Jesus Malverde

As I mentioned before I am fascinated by religion and other cultures.

The tee shirt design I am going to talk about today is legendary on both those fronts.

Jesus Malverde is a historical figure from Sinaloa Mexico born Jan 15, 1870. He was a bit of a Robin Hood character, that literally stole from the rich to give to the poor. That said, like most historical Robin Hoods, there is no evidence he ever lived, and was more likely an amalgamation of a couple other outlaws from the period and locale.

Mexico being very Catholic, very superstitious, and just as prone to making Saints of their heroes of course made him the patron saint of outlaws.

Because he was from Sinaloa, which of course is famous for its drug smuggling cartels, Mr. Malverde (also known as Jesús Juarez Mazo, Cjuba Lord, or the Angel of the Poor) was soon adopted by the smugglers and is widely regarded as the Narco-Saint.

That image is what drove the creation of my design…

Jesus Malverde TShirt.

On this shirt, Jesus Malverde is surrounded by a saints halo that is decorated with opium poppies, a laurel of marijuana flowers and leaves, and crossed sprigs of the coca bush.

You definitely want to go to my Tee Public store (Madman Designs) to buy it.

Please don’t wear at border crossings, on planes, or when travelling along what the police think are drug corridors unless you just want to be harassed by the authorities. Then again, do what you want… but be aware of the risks.

Learning in Oil

So todays image is another early oil, and this one had some good education to it.

I was struggling a lot ,which is a common theme of the entire time I was working with oil, or it was working me over, however you see it. Anyway, I was trying to learn to blend so I wanted to sketch something in black and white to get a better grasp of it.

So decided to to draw a caricature modeled after a junior high science teacher who I always perceived as being a mean old lady.

I should note here that I was a shithead pretty much from my early teens through my mid twenties, and by all other accounts she was a pretty typical Jr high science teacher that was actually leaning towards nice. But that isn’t what I was drawing.

I did decide to make the background pink to kind of demonstrate that.

So here is what ending up coming of that.

Evil Old Bag in Pink

As you can see it is not a great painting, but I still smile when I look at it. I am sure you can also see that I worked some things out with oil blending and highlights…..and left some other things to learn and develop.

This oil is on an 18×24 canvas board and is for sale. Just $50 and you pay to ship.

The FeeJee Mermaid!

You remember when I confessed to loving Bigfoot? Well there may have been more to that story. OK, there is more to that story.

I love Cryptids period.

Cryptozoology is fun. I not only enjoy it, cryptozoology and anthropomorphized animals probably make up half of my sketches. If nothing else, the two of them have a huge Venn overlap with old world religions….so they are a space I relish.

One of the most famous creatures that falls into both categories is the mermaid.

It is also one of the most frequently drawn.

But it is all too often drawn as a very attractive woman with a fish tail.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to draw tittays as much as the next guy… but there really aren’t a lot of legends where mermaids actually are fish tailed hotties.

Almost all of the seafaring stories of mermaids and sirens involves sailors hearing beautiful voices or thinking they see beautiful fish girls… only to find that it was a bunch of gnarly old hags luring them on to the rocks.

But that is a bit of digression.

One of the coolest mermaids was made famous by none other than the greatest Humbug (aka con man) of all time. P.T. Barnum.

That would be the one known as the FeeJee Mermaid. I won’t go into a ton of detail about it here, because that isn’t what this site is…and there are already tons of references online if you want to check it out.

What I will do is share a marker drawing I did of it.

Feejee Mermaid

Not a great drawing, but it sure was fun to draw…and I liked it in concept enough that I reworked it digitally and designed a Tee Shirt of it in honor of PT Barnum’s show and museum.

You of course can buy this t-shirt at my Tee Public Store.

Collective energy

Some of my most emotional paintings and drawings have very little and sometimes nothing to do with me. They are expressions of empathy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am an “empath” or some kind of weird woo woo shit. But I do believe that there is a bit of a collective energy in whatever space you are in.

During the pandemic, I think we all got caught up in a bit of an emotional feedback loop. And it was not overwhelmingly positive.

For me the key to dealing with it was expression. I found ways of burrowing into my mind and channeling whatever I found onto paper. Then end result of that was that I have been as creative in the last year as I have ever been in my life.

The mid range result of that is I created a lot of dark images.

Which brings us to todays work. I saw a lot of people pushed to the breaking point over the last year and that too found its way onto paper…

Shattered 9×12 on Bristol

This piece is done with sharpies, brush pens, and of course a white gel pen.

I have the original and it is for sale for $150.

You can also get a print of “Shattered” in 5×7 or 8×10 at my etsy store.

Painting hard feelings.

