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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 no for sale.
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 my etsy store in either 8×10 or 5×7.
If you would like to purchase a print, or check out other prints for sale, the shop is named ArtByTSOTA at Etsy.