To Touch the Earth

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.

To Touch the Earth. aka Under the Bodhi Tree
To Touch the Earth

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.

Cernunnos Resting

Todays image is another more doodle type drawing.

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.

Cernunnos Resting

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.

Divine Mercy

Todays posting is fresh off the drawing desk.

“Divine Mercy” is a pen a ink drawing done with a good old fashioned fine liner sharpie, well two of them, on a 12×18 piece of 300 lb watercolor paper.

Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy

The inspiration and original planning for this image stemmed from some digital based art practice where I was playing with shadows from fire. That practice drawing never got finished.

Then in recent history, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe V Wade and my home state (Indiana) really stretched to become the Capital of Gilead by being first to enact (as a new law-not a trigger law) a near total ban on abortion.

So I ended up putting ink to paper to call ducks, ducks.

A different view of Geisha

So I am going to start off by acknowledging that Goze are not technically Geisha. They do however have two very important factors in common.

They are both women and they both make their living by entertaining men.

When I decided to broach the subject of Geisha in my series reflecting on Ukiyo-E, I did not want to do the same four or five poses and images of a half dressed beautiful woman looking over her shoulder that is prevalent in that space.

So I decided to draw a Goze instead. For those who do not know, a Goze is a blind woman who makes her living by playing music in public for tips. A Goze is basically a busker.

So I drew her sitting on the stoop of a business in a medieval Japanese town playing her Biwa.

“The Goze” Gouache on watercolor paper 18×24

You can find prints of this image or purchase the original at this page.

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 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 in my Fine Art America store. Rikyu’s Morning Glory here and Hideyoshi’s Gratitude here.

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