I recently had the opportunity to see the Melvin’s again.
As always it was an incredible show.
When I got home I started sketching King Buzzo from a stage snap I took.
Turned into a 12×18 pen and ink drawing.
Biggest personal disappointment in the drawing is that I didn’t really capture King Buzzo’s “Uncle Fester” head to body ratio, but I feel like the image captured the mood of the show so I will let it stand.
When I first completed this painting last year, I titled it “Under the Bodhi Tree” which isn’t bad…but it didn’t feel like the name or completely recognize the actual theme of the painting.
That title does a great job of representing the broader location of the story, but a lot of things happened under that famous tree.
Most of them involved other ways Gautama Siddhartha (aka Gotama, Shakyamuni, Sakkamuni) pursued enlightenment until he finally found success simply by sitting and observing his breathing as he describes in the first discourse.
This painting on the other hand symbolizes the moment that Gautama defeats Mara and becomes the Buddha.
It is taught that after Gautama attained enlightenment, Mara challenged him, declaring that he too was enlightened and should be the Buddha. To show that Gautama could be shaken, Mara sent all forms of attacks and temptations to bring Him back into attachment and suffering. Finally Mara even sent their three beautiful daughters (known as Desire, Aversion, and Passion) to tempt Him.
Gautama Siddhartha reached out his right hand and with a single finger touched the Earth, and the Earth Mother herself acknowledged His imperturbable nature by lighting the Morning Star and Gautama became the Buddha.
The painting itself is Gouache on 18×24 Watercolor paper. 140 lb. It is not in print, but the original is available to the right owner.
If you are scrolling through here, you will notice that my style is usually cartoony and simplistic.
I would like to say it is by design, and in the sense that I didn’t work to develop it otherwise is true… but in reality it is just how I see things and what my hand gives me when I try to share my thoughts with drawing.
Proof that it is not a developed skill rests in one of the ironies of my simple style.
While I love Ukiyo-E and the single brush stroke pen and ink drawings of the masters of Nippon… I have not developed the skill to replicate them. AND IT IS ENDLESSLY FRUSTRATING TO ME.
That said, lacking skill never stops and homage from me, and the one I am posting today. A simple crane against a red setting sun next to a stand of bamboo.
I post it with apologies to the masters who have done this theme so much better, but also with thanks and appreciation for showing me beauty and elegance, even if replicating it is beyond my skills.
I may do it again as a straight pen and ink, but the title is “Cernunnos Resting”, and is a portrait of the Green Man just after making his rounds to fertilize the forests.
The Horned God is depicted sitting under a tree holding his Torc in his right hand and a snake with Rams horns in his left. He is flaccid, not for impotence, but to symbolize this being after the great fertilization of spring. He is surrounded by a rat, rabbit, deer, bull, and wolf. All in them selves symbols of nature, strength and fertility.
The drawing was done with fine-liners and colored with markers. More important than the art itself in this case is that we don’t lose this symbolism (which anyone familiar with Celtic history/ruins will recognize from cave art and ancient European artifacts).
It is a reminder that Europe too had nature based religions that kept us in touch with the cycles of the earth before Rome and the Catholic Church eradicated them just like every other culture touched by them.
I don’t pretend to know the truth about what Gods there are, and how they rank and whatnot, but I have no doubt that humans and their relationship with the planet earth (and each other) will dramatically improve if we get back into rhythm with its life cycles and patterns.