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.

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ISIS Militants Destroying Antiquities in Iraq

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We learned last week that ISIS militants were destroying ancient historical artifacts on display at the Mosul Museum in Iraq. With so much murder and war going on in the area, this is just one more horror to add to the long list.

As modern human beings, we understand the ancient past through the images, sculptures, architecture, jewelry, pottery and other art objects that were left behind. There is really nothing else we have to understand ancient people. And what was destroyed were among the most ancient of known relics. What was destroyed was not just regional history, but also our shared human history, and we’ve already lost too much of our history. Its been rewritten, slaughtered, burned, and swept under the dirty rug. We can’t afford to lose any more.

You can watch the destruction here: youtube.com

Democracy Now! ran an interesting story as well, and you can listen to that here: democracynow.org

The image shown above was not the actual piece destroyed but, from what I understand, there was a similar gigantic sculpture that was destroyed. I’ve written about other similar sculptures before, and you can read that blog post here. I just can’t believe anyone would topple and take a hammer to these.

Sickening!

Elegy to the Spanish Republic

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It occurs to me that I haven’t posted any Robert Motherwell here on ArtDuh, so I thought I’d change that. He is best known for his images/series, called “Elegy to the Spanish Republic”. It used to make me so happy to come across one of those paintings. They are enormous, start, messy and there is something about them that is very beautiful to me!

Figurative Jackson Pollock

"Portrait and a Dream" by Jackson Pollock, 1953

“Portrait and a Dream” by Jackson Pollock, 1953

I really enjoy the work of Jackson Pollock. I’ve spoken to quite a few people over the years who are kind of dismissive of it, but whatever… That’s okay, whatever floats your boat. But I like his work. The large fields of color drips, patterns and shimmering textures, I do enjoy pure abstraction.

But Pollock’s somewhat figurative work does remain among my favorites. Like these primarily black and white images that are included in this post. So beautiful!

"Number 27" by Jackson Pollock, 1951

“Number 27″ by Jackson Pollock, 1951

"Number 7" by Jackson Pollock, 1951

“Number 7″ by Jackson Pollock, 1951

"Number 5" by Jackson Pollock, 1952

“Number 5″ by Jackson Pollock, 1952

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