Yin Yang

Today I am going to share two separate gouache paintings I have recently done.

They are also Buddhist and Japanese history pieces.

The first features Toyotomi Hideyoshi; samurai, daimyo, Shogun and second great unifier of Japan. The image is from early in his rise to power.

It is said that he greatly desired to have tea at the famous tea house of Sen no Rikyu, who was also known to have one of the most beautiful morning glory gardens in all of Japan.

At first Rikyu had rebuffed him. But knowing the samurai was growing impatient, Rikyu decided to have him.

Before the day of their tea, Rikyu dug up all of his magnolia gardens and selected only one. Placing it in a simple bamboo vase in the tea room.

When Hideyoshi arrived, he was enraged that the gardens were gone. He stomped into the tea house, and was stopped cold.

The single morning glory was perfect, and upon seeing it Hideyoshi’s saw Rikyu’s mind clearly and went on to become one of the great Shoguns in Japans history.

It is titled “Rikyu’s Morning Glory”

Rikyu’s Morning Glory 18×24 Gouache

The second image is of Sen no Rikyu. He is the great tea master modern tea ceremony is based upon. He served two Shoguns as tea master and was of such great stature that he could have audience with anyone in Japan when he was alive.

The image is of him committing Seppuku on Hideyoshi’s order.

The reason is lost to history, but every version of it I have seen guessed at has been the result of ego and petty jealousy.

Hideyoshi’s Gratitude 18×24 Gouache

I am not sure how I managed to save those images at different sizes, but it is of little concern. What is important is that they are available in a couple of print sizes as a set with our Pick Two option at my etsy store (artbyTSOTA)

Yin Yang set of “Rikyu’s Morning Glory” and “Hideyoshi’s Gratitude”

Visual Koans

One of the things I like to draw, is a focus on another. That other being world religions. The focus being Buddhist art, more specifically Zen Buddhist art. It is especially true when I can do pieces based on Japanese Zen Buddhist art. Doing it in a Ukiyo-E drawing style just makes a well iced cake.

The image I am sharing today is all of that.

It is also an entirely stolen concept.

I did do Josetsu the honor of not attempting to redo his painting the way he did it. Further more, I didn’t do it in the same style.

I merely stole his Koan.

For the uninitiated, a Koan is a form of riddle in Zen Buddhism that is supposed to stimulate the potential for enlightenment when meditated upon.

This one in particular is called “Catching catfish with a gourd”, and was Josetsu’s original  suiboku  (basically Sumi) Painting was done C. 1415 .

The painting depicts a man standing by a creek and attempting to cat a catfish with a gourd (as the title suggests).

I won’t post the original image, as I do not wish to be shamed by the comparison. However, here is my original painting.

Catching a Catfish with a Gourd

In the 18×24 gouache painting the gourd represents our mind and the catfish represents enlightenment. The gourd being used for something it is clearly not suitable for. The clear implication being that our minds are not suitable for attaining enlightenment, and that it is not something that can be gained through thought.

It is certainly an idea worth tossing around in your head while trying not to think too much on anything in particular… at least until you figure out to just let go and breathe.

If you would like to own a print of this piece, it is available in my Etsy Shop (ArtbyTSOTA). The original is not currently available for sale, but it will be once I complete the larger project it is part of. If you would like to be considered when it is, send me a message.

“Catching a Catfish with a Gourd” print.

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.

Faeries and Flowers

Today I am posting another drawing that I did with brush pens. This one was kind of in response to some friends and family that were picking at me because so much of my subject matter is dark.

If you like dark things you know the words.

“Why don’t you draw anything pretty? Like flowers.”

And eventually one gets tired of trying to explain that they find beauty in all things, dark or light. Or that I just draw what strikes me. One does not control their muse, one merely follows her…enslaved by her song.

Anyway, I amused myself by thinking up a way to draw something pretty that would irk them. Because I am a petulant child.

That idea turned out to be a faery masturbating in a flower patch.

Tinkering Her Bell

“Tinkering Her Bell” was a lot of fun to draw. It’s social media response was way more positive than I expected and only offended one person (who I barely knew and decided wasn’t worthy of keys of the kingdom because of their prudish mindset. No one needs that kind of negativity).

I wish I had used watercolor paper instead of the bristol this is drawn on… but it was before I realized how much better blending down worked on watercolor paper with these pens. But the image is watercolor brush pens on bristol. I would sell it if it was wanted, but haven’t really considered it because it was just a fun drawing. 9×12

Cryptocurrency

This is a tee shirt design that truly shows my sense of humor. Historical, contrarian, mocking, and accurate.

Everywhere you look folks are talking about cryptocurrency. Somehow it is supposed to replace fiat currency….when it is another type of fiat currency.

Well technically it is, because fiat currency is government issued. But that is the only difference. It is still only a financial place marker that has value strictly because someone else says it does.

