When one thinks of Buddhism, the thought is usually one of peaceful serenity, unless they are fans of kung fu theatre or are following some of the more violent uprisings in SE Asia currently.
What one does not usually think of is a concept of hell. Well, just like most other major religions, Buddhism has a concept of hell. Several actually, but the one todays art piece entertains a specific one. The Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
For those unfamiliar with Buddhist lore. A Hungry Ghost is basically someone who is a slave to their desires, aversions, and/or passions. More specifically it is described as both a form of reincarnation and a realm where one is constantly haunted by those sufferings until they free themselves of them by practice of the eightfold path.
The inspiration for this piece came from a Japanese interpretation of this, which was named Gaki Zoshi (Hungry Ghosts). It is a very old scroll and you can find images from it all over the internets.
I did the piece as an Inktober project in 2021, and being pen and ink it took the entire month.
This pen and ink piece is originally 18×24 on watercolor paper and prints are available through Fine Art America here.
Its been a few months since I posted anything here. I would like to say it is because I have been super busy and just haven’t had time to share.
The truth is that this is pretty typical for me.
I have still been making art…just not as intensely. I still have a bunch of art I want to share, talk about, and even sell… but I am revisiting how I want to go about that. And a bunch of other side thoughts that have nothing to do with this post.
What does have to do with this post is bright colors, skeletons, hallucinogens, water color brush pens, and bristol board.
It was fun to draw and even more fun to “research” having mushrooms on the brain.
Currently I do not have any prints of this being sold, but depending on how I move forward, that is likely to change.
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” 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
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.
This one isn’t anything special. Just a 12×9 pen and ink, colored with sharpies, a white gel, and brush pens.
I feel like I have been putting up a lot of serious stuff lately, so for my Saturday post I want to share a fun drawing I did.
This one started out just sketching an eyeball. When the orb of the eye started filling out it morphed into a beholder.
Like I mentioned in the first Dungeons and Dragons picture I posted, I could not just draw a beholder the same as they have been portrayed by everyone else. So I gave it more pronounced pincers and some tentacles to give it a floaty feel.
One of my friends pointed out that it looked like my beholder was a mutation with another DnD monster called the Eye of the Deep, which is completely fair.
Either way, this drawing is a pen and ink with watercolor brush pens for color on bristol.
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…
This piece is done with sharpies, brush pens, and of course a white gel pen.
The drawing I am posting about today is a true pen and ink, done as a full on black and white.
This is a style that I struggle with, but have always wanted to improve at (more than I was willing to work at it or I would have haha).
It also harkens back to my love of comic strips and especially the drawings of R Crumb whom I was trying really hard to channel while drawing this.
This drawing also dives head first into my exploration of old religions (a constant theme in my art), paganism, and everyone’s favorite, Pan.
It doesn’t matter if you call him Pan, Cernunnos, the Green Man, the Horned God, or Lord of the Wilds; he was of great importance to European culture before the Rise of Rome and then Christianity which of course destroyed and rooted out that culture like it has every other one it has encountered.
At any rate historical geopolitics and religious wars aside, Pan makes an interesting subject, especially when drawing in a woodland bacchanalia with a bunch of naked nymphs dancing around him.
The original of this piece belongs to a dear friend of mine and is not for sale.
You can get a high quality print of this work HERE
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.
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 Fine Art America.
If you would like to purchase a print, or check out other prints for sale, you can do so here.
One of the many attributes you will notice my work bears is that a lot of times it is very cartoony. The reason for that is simple. I love comic strips.
I love the way they look.
I love their social commentary.
I love the personality of the artists that comes through in them.
And I wish it wasn’t a dying art form. (thanks memes, way to kill your parents)
That said, the Sunday funny pages…and the weeklies, along with MAD magazine and Cracked, and comics like Groo the Wanderer; were my first muse and the first things I learned to draw. Everything I do is rooted in simple rounded shapes just like the artists in those sources.
Which brings me to the drawing I am gonna put up today.
“Socializing?” is a pen and ink piece I did after sitting in a bar and noticing that no one looked up from their phones…and this was back in 2009.
You will notice how dated it is by the fact that very few people have full screen phones. Most of them look like blackberries or the old text style phones.
At any rate, this is some of the kinds of stuff that will appear here.
So like every other nerd who likes to draw, enjoys fantasy writing, and has been known to roll a 20 sided die to see how well I performed a common action…
I will occasionally draw a Dungeons and Dragons monster or scene.
Because I do not have the talent that a real artist friend of mine refers to as “being a human xerox machine”, I do not typically even try to copy images from the Monster Manual or whatever cool compendium the kids are using these days. No, I take ideas from those, with a pinch of what I have come across in fiction, and a dash of the crazy shit that bounces around my brain and make them my own.
The image in that space that I am sharing today is a great example of that.
A great example of this is the drider. For the uninitiated, Driders are Drow elves who serve the Goddess Lolth (Demon queen of spiders). These Drow failed a test of faith to her and were transformed into half spider/half drow elves as punishment.
They are feared and hated by the drow and live solitary lives and are magical menaces that your dungeon master may torment you with anytime you spend a lengthy period in caves or dark forests.
At any rate, what makes them a good example of my bastardization of DnD monster drawings, is that they are almost always drawn as all black with white hair, with armor, and elven facial features.
I had to ditch the all black for two reasons. First, I suck at monochromatic shading. So I avoid it whenever I can. Working on improvement in the background, but I catch myself adding color to things all the time to avoid ruining an image I like. Second, spiders always have some color to them, and the cooler ones are usually super colorful. So I kept it dark, but it needed some color.
I ditched the armor because it wouldn’t fit right and frankly I think it is funny to sexualize gross and scary things. Exposing the tits on an evil and magical spider elf is totally on brand for me.
As for the facial features, elves and drow both are usually portrayed as elegant and beautiful creatures. I figure if Lolth is going to punish a drow with this level of disfigurement, she would go whole hog and give them a spider face. So I went with that.
This was done with water based brush pens, a white gel pen and it is on 9×12 bristol. I have entertained printing this for sale, but it is not going to be in the ARTbyTSOTA etsy shops grand opening. The original, like all things is for sale.