Even More Birds (In The Face!)

Bird

I started drawing these strange birds with sort-a human faces embedded into the feathers two or three years ago and have always meant to do more with the idea. Rework the drawings somehow and make them into a of flock or murder.

I’ve finally gotten back  to that, and this here bird is the first bird of that flock. I did this in Adobe Illustrator, and wanted to give the bird a woodblock kind of look. I still have more birds to do, and I probably won’t keep posting the individual birds, but I will post again one the flock is complete and flying together.

In the meant time, I hope you enjoy :)

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.

Interested in purchasing this artwork? Click here to visit my website’s shopping cart.

The Third World

"The Third World" by Todd Powelson

“The Third World” by Todd Powelson

“The Third World” is another new diptych that I just finished, a pair of digital paintings to be added to the series I’ve been working on called “Songs from the Earth“.

This piece started off completely different, with a number of sketches, and a few false starts. Initially, I imagined a crowd of people going about their business through a city-scape. But as the work progressed, that just didn’t feel quite right to me. It didn’t ring true somehow.

Instead, I decided to zoom in on these two individuals above. They are not really paying attention to what might be going on in the larger world around them, their bodies hunched over and focused on the task at hand. They might be building with the blocks or nurturing plants at their feet, which is good, but still only focused on themselves and their work.

“The Third World” is the human world.

These two digital paintings can also be purchased as high-quality canvas prints through my personal website at www.toddpowelson.com

The Second World

"The Second World" by Todd Powelson

“The Second World” by Todd Powelson

I’ve never considered myself to be a wildlife artist, even though I love being out in Nature. Not that there isn’t really a lot of good wildlife artwork out there, but making it was just never my thing. But there are plenty of really great artists out here in the west, and one of my favorite museums to visit is the Buffalo Bill Art Museum up in Cody Wyoming. And it is very very western.

I guess I’ve always been more interested in abstraction and geometry. And yet, I really enjoyed making the pictures above. This diptych. The elk, the wolves, the mountains, sky and snow. Man, they were fun to draw!

I’ve never really seen wolves out in the wild. They are incredible animals, but I have never seen one. I have encountered many elk though, and they are magnificent. I’ve come across them while hiking on Montana trails. I’ve also watched herd of elk running and buggeling through western meadows many times. Such an amazing sight.

One time, my car broke down in the middle of somewhere Wyoming late at night. Although I was miles from any mark of civilization and it’d take a while, I decided to walk back to a gas station I’d passed a bit earlier, and after walking for an hour or more I came to this crossroads. There were some bushes next to me right by the side of the road and I heard something moving around in them. Suddenly these huge antlers rose up and out of those bushes, and then the rest of the elk. Right next to me, in the dark night, under the Wyoming stars and sky.. I could have reached out and grabbed that elk’s nose! But I didn’t. We just kind of looked at each other for a second (which seemed like forever), and then I crossed the road (as calmly as I could), while it stood there watching me go. It was pretty amazing to stand so close to such a powerful animal.

Anyway, I love animals! And the Second World is the animal world.

Check it out, I have added a shopping cart to my personal website, www.toddpowelson.com. If you’re interested, you can buy a high quality canvas print of these two digital paintings there:

www.toddpowelson.com | elk-canvas-print

www.toddpowelson.com | wolves-canvas-print

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