More importantly, no currency will ‘take over’ markets until the IMF backs it. This goes for: Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, Polkadot, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Chainlink, Binance Coin, Tether, Monero, Dogecoin, or any of the other 4000 or so digital currencies currently out there. The IMF will do whatever is necessary to maintain control of the world money supply.

That said, I should point out that I think block chain is amazing technology and I am happy that this tulip market is funding its research and expansion.

Speaking of tulip markets, that is the subject of the shirt and the joke I made about crypto currency.

Tulip Coin Cryptocurrency

To tell you the truth, when I came up with it I was more than a little disappointed that no one had created an actual coin under this moniker. It’s perfect.

For those that don’t understand the reference. Tulips were the original market bubble. Tulip Mania in the early 1600’s.

A combination of market forces, led by the insanity and obsessive compulsive behavior of humans; caused a market bubble of epic proportions in Holland. At its height you could literally buy homes with the flower right bulbs. It of course did what all bubbles eventually do and popped, making a mess of the economy.

The parallels aren’t 100% (some of the currencies are behaving less radically than others), but they are accurate enough to make this shirt funny as hell.

So buy one today at my Teepublic store.

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.

Early oil work

The painting I am putting up today is one of the first ten or so oils I painted.

The style is undeveloped, and I still had not (not that I ever excelled at it) learned to show depth with color and shadow.

What I did know how to do was conceptually explore my mental state and where I was at a particular time in such a way that just a glance at the image reminds me of where I had arrived.

Discarding Old Idols

This painting is emblematic of part of my personality and personal philosophy that makes most people uncomfortable. It is a traditional oil on a 16×20 stretched canvas.

At an early age I figured out (by rough experience) that the people or things you idolize and/worship are not only seldom worthy of even your adoration, let alone being placed on a pedestal; no, most of them are not even worthy of being in your life.

And once you recognize that they are not, they should be removed. In this case by pushing them far away on a space bridge and then into a giant hell furnace while the moon smiles on.

So make the moon happy, analyze your idols and get rid of the ones that don’t fit. Be careful though, it is addictive and at a certain point purging gets lonely.

Pro-tip for that- there are 9 billion people on the planet, they can’t all suck, and you don’t have to idolize them.

Sketchbook Fun

The image I am sharing today is from my sketchbook.

I was playing around with crypto critters, and thinking about the various forms that Wendigo take. From that I mixed it up with the traditional vampire… like Nosferatu instead of the mildly depressed great lover with fangs that the big screen loves so much these days.

And what I came up with was this wretched little creature.

“Nightmare”

This one isn’t anything special. Just a 12×9 pen and ink, colored with sharpies, a white gel, and brush pens.

It sure was fun to draw though.

Exploring ideas.

The painting I am posting today was done towards then end of my experiments with oil. It is a piece that is based in my personal exploration with philosophy. It is a nod to mathematical beauty, and to important art that my work does not measure up to. It hangs in my living room, and probably always will.

The image is named Vitrunacci Vortex.

Vitrunacci Vortex

Vitrunacci being a made up compound word from the roots Vitruvian and Fibonacci.

Vitruvian is a reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”. His famous study of human proportion and symmetry. This was used to represent the “everyman” and was intentionally drawn as the four major races to emphasize that.

And Fibonacci is the mathematician and the numerical sequence (which the first recorded discovery of was actually in India) that is named after him. The series is created by starting with 1, and adding the two most recent numbers together to get the next. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. That sequence is the basis for the golden ratio, or in the case of this painting the golden spiral.

The last core element is this painting is the blending and ebb and tide of the four seasons represented by red, white, blue, and yellow spirals. They symbolize life’s repeated patterns of growth, work, harvest, and death/birth/bardo (spring, summer, fall, and winter respectively). This is overlaid with the black spiral that represents one mans path through time.

So basically this painting is (one of many abstracts that) represents my view of the order of the universe, and is in a visual shorthand that is probably only useful to remind me when I am struggling to stay on my particular path.

Vitrunacci Vortex is a 4 foot by 4 foot oil on stretched canvas. I would consider selling it, but it would take a dear offer.

Another fun Tee Shirt

One of the reasons I do shirt designs, is because I think I am wittier than I really am…and I like to share what is clearly a warped sense of humor.

The one I am sharing today is proof of both, and further supports the name “The Sickest of Them All”.

When those turd movies came out remaking a show that I grew up on, an idea formed.

What if someone redid Charlies Angels with Charlie being Charles Manson?

Yeah I know, it would be horror show of psychological train wrecks and poorly executed graphic violence.

Now that I put it that way, I want the show to exist even more.

Anyway, I followed the thought to its logical conclusion and made the mash up logo of the century.

Removing the Angels guns and replacing them with knives to match the ladies that loved Charlie, then putting one of his better known images in the overlay, and adding some shitty 70’s looking blast lines. Woolah.

Charlies Angels 1969.

Charlies Angels 1969

You of course can buy this shirt in my Tee Public Store – Madman Designs, and let the world know you also have a strange sense of humor.