Saint Michael the Archangel

February 9, 2014 by

Archangel Michael

I went to the BYU Museum of Art down in Utah County last week. They get some good shows going through there from time to time, and I like to pay a visit when they do. I’ll probably write a bit more about it later, but I enjoyed their current exhibit called Sacred Gifts.

But first I wanted to post a picture of their painting called Saint Michael the Archangel, painted by an anonymous Spanish painter. I really like this picture but it is hard to explain why. Its a little off-kilter, and the face is sorta messed up (eyes especially), but man… I enjoy looking at it. Ha! Part-’o-the-appeal, maybe. I especially like the cloth and folds, colors, clouds, and cosmic breast-plate.

Good fun stuff!

shapingamerica.byu.edu/gallery/anonymous-spanish-colonial

Dragon (in the Face!)

February 2, 2014 by
1-Dragon-01 1-Dragon-02 1-Dragon-03

These last few weeks I’ve been doing a bit ‘o drawing. Here are some of them…

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The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Nag Hammadi Library, and Gnostic Gospels.

January 26, 2014 by

deadsea

A little over a week ago I went to the Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake to see their exhibit, the Dead Sea Scrolls. I was excited for the show but put it off until January because I wanted to avoid what I thought might be a Holiday rush. I’ve always liked learning about the history of the Scrolls and probably read my first book on them when I was still in high-school. Seems like I’ve also always been a geek about archaeology, anthropology, and art history. My interest in the Scrolls has never really faded, and since those younger days I’ve gone on and read a number of different books about the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Library, and other Gnostic Gospels. I guess I probably started with reading the work of Elaine Pagels, but then went on to read a lot more, including individual books like the Book of Enoch, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, the Gospel of Judas, The Thunder Perfect Mind,  and more. I’ve probably mentioned here on ArtDuh before that I am not religious, but there is something about this history and Gnostic teachings that really interests and speaks to me. As a general rule, these books interest me a whole lot more than scripture that was approved by the Council of Nicaea.

The show itself was put together very well and I am glad I went. I guess it’ll probably sound like a slight criticism, but there was a whole lot more pottery than there were parchments. Still, I know that the pottery itself plays a huge role in the Dead Sea Scroll’s history, because the pottery was filled with these documents and then hidden in caves. And I guess if it weren’t for that pottery the Scrolls would never have been discovered, because it was the sound of a breaking pot that attracted a shepherd’s interest after he threw a rock into one of those caves.

Maybe a little off topic, although somewhat related (at least in my own mind), but if you’re interested in this subject I would strongly recommend learning about the Nag Hammadi find as well. Both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi were discovered around the same time, but the Nag Hammadi writings were discovered inside a sealed jar in Upper Egypt in 1945. It is just so interesting to see what made it into the “official” Bible, and what what suppressed (often violently) by the Holy Roman Church. It makes me wonder why some of these beautiful apocryphal books were excluded… although I can make a good guess.

Also off topic, but I would definitely recommend that everybody become familiar with the myth of Sophia because it central to a lot of Gnostic thought. It is also one of my favorite myths. Something about the story speaks to me and is so beautiful. There are probably quite a few books written about it, but two of my favorite would be “Not In His Image” by John Lamb Lash, and also the “Corpus Gnostica” by Brent Paris. Corpus Gnostica is a modern and fictional retelling of the story, but I really liked it!

Also, if you have any interest in Gnosticism, you might like the Aeon Byte podcast.

Amen!

www.theleonardo.org

gnosis.org

Under African Skies

January 19, 2014 by

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It’s hard to believe that Paul Simon released his album “Graceland” over 25 years ago. Crazy, but true… That album has and will always be one of my favorites, just like Paul Simon will always be one of my favorite musicians.