The piece I am featuring today was curative.

It let a lot of sadness out of me.

It was done right around when my father was dying, another relationship that I valued very deeply was falling apart, and another (that persevered) was greatly challenged by all of that suffering.

Like with most of the things I create, I let the feelings come out through my hand.

Artistically this one is different because I don’t do a lot of still life, nor do I do a lot of flowers. I don’t have any negative opinions about either type of painting. I just don’t like doing still life in general, and well I seldom feel like a flower is done justice in my artwork.

I do intend to challenge myself with flowers in the near term, in my personal journey I have learned to see them differently, and I am curious how that will translate through my hand.

That said, todays image is …

The Dying of the Roses

This 18×24 oil on canvas board currently hangs in my office. While it could be sold, I would have to be enticed to part with it.

Currently it reminds me how good things are, by reminding me of the darker places I have been.

If you wanted to acquire a print of it, they are available in my Etsy Shop, “Art by TSOTA” in both 5×7 and 8×10.

Another direction in my art.

The next piece I am going to talk about is the one that caused me to rethink selling my artwork.

For years I have had people telling me I should sell some prints, and I have had multiple requests to buy paintings. Since the images I create are primarily about me processing mental hardship or exorcising images from my brain, the idea never really resonated with me.

I want to draw just to draw. Besides, like most creatives I am self critical and don’t think my work is “worthy” of sale. Which is nonsense for all of us. The worst piece of art has more value than any symbol of financial wealth. Self expression may be the only thing humans do that is worthwhile.

Anyway, a while back I decided it was good enough to make some t-shirt designs….if nothing else so I could have tee shirts with stuff I wanted on them. So I made my tee public store Madman Designs.

That experience was enough to get me over the basic hump…and playing with it for a while convinced me I could do this without turning it into a job. Which is still true, so far.

Then I was talking to one of my working artist friends about a large project I want to do, and talking about the ‘how to’ of taking it on. He gave me a lot of good advice during that conversation, and part of that advice was that with my drawing style, gouache may be a good medium for me. This was especially true since gouache has unique finish that is well suited to that project.

I had never even heard of gouache, but valuing his judgement I looked into it and became interested in trying it.

So I decided to do a painting in the style of the larger project with gouache.

That painting is…

Imperturbable

Imperturbable is my attempt to mimic the style of Ukiyo-E wood block prints.

This one in particular is of a Buddhist monk, holding the jewel of enlightenment in meditation and being unfazed by the storms of life, represented by a red dragon swirling around him. Important symbolism in this image is the fact that the dragon is looking past him, as for all the chaos he creates, the dragon has no ill intent towards the monk, the two simply exist in the same space.

All thoughts worthy of spending time thinking about, in my opinion.

I intend to do many more pieces in this style, and I hope that all of them capture my vision as well as this one did.

The original of this is an 18×24 gouache painting on 300 g watercolor paper, and is for sale for $350 plus shipping for whatever method we settle on.

If you would like a print of “Imperturbable”, it is available through my etsy page, in both 5×7 and 8×10. You can also contact me directly for an 13×19 version, that I haven’t worked out how I want to ship it yet.

Imperturbable prints in 5×7, 8×10, and 13×19

It is very fitting that this was the first print I have ever sold as this work is personally representative of a new beginning for me in more than ‘just’ art.

An older oil painting

Todays image is one that I did several years ago.

Its theme is pretty simple. It is all about feeling like everything about you is being exposed to scrutiny. It doesn’t matter if you are innocent of what is being looked for or not. That invasiveness feels like a spot light.

Or at least it does to me.

The good side of that feeling is it generated an oil painting that I still like and am proud of.

Exposed to the light.

Exposed to the light is an oil on a 20×24 canvas board. I still have the original and would sell it.

In addition prints of this piece are available at my etsy store.

“Exposed to the Light” prints in 5×7 and 8×10

Momentum Parvum

Today I am going to talk about a more recent piece I did called Momentum Parvum. (Latin for a small moment)

This drawing is in the Stoic tradition of a Memento Mori which is a reminder that you will die. The purpose of this reminder is to inspire you to not waste a single moment, and to live your life to the fullest.

Momentum Parvum

This image was done using a variety of markers and watercolor brush pens on an 18×24 canvas board.

The original is hanging in my sons room (and introducing this philosophy to him through his attraction to morbid art pleases me immensely) and I don’t believe it is for sale… although it is his, so who knows.

Either way, I have made prints of this painting available at my etsy store in either 8×10 or 5×7.

Momentum Parvum prints 5×7 and 8×10. Memento Mori

If you would like to purchase a print, or check out other prints for sale, the shop is named ArtByTSOTA at Etsy.