The First World

"The First World" - by Todd Powelson

“The First World” – by Todd Powelson

I thought I’d post this new digital painting diptych today (shown above), even though it isn’t quite seasonal, and instead of green leaves and flowers I saw snow on my walk today up into the canyon by my house. I actually finished the images a month or two ago in September, but am just now sharing.

One of my very favorite things to do is to walk through the green (or gold, or white, depending on the time of year) underneath the trees. Walking up into the hills is probably one the things that helps keep me (relatively) sane. Its important to spend time out in nature. And, I love trees. I love to look up into and through their branches. I love the patterns and geometry those branches make as they reach for the sky. I love to see the patterns their roots make as they dig into the dirt. I love it all.

I’ve written a bit here recently about the Green Man and dryads, and I love them too. I’ve included their spirits into this here artwork as well.

These pieces are part of a series I have been working of for a little while called Songs from the Earth. I’ll write more about the series sometime soon, but in the mean time, you can see the progress I have made with it through the link below:

www.toddpowelson.com/songs-from-the-earth.html

A World of Potential

"World of Potential" by Todd Powelson

“World of Potential” by Todd Powelson

Everything is alive. When I walk through the world everything seems to be alive to me. I feel pretty strongly that life is the point of this grand old Universe. To create and sustain life. And all life is constantly changing, moving from one state of being into another.

I was looking at some rocks and minerals a little while ago, appreciating the beautiful abstract patterns and colors. I found myself thinking about how these minerals became the basic building blocks for other, more complex life (yes, I think minerals and rocks are alive. Different, but alive). They became organized and turned into something else. Structure became more complex and turned into something else.

I suppose that is what I was thinking about while working on my digital painting above (which is a diptych meant to be two panels). I was thinking about rocks and minerals and crystals. I was thinking about the most basic of elements. I was thinking about the most basic geometric shapes. I guess I was also thinking about how, when geometry becomes more and more complex, this also creates something new. New forms. A new potential.

Why are there sort-a human type faces in this geometry? Well, it seems to me that one of the points of life is to create mind and intelligence. And, although I believe that there are all sorts of different types of mind and consciousness out there (there is plant intelligence, animal intelligence, and a number of other types too I’m sure), since I am a person, I relate to that intelligence by giving it a human face. But I also put the faces there because everything in Nature is moving and changing into something new. The most fundamental elements eventually became us. And there we are.

www.toddpowelson.com

Western Caduceous

"Western Caduceus" by Todd Powelson

“Western Caduceus” by Todd Powelson

About a month or so ago I was walking up the canyon at dusk watching this bird fly over my head. It wasn’t long before I lost sight of that bird ‘o prey through the tree canopy, and I just kept on a-walkin’. Soon I came to the same general spot where that bird disappeared from my view. I stopped at for a second in front of a big rock and, looking down, I saw a large grey and white feather sticking up in the grass. I tend to keep feathers when I find them and, even though I don’t know if its true or not, I imagined that this feather belonged to the bird I had been watching a few minutes before. So, yeah, I picked it up and carried it back with me a few miles back down the canyon.

Two nights later I was walking along the same path and came up to the same rock. Next to that rock the trail sorta splits, and I’d never been up one of the paths before. I decided that I’d see what was up that little side trail I’d never been up, but for some reason I started to think I should throw a rock or branch up there ahead of me. This isn’t something I ever do, but the thought just kinda pop’d into my head. There was a big pile of dead branches at the head of the new trail and… I don’t know. I guess I must have sensed something, because right while I was thinking of doing that this large rattlesnake came out from under those branches and started shake-shake-shaking its tail at me. I decided not to go up that new trail after-all and turned back down the canyon.

I’ve seen many rattlesnakes over the years and they don’t bother me all that much. I mean, when you go into Utah canyons you gotta know you may come across one any old time. Not that it is too common, but its always possible. And really, its not a huge deal. But for some reason I kept thinking about that snake. And about how I was gifted with a cool feather in that same spot I saw the snake. I just kept thinking about the bird, the snake, and me… all hanging out underneath the scrub-oak trees.

The snake, the bird, and the trees all kind of merged into one image in my minds eye and became the caduceus drawing above. I kept thinking about a western caduceus and the idea would’t leave me alone.

I had a couple false starts and do-overs,  but I like where the artwork ended up. I actually finished this drawing a few weeks back, but sat on it because I wasn’t sure if it was… I don’t know. Sometimes I like to set my artwork aside for a bit and then look at it again later because that extra time might help me see things I might like to change a little more clearly.

Its a simplification, and of course I’m not the first to think it, but life really is a dream. Like any dream, there are certain creatures or encounters that seems to have extra special significance. The bird, snake and oak branches became an omen of some sort for me. Or a special symbol. I have no idea of what or why, but I do know I like them.

Speaking of dreams, I had a sleepy-time dream about the snake and bird a few nights after I saw them. The bird was flying overhead, and the snake was wrapping itself up my right arm, until its face was next to my face. I could even feel its breath on my face. It wasn’t really scary, but it was a strange dream.

Anyway, I decided to post this picture of my green man drawing below. I finished that right around the same time too…

"Green Man" by Todd Powelson

“Green Man” by Todd Powelson

Riddle of the Sphinx

EHGritaly_120305-04_(Sphinx,_Delphi_Museum)

 

It’s pretty well established that I love mythology. I also love history and follow archaeology too.

