A while back I was in the bookstore flipping through a book called Sacred Symbols and I came across this beautiful image of a blue dragon floating in a field of red. So beautiful! I knew I would draw it.. or something inspired by it anyway. I studied the lines, gestures and posture. Then I put the book down and walked away. I didn’t even want to learn the artists name or to see that picture again until my version was finished. I like to get an idea, walk away, and let it roll around inside my mind and imagination for a while. But those colors and lines… I like a lot of old Chinese painting and prints, and liked this one in particular.
I finished my Dragon, and you can click the image at the top of this post to see a larger version. I also went back to learn who did the picture that inspired my piece. I couldn’t find the specific picture of the dragon online, so I went back and bought the book. It turns out the artist is anonymous and the original piece was painted on silk sometime in the 16th or 17th century. I took a picture of the pages with my phone (not the best quality) and you can see that by clicking here.
I think the sculpture of Apollo and Daphne by Bernini may have been the very first piece of artwork that I ever really noticed. It was the first piece to really register, if that makes sense. And I didn’t even see the sculpture in person, but watched a film that featured the sculpture in it. I’m not sure, but I imagine I must have been in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. I don’t know why I was even watching the film, but I did like reading the Greek myths especially back then.
The film portrayed the story of Daphne running away from Apollo, praying to the gods that she can somehow escape. Then it showed her skin becoming bark, branches growing from her fingers and hair, until finally she turned into a tree. Then the show ended with this sculpture. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that the piece I saw in that film was this sculpture by Bernini. I do know that seeing the transformation played out on screen really disturbed me. Or maybe that’s the wrong word… it fascinated me.
I think about it from time to time. I also have drawn a number of dryads and other plant people over the years. Maybe this is why. Even now I see dryads and human forms playing in the trees.
I’m starting to think I might want to draw a few plant people again.
I went to the BYU Museum of Art down in Utah County last week. They get some good shows going through there from time to time, and I like to pay a visit when they do. I’ll probably write a bit more about it later, but I enjoyed their current exhibit called Sacred Gifts.
But first I wanted to post a picture of their painting called Saint Michael the Archangel, painted by an anonymous Spanish painter. I really like this picture but it is hard to explain why. Its a little off-kilter, and the face is sorta messed up (eyes especially), but man… I enjoy looking at it. Ha! Part-‘o-the-appeal, maybe. I especially like the cloth and folds, colors, clouds, and cosmic breast-plate.