I saw that there was a documentary called ‘Under African Skies” coming out about the making of the album a while back, and have looked for it off and on since. I’ve wanted to buy it on Amazon, iTunes and tried to find it on NetFlix. Not available (Well, I guess Amazon had this on BluRay, but I don’t have a BluRay player. If I can’t stream, I guess I don’t watch). Then this last week I saw it was on Hulu Plus. Well, I’ve never had a Hulu account, but I wanted to see the documentary and signed up.

I enjoyed the documentary and thought I’d post about it here. People who were around when that album came out probably remember the controversy that surrounded it. Back then, South Africa was in Apartheid hell, and there were all sorts of boycotts against that nation. One of those boycotts included Artists Against Apartheid, which strongly discouraged musicians from visiting, recording, or touring with South African musicians. Paul Simon seemed to think that it would be more productive to go to South Africa and record his new album “Graceland” in a South African Studio with South African musicians. Then he went on tour with those musicians in support of that album. I can see both sides of the controversy, Apartheid was an incredibly ugly thing, but I personally am glad Paul Simon chose to do what he thought was right. “Graceland” is a gem! And if you like the album, I’d definitely recommend you watch this documentary too.

www.pbs.org | preview

www.hulu.com | watch

graceland_album

Mount Nemrut

January 12, 2014 by

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Turkey-Nemrut-Dagi-world-heritage-site-statue-of-lion-SEW

Another cool ancient burial site is Mount Nemrut. This is thought to be where King Antiochus I was buried. He was a Greek King and the statues at the site show the Greek and Persian gods of his ancestors.

I love looking at photos of this site. I want to have them here on ArtDuh so I can look at them whenever I like. I find old and weathered sculptures where you can see the passage of time to be so beautiful. The sculptures from this particular site are amazing. When I look at them that line from T S Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men comes to mind…

Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

Nemrut3

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nemrut-handshaking

nemrut

Under Pressure

January 5, 2014 by
Bull1 Bull2
Bull3 Bull4
Bull5 Bull6
Roy Lichtenstein’s Bulls
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Ellen Gallagher

I saw “Under Pressure” up at the UMFA this last week, and you can see it too if you hurry. This show features prints from some pretty damn good artists like Chuck Close, Kiki Smith, and Jasper Johns. My favorites were probably Roy Lichtenstein‘s reproductions of Picasso’s Bull series… but maybe that’s because I love Picasso’s artwork best always, even if it is Lichtenstein re-imagining his work. There were also some other prints where the artist Ellen Gallagher made these cool collages and then put some sort of clay or something and paint on top of the print to add texture. A very cool effect! Oh, and Robert Indiana‘s recreation of Demuth‘s painting “I Saw The Figure 5 In Gold“. I don’t know why, but I’ve always really liked that Figure 5 painting! Something about it…

Unfortunately, I can’t say it was all good, but the good was great to see :) There were a few pieces that I really didn’t like all that much, but all in all, the good outweighed the bad for sure. Even though that is probably a shitty sales pitch, I’d still recommend the show, and you’ve still got time to see it if you head up there now!

umfa.utah.edu

Chuck Kiki
 Chuck Close Kiki Smith
Fig5 Johns
Robert Indiana Jasper Johns

The Dragon Walks The Earth

January 1, 2014 by
DragonWalksTheEarth

“The Dragon Walks The Earth” – Todd Powelson

Here is another new Dragon drawing I just finished. A new Dragon for the New Year!

Called “The Dragon Walks The Earth”, I made this on my Surface Pro using Illustrator CC. Click the pic to see a larger view :)

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2013 by

hoodedman

Happy New Year from the Wildwood!

2013 was a crazy year and time was all whack-a-doo! I can’t quite believe its been here and gone.

This card, the Hooded man / Hermit, has always reminded me of Father Time. Holding up his lamp and checking out the New Year. I’m sure he hopes 2014 is a good one for ya!