Earlier last week I came across some news out of Greece about a tomb that was discovered  dating back to 300-325 BC. The archaeologists haven’t actually gotten inside of the tomb yet, but they have cleared up to the entrance, where two giant sphinx sat guarding whomever rested inside. I’m excited to learn more as the news about this dig unfolds.

This news triggered my imagination though, because I am fascinated by ancient Greek culture, their artwork and sculpture, and I the Sphinx. I guess I should say that even though I would absolutely love to visit The Great Sphinx in Egypt someday soon, it is the mythology behind the Grecian Sphinx that inspires me the most. The stories are great, where she brings destruction and death to all of those who cannot solve her riddle.

I’ve drawn her a few times over the years, and have made a quick painting of her once or twice (which I have uploaded to the bottom of this post). Like I say though, my mind and imagination has been triggered though, so I have spent a bit of time looking through sphinx related images. And I have included some of those in this post as well.

What goes on four legs at dawn, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?

RAWR! Chomp!

www.washingtonpost.com | exceptionally-important-greek-tomb-from-era-of-alexander-the-great-discovered

www.theguardian.com | archaeologists-greece-tomb-alexander-great

uk.reuters.com | greece-tomb

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"Oedipus and the Sphinx"  by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

“Oedipus and the Sphinx” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

"Oedipus" by Gusatv Moreau

“Oedipus” by Gusatv Moreau

"Sphinx: Narcolepsy Series" by Dave McKean

“Sphinx: Narcolepsy Series” by Dave McKean

"The Chariot" - Rider / Waite Tarot

“The Chariot” – Rider / Waite Tarot

 

"Riddle" by Todd Powelson

“Riddle” by Todd Powelson

"Sphinx Drawing" by Todd Powelson

“Sphinx Drawing” by Todd Powelson

"Sphinx" by Todd Powelson

“Sphinx” by Todd Powelson

Wings Across the West

HawkWatchPostcard14-01

This last Thursday HawkWatch International held their annual event, Wings Across the West. I was hoping to get more photos of the beautiful birds but, because I arrived a little later than I’d planned, and because there were a lot of people around each bird, I was only able to get a few. I did see many more birds around the room though, including a very large Golden Eagle, a Red-tail Hawk, a Swainson Hawk, an American Kestrel, a Screech Owl, and a Great Horned Owl. I love to see birds! I walk up the surrounding canyons for a couple of hours each day and I see all kinds of birds. It always makes my day. But there is something special about standing just a few feet away from these feathered pals.

hawkwatch.org

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owl1

My Pal Loki

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My boy Loki passed away yesterday. I am not one to grieve in public, let alone online, but even though I have other things I could write about Loki is pretty much what I am thinking on. I miss him.

He was a very old boy. I got him in 1998, and he lived until yesterday, 07/12/14. So he was at least 16 when he passed away, but he was also full grown when I got him, so it is possible he was 17 or older. I took him to the vet a couple of years ago, and he told me Loki’s breed never lives past 11 or 12. He was some sort of Rottweiler mix… with maybe some Shepherd in there? Or he could have been a Lab mix too. His personality kind of reminded me of a Lab anyway.

I remember when I first met him at the SLC Humane Society we went out back to play ball. He was more interested in sniffing the perimeter of the fence than the tennis ball, but we still had fun and I knew he was my dog. When I went back to adopt him a few days later, he was so excited to see me he jumped into my lap and pee’d on my leg. Ha! Since then we’ve played hours and hours of Frisbee and fetch, spent years walking and hiking around, went on a few really good trips together, or just chilled out at home. He has been a constant companion for the whole 16 years I have had him. Like I say, I miss him so much.

Yesterday, after he passed, one of my other dogs came running up to me to say hello and get petted. I swear I saw Loki running up to me behind her too. But he wasn’t there. But he was. But he wasn’t. But deep down I really think he was.

I keep expecting to see him laying on his dog bed, but then remember he isn’t around anymore.

I don’t really talk about it, but I believe in reincarnation. Just a very strong feeling I have deep down in my heart. I guess me an a couple billion other people do, so I am in good company. Anyway, I guess I want to tell my boy Loki that I hope to see him again in this world, but if I don’t, I’ll look for him in the next.

I drew the picture of Loki (below) a couple of years ago. I know it is kinda cheesy, but I like it. To me, it shows Loki’s personality really very well. Plus, I remember that exact scene playing out. Loki jumping up all happy like that when a bird flew overhead.

I love ya Loki

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A Murder of Crows

Todd Powelson

Todd Powelson

I have been seeing a lot of crows lately. I learned a long time ago to pay attention to them. Many cultures have seen them as omens of some sort. Its never really clear whether or not the omen is good or bad. But they fly between worlds. Watching. Bringing messages. Memory and Dream. All I know is when I see one I pay attention.

About a year ago I was walking along and I saw this crow flying overhead being chased by three smaller birds. I imagine that crow got caught trying to invade the smaller bird’s nest. Those little birds chased the crow around, herding it to and from different branches, dive bombing and squeaking at it. I must have watched  them for about an hour. It seemed that way at least.

A few days ago I saw something similar again. A crow flew over my head, and then about thirty seconds later it flew over me again in the other direction being chased by a single small squeaking bird. I wasn’t able to watch their drama for long though because that little bird chased the crow out of my view pretty quickly. You tell ‘em birdie!

I think I have seen at least one or two crows everyday for the last few weeks. I like that. Yesterday I was walking along and there must have been ten or more flying around. Circling around really. A murder of crows and their carrion.

I also saw a hawk today. I liked that too.