The Fifth World

"The Fifth World" - by Todd Powelson

“The Fifth World” – by Todd Powelson

I may be wrong, but I expect this digital painting might seem kinda strange to some people. With this nude dude running across the piece, and these brightly colored rainbow bodies running uncomfortably close with him… But this painting isn’t about ascension,  as the rainbow body might normally imply. Instead, this piece is showing the descent of the soul/spirit/mind down into a physical body. When I draw, I am sometimes trying to work out through my artwork an idea or philosophy that has been on mind, and this idea of our descent into matter is something I seem to return to again and again (and again!).

I struggled with this piece. I had a number of false starts, one in particular that I spent a lot of time developing, drawing… and I was pretty happy with it… but then, one day while walking, the image above just sort of floated in front of my minds eye and I knew this was it. This was a better expression for the idea, so I started over.

It is usually hard for me to talk about the artwork I make. The picture should say it all, right? Francis Bacon said, “It’s always hopeless to talk about painting – one never does anything but talk around it”. Even though I get his point, I don’t know that I believe it is completely true, so I will try to explain some of what I was thinking the best I can.

In ancient Egypt, there was the idea that the human soul was made up of five different parts. These different parts, when combined with the physical body, are what make up a human being. Now, I don’t think I was literally trying to represent this Egyptian idea, but I am bringing it up because I’m sure this concept was lurking around in the back of my mind while I was drawing. I could see an overlap with what I was creating…

… And I was creating, like I said above, a picture of the soul’s decent into matter and the physical world.

In Asia, it was/is thought there are five different elements that combine and make up everything we see. Of course, in the western tradition we typically only recognize four (earth, water, air, and fire). That missing fifth element is sometimes called wood, sometimes called life, and sometimes called spirit. I represented that spirit in the grey human form that surrounds and encompasses the other colors or “bodies”.

The other colors or “bodies” represent the more physical and classical elements… the elements which literally do create each individual physical body. Red is fire. Fire in the mind, the fire in our heart, electrical and nervous systems. And it shows an external fire too… How does that old song go? “We are stardust, billion year old carbon. Well, I guess we really are…  elements created and forged in star fire, exploded into space and eventually ending up here. The lighter blue body is the air we breathe, the air that circulates through our blood. The darker blue is water and rivers inside each of us. And the main and most obvious running body is the earth… the meat suit. What we tend to see when we look at each other. All of these combine to make us. And the body is running because that is what it’s for. It seems to me that the body is a kind of vehicle that the spirit uses to run around in.

I’m not the greatest writer I know, but that was some of what I was thinking on while I was painting. And all of that is The Fifth World.

You can buy this as a high quality 24″ x 16″ canvas print through my website by visiting

This is part of my “Songs from the Earth” series, and you can check out the rest of that series by clicking here.

Beautiful Canyon Home For Rent


San Francisco meets Jackson Hole in the heart of Salt Lake City. Located at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, this unique home is like living on an island of wilderness inside the heart of a city. Within a short walk of the new City Creek Center, this quaint cottage is filled with personality and craftsman details.

Stainless appliances and custom built in cabinetry add convenience to any lifestyle. Austrian stairs leading to a cozy loft, vintage brick floors in the dining room, and a clawfoot tub are just a few of the many charming custom characteristics of the home. This home features a pair of bedrooms, bathrooms and patios as well as a single loft, dining room and sauna. Three skylights and south facing bay windows fill your days with sunlight and the location in a tight knit community comes with friendly neighbors, as well.

  • 1800 Square Feet
  • Loft, formal dining and vaulted study
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Pets considered
  • $1,750 per month
  • Located 1.5 blocks from Memory Grove, in the heart of City Creek Canyon, and 2 blocks from the heart of downtown

This utterly unique Memory Grove home will be available July 1, 2015

123 East 4th Ave., SLC, UT.
Travel to intersection of State and N. Temple, head East. East on N. Temple, which turns to 2nd Avenue after State Street. Take immediate left on Canyon Road. Travel North to 3rd Avenue, continue straight. Travel North to 4th Avenue, turn left. Second house on North side of road. Grey with Orange door.

For more information please call or text 801-505-8223, or email

View From A Window


I like to look at these sort-a township cityscape type paintings. Especially when Marc Chagall creates them. Chagall’s painting “View From A Window” (above) is a great example of what I mean. Very nice!

Sky Goddess & Alien Sky



I’ve been coming across images of the Egyptian sky goddess Nut a lot lately (above). Even though they aren’t really looked for, I guess that it isn’t too surprising, considering what I like to read and study. I love both history and mythology. I was surprised when I came across a random image by H R Giger for the movie Alien (below) though, and It has kind of stuck with me…


The White Shaman


I’m not sure why, but these last few weeks I’ve found myself going back and back again to look at pictures of some rock art located in Texas called The White Shaman (above). I’ve never even seen the wall in person, and I forget where I learned about it, but for whatever reason I’ve been looking at it a lot.

There was a time when I’d regularly take weekend trips to check out different petroglyphs. You can find them all over the place here in Utah, and they and the regional history is fascinating. But really the only place I’ve been to in Texas is Houston…

Anyway, check it out! Lookin’ good!

The Four Seasons with Japser Johns

"Spring" by Jasper Johns, 1986

“Spring” by Jasper Johns, 1986

"Summer" by Jasper Johns, 1986

“Summer” by Jasper Johns, 1986

This week, I’ve found myself going back and visiting with the work of Jasper Johns. Specifically, “The Four Seasons” series.

I think that he began exploring the idea in the mid-80s, but Johns has revisited the Four Season idea a number of times through drawing, painting, and in print. One of my favorite things is the way the human shadow falls over the different object, implying that there is a human being standing there, but but not ever showing them directly. I really love John’s work. The textures, the symbols, and the flat fields of color.

"Fall" by Jasper Johns, 1986

“Fall” by Jasper Johns, 1986

"Winter" by Jasper Johns, 1986

“Winter” by Jasper Johns, 1986

The Vision


I’m so far behind on my comic book reading it ain’t even funny! I have kept up with the newest comic-book related TV shows like Daredevil (excellent!), and The Flash (also excellent!) along with these great Marvel movies. I haven’t quite seen it yet, but with The Avengers just being released, along with free-comic-book day and all I guess I’d just quickly post my second favorite Avenger. Thor always tops the list but, although I cannot explain why, The Vision has always taken the second spot.

Nerdy nerdy, geek out!