenzobernini_apolloanddaphne

Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622-1625

I think the sculpture of Apollo and Daphne by Bernini may have been the very first piece of artwork that I ever really noticed. It was the first piece to really register, if that makes sense. And I didn’t even see the sculpture in person, but watched a film that featured the sculpture in it. I’m not sure, but I imagine I must have been in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. I don’t know why I was even watching the film, but I did like reading the Greek myths especially back then.

The film portrayed the story of Daphne running away from Apollo, praying to the gods that she can somehow escape. Then it showed her skin becoming bark, branches growing from her fingers and hair, until finally she turned into a tree. Then the show ended with this sculpture. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that the piece I saw in that film was this sculpture by Bernini. I do know that seeing the transformation played out on screen really disturbed me. Or maybe that’s the wrong word… it fascinated me.

I think about it from time to time. I also have drawn a number of dryads and other plant people over the years. Maybe this is why. Even now I see dryads and human forms playing in the trees.

I’m starting to think I might want to draw a few plant people again.


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