Chasing Ice

December 29, 2013 by

chasing-ice

esq-chasing-ice-120512-xlgI just watched a movie that I think everyone should see. A documentary called Chasing Ice. The film follows photographer James Balog and his team as they travel to and through the Arctic in order to capture on time-lapsed photography the effects of global warming and the glacial retreat. I heard a really good podcast interview with Balog a year or two ago (can’t remember which podcast though, dag-nabbit) and meant to see the film, but since it wasn’t out quite yet I guess I kind of forgot about it. This last week I saw it was on Netflix and I had to watch. I’m glad I did.

This may seem a little off-topic, but I don’t think so and its something I have felt for a long time… In my life I have come across two different mentalities and approaches to Nature pretty regularly that make no sense to me.

ChasingIce_filmstill2_by_James_Balog-Extreme_Ice_SurveySMThe first is an attitude that each of us are all too familiar with. That is, Nature is just a resource to be used, put up for sale, and exploited by man. The idea that Nature was created just to benefit our own materialistic greed actually does damage to me physically, psychically and spiritually. This approach, which has seeped into pretty much every aspect of our personal and civilized life, damages all of us. But not only us, it also damages every plant and animal we share this world with (wasn’t the world created for them too?). The idea that we can pollute the skies, fill the ocean with oil and plastic, tear and stab at the mountainside for coal, gas, and minerals, not to mention torture animals for their milk and meat… Hell, its obvious there are still some people who see other people that way too. As a resource to be exploited. Well, that attitude seems so ignorant I can’t even believe it. Its inevitable that there are consequences. Boggles the brain.

chasing iceThe other side of the coin is just as disturbing though. I’ve met many many people who sincerely believe that the world would be better off without human beings. Like we are not a part of this world, that we are somehow apart. But we belong here. I don’t mean that we have more rights than anything else to the air, land, and water, but just as much right to it at the very least.  Its a gift to each and every species that share this world. Sure, I also find it disgusting that we’ve exploited Nature too. This is a huge mistake. Whatever your beliefs, atheist, religious, nudist, we were created by Nature or God or Whatever to live here. We belong here. My feeling is we’re not a mistake. Even if you think it all happened by dumb luck and chance, I’m sure you’re still able to see how incredible it is that you can think that thought. And your ability to think that thought is one of Nature’s gifts to you. Whatever you believe, its plain to see we are Nature’s children and rely on Her for our existence, however our existence came to be.

I love Nature. You could even say that I am in love with Her. Whether its a cloud, a tree, a stream, a bird flying over my house, a mountain, another person’s face, or something that other person has created, I see Nature everywhere and She is beautiful (yeah, gotta capitalize Her beautiful name. Can’t be helped). If I don’t spend at least an hour or two every day with Her just walking up the canyon under some trees, I feel like I am going to go crazy.

chasing-ice-melting-glaciers-6I look at the human species as a whole almost in the same way I look at an individual person. That statement probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without some long-ass explanation, and this post is already long enough. But yeah, sometimes I see our species in the same way that I see an individual. Humanity wakes up for the first time in this strange world and looks around, learns to walk, learns to talk, tries to find its place and meaning, discovers things along the way, gets a little older, and we will eventually die. I know, as an individual, I certainly have made many mistakes in my life. Collectively, we’ve also made many mistakes along the way too. But Nature still gives us Her gifts, and I do believe we can learn from our mistakes and change.

Anyway, a bit of a tangent. You may ask what all these words have to do with the documentary. Well, I guess a good documentary makes you think.

Sometimes I think I need to be more of an activist, but I know that is not my role or calling. My job is to create, to make and share these sometimes strange pictures and ideas that fill my head. But maybe there can be a blending? Anyway, I truly appreciate that there are people like James Balog trying to open peoples eyes to the damage we’ve been causing this world. His film has helped me love Nature even more.

www.chasingice.com

ted.com

upworthy.com

chasing-ice-glacier

Merry Christmas from Joan Miro!

December 24, 2013 by

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“Merry Merry Christmas” says Joan Miro!


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