Rattlesnake & Butterflies

"Rattlesnake & Butterflies" by Todd Powelson

“Rattlesnake & Butterflies” by Todd Powelson

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about serpents, how I’d been seeing them regularly, and how they’d laid eggs in my imagination that were waiting to hatch. And finally, one of those ideas was born in this new artwork.

I’d decided on how I would show the snake in my work, the basic composition and posture (I guess snakes have posture too, ha!) shown above, with it sort of looping back on itself. Then, about a week or so ago when I was out on one of my many walks, I saw this large snake crossing my path about eight feet up ahead of me. It saw me too, decided to turn around, looped back on itself, and slithered back the way it came. Basically showing me what I had been seeing in my minds eye already. I started working on this new artwork the next day.

Did I mention the butterflies in my first “Serpent” post, where I tried to describe my rattlesnake encounter? I don’t think I did, but they were there. Butterflies flying all around, above that rattlesnake in the grass. Beautiful.

This is my first piece, but I’m sure snakes will show up again in my artwork. Yep, my first of many digital-snake-drawings. But I like this artwork so much I’ve decided to put it on a t-shirt so I can wear it up in the hills and say to those snakes, “Yo! Check it out”. And, check this out, you can get one of these t-shirts too: toddpowelson.threadless.com/designs/rattlesnake-butterflies


"Rainbow Serpent"

“Rainbow Serpent”

I’ve been looking at snakes… Wanting to see snakes and how they are being used in other’s artwork. I’m sure it’s because I’ve been seeing so many on my walks outside, up in the hills. One time in particular really stands out for me, and dropped all sorts of new ideas into my imagination.

It’s been a few weeks now, but back in late May or early June, I was out a-walking along the dirt and gravel trail. While I walk I tend to scan ahead of me, but where I was walking the grass on the side of the trail can get a bit long and hard to see through. I don’t mind snakes at all, but when I hear a rattle, it can really make me jump, ya know? And I heard a rattle on my left. Of course, I moved quickly in the other direction, to my right. As I moved, I looked over my shoulder, and there it was… a rattlesnake.

You know how some moments gain weight, and seconds seem to stretch out forever? Well, I locked eyes with that snake, time seemed to stop, and we both just looked. Then, those eternal seconds passed, the rattlesnake moved off in the other direction, but I still stood watching.

I watched it move away through the grass, under a nearby tree and the dead leaves. Something about it was just so damn beautiful. What immediately came to mind as I watched was… Well, I seemed to be watching a powerful little reptile dragon. It’s brown scales standing out from the green. It’s rattle buzzing as it moved away. Amazing.

It also dropped all of these exciting new ideas for future artwork into my imagination as it left. A nice old mind bomb.

Snakes are out and about this time of year. I’d already seen a fair number of snakes in the days and weeks before, but something about this specific rattlesnake. Locking eyes with it…

And then, for the next week or so, there seemed to be snakes everywhere. I’d see them all over the place. In that week or so that followed, I came across 15-20 more snakes on my walks. Like I say, snakes are out and you’ll see them, but each of those snakes seem to be reminding me that my new ideas are important. I have to do something with them. And I will. It might take some time, I have so many things I’m working on first, but I will visit with that rattlesnake again in my artwork.

And I guess that is why I’m posting these images here. I want to see snakes, and remember… and I’ll start by collecting a little reference artwork right here.



Kitagawa Utamaro, 1788

Kitagawa Utamaro, 1788


"Snake", by Katie Scott

“Snake”, by Katie Scott




"La Sauterelle", 1942, Etching with aquatint

“La Sauterelle”, 1942, Etching with aquatint

Cool, I had never seen these insects or spider by Pablo Picasso. I’m-a going to save these right here…

"La Libelule", 1942, Etching with aquatint

“La Libelule”, 1942, Etching with aquatint


"L'Araignee", 1942, Etching with aquatint

“L’Araignee”, 1942, Etching with aquatint

Wisdom Descends

"Wisdom Descends" by Todd Powelson

“Wisdom Descends” by Todd Powelson

Down from the great light spiral She steps,

Spirits great and small follow close behind.

The digital painting (above), called “Wisdom Descends”, was a whole lot of fun to make but took me a very long time to finish. Whew, I’m so glad to see it done, and so happy with how She turned out.

This artwork is based on the old Gnostic story of Sophia. I’ll admit, the story has evolved and changed in my own mind and imagination, but its still heavily inspired by those original Gnostic thinkers.

For me, in my own personal mythology, Sophia (a.k.a. Wisdom) has come to represent the spirit and life-force of the Earth. She is the Earth, and the Earth is something Her spirit created and stepped down into. The Earth is Her material body, and Her spirit and soul sleeps and dreams us all (plants, animals, people) into being.

I know it probably sounds weird, but this is also something that makes me very happy to think about.

Visually, I wanted to focus primarily on the figure, geometry, color, and abstraction. When I started this piece, I’d planned on filling the background with a whole lot more geometry, pattern and shapes, but as I continued working I liked the idea of just leaving the background pure white. Representing the light Sophia is leaving, in favor of the earth-tones of Her material body. The sky and cloud colored fabric morphs into a celestial wing, and in the geometry of that wing you can see hints of animal (primarily bird) shapes following close behind (click the image above for a larger view).

You can buy this as a high quality 20″ x 10″ or a 40″ x 20″ canvas print through my website by visiting www.toddpowelson.com

This artwork will begin Chapter 4 of my “Songs from the Earth” series, and you can check out the rest of that series by clicking here.

Franz Marc: Horses, Deer and Animal Destiny

"The Large Blue Horses"  by Franz Marc

“The Large Blue Horses” by Franz Marc


Today I just wanted to look at some of Franz Marc‘s paintings. His horses, primarily, but also deer, fox, and animal destiny.


"The Tower Of Blue Horses" by Franz Marc

“The Tower Of Blue Horses” by Franz Marc


"Little Yellow Horses"  by Franz Marc

“Little Yellow Horses” by Franz Marc


"Blue Horses"  by Franz Marc

“Blue Horses” by Franz Marc


"The Fox"  by Franz Marc

“The Fox” by Franz Marc


"Deer In The Forest" b  by Franz Marc

“Deer In The Forest” b
by Franz Marc


"Animal Destinies: The Trees Show Their Rings, The Animals Their Veins" by Franz Marc

“Animal Destinies: The Trees Show Their Rings, The Animals Their Veins” by Franz Marc

Rams, Goat and Baboon

"Têtes de Béliers" by Pablo Picasso

“Têtes de Béliers” by Pablo Picasso

I came across this lithograph of rams (above) by Picasso earlier this week that I really like. Picasso has drawn, painted and sculpted many great pieces of art featuring animals, and I enjoy having them here on ArtDuh. I saw the sculptures of his goat and baboon (below) in person a long time ago, and wanted to see them in today’s post too. I especially love that the baboon’s head is made from a little toy car.

"She-Goat" by Pablo Picasso

“She-Goat” by Pablo Picasso

"Baboon and Young" by Pablo Picasso

“Baboon and Young” by Pablo Picasso