Superimposed, Francis Picabia

"Mélibée" by Francis Picabia
“Mélibée” by Francis Picabia

I’ve been coming across a lot of work by Francis Picabia that I was previously unfamiliar with. I knew who he was, but had really only seen his early Dada work and mechanical/machine inspired paintings (like the first couple of images below) until recently. I liked the work I’d seen, but didn’t really pay too much attention.

Well, Picabia has a new exhibit at the MoMA called “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” and I have a whole new appreciation for his work. I haven’t been to the show in person, but I am very impressed by the reproductions of Picabia’s work that I’ve seen, and the reviews that I’ve read. I especially enjoy the work I was unfamiliar with… all of these beautiful superimposed image paintings. Love ’em!

Didn’t think I’d be posting for a little bit, but definitely wanted to save and share these images.

"Machines Turn Quickly", by Francis Picabia, 1917
“Machines Turn Quickly”, by Francis Picabia, 1917

 

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"Sphinx", by Francis Picabia
“Sphinx”, by Francis Picabia

 

"Uncana", by Francis Picabia
“Uncana”, by Francis Picabia

 

"Salome", by Francis Picabia, 1930
“Salome”, by Francis Picabia, 1930

 

"Transparence", Francis Picabia, 1932
“Transparence”, Francis Picabia, 1932

 

"The Athenaeum - Dispar", Francis Picabia
“The Athenaeum – Dispar”, Francis Picabia

 

"The Dance", Francis Picabia, 1922-24
“The Dance”, Francis Picabia, 1922-24

 

"Gemini", Francis Picabia
“Gemini”, Francis Picabia

 

"Salicis", Francis Picabia
“Salicis”, Francis Picabia

 

"The Athenaeum - Lotruli - Visage de Olga", Francis Picabia
“The Athenaeum – Lotruli – Visage de Olga”, Francis Picabia

 

"Femme Fleur", Francis Picabia
“Femme Fleur”, Francis Picabia

 

"Edulis", Francis Picabia
“Edulis”, Francis Picabia

 

"Adam and Eve", Francis Picabia
“Adam and Eve”, Francis Picabia

 

"Lodola", Francis Picabia
“Lodola”, Francis Picabia

 

"Catax", Francis Picabia,1929
“Catax”, Francis Picabia,1929

Support HawkWatch

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I recently made some owl artwork for HawkWatch International. I am pleased to say and see that it has been printed and is available for purchase on HawkWatch.org. Just in time for the Holidays! This, and the other fine HawkWatch designs, will make a great gift.

Please support HawkWatch and the important conservation/environmental work they do for our wild birds.

hawkwatch.org/support/store/apparel

Owl

"Barn Owl" by Todd Powelson
“Barn Owl” by Todd Powelson

I was asked if I’d come up with some new artwork for HawkWatch International, a raptor and environmental conservation group. I love HawkWatch and the work they do, so I said “Sure!”

Here is my new owl artwork. It’ll be screen-printed on t-shirts and other apparel, and should be available soon through HawkWatch International‘s website. I’ll post an update once it is, but in the mean time, I hope your eyes enjoy!

www.hawkwatch.org

Tolkien’s Trees and Landscapes

"The Gardens of the Merking's Palace (Roverandom)" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Gardens of the Merking’s Palace (Roverandom)” by J.R.R. Tolkien

The work of J.R.R. Tolkien has been a constant companion throughout my whole life. I discovered The Hobbit when I was 9 years old, and went on to read The Lord of the Rings soon after. My family was living in Taipei at the time, and there was this cool little bookstore just a short bus ride into the city where I was able to find the books in hardcover, which included these huge intricate fold-out maps, and had Tolkien’s beautiful artwork reproduced on the dust-covers. I also found copies of The Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion in that bookstore too, which I tried to read at the time, but they were probably beyond me…

Ever since then I go through these phases where I become obsessed with Tolkien and his work all over again. I travel to Middle-earth and stay there for a while. As an adult, I tend to focus on The Silmarillion and related titles. There is something about that book and all of the related stories that is just fascinating to me. And so beautiful…

April ’16 was one of those Tolkien themed months for me. Maybe not as intensive as usual, but the theme was still there. Although now that I think about all I read and listened to, I guess there was a whole lot of Tolkien jammed in there.

I listen to a lot of audiobooks while I work and paint, and I started April off by listening to “Tolkien and the West: Recovering the Lost Tradition of Europe” and “Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth“. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while I work, and spent a bit of time listening to the Tolkien Professor’s “Shaping of Middle-earth” series. And then finally, as the month was wrapping up, one of my favorite podcasts, Rune Soup, had a new talkin’ Tolkien episode that I enjoyed hearing.

In that Rune Soup episode, there was some discussion about the drawings and paintings that Tolkien created during his lifetime. I’d seen some of Tolkien’s artwork before, but not a whole lot. I became curious, started to explore, and now I’ve posted many of his trees and landscapes here on ArtDuh so I can see and enjoy them any old time… and you can too!

You can also find many more goodies through the link below:

www.tolkienestate.com

Geek out!

"The Forest of Lothlórien in Spring" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Forest of Lothlórien in Spring” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Wudu Wyrtum Faest (Grendel's Mere)" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Wudu Wyrtum Faest (Grendel’s Mere)” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Old Man Willow" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Old Man Willow” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Cove Near the Lizard" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Cove Near the Lizard” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Caerthilian Cove and Lion Rock" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Caerthilian Cove and Lion Rock” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Water Wind and Sand" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Water Wind and Sand” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Shores of Faëry" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Shores of Faëry” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Rivendell" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Rivendell” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"The Hills of the Morning" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Hills of the Morning” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Tree in Flower" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Tree in Flower” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Fantasy Landscape" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Fantasy Landscape” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Nargothrond" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Nargothrond” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"by J.R.R. Tolkien" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“by J.R.R. Tolkien” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Alder by a Stream" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Alder by a Stream” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"King's Norton from Bilberry Hill" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“King’s Norton from Bilberry Hill” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Foxglove Year" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Foxglove Year” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Tumble Hill, Near Lyme Regis" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Tumble Hill, Near Lyme Regis” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Flowering Tree" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Flowering Tree” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Lunar Landscape (Roverandom)" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Lunar Landscape (Roverandom)” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Man in the Moon" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Man in the Moon” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"The Cottage, Barnt Green" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Cottage, Barnt Green” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Three Trees in a Cubist Style" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Three Trees in a Cubist Style” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Moonlight on a Wood" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Moonlight on a Wood” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Bird in a Flowering Tree" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Bird in a Flowering Tree” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Abstract Design" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Abstract Design” by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Fangorn Forest" by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Fangorn Forest” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Infinite Worlds

"Infinite Worlds" by Todd Powelson
“Infinite Worlds” by Todd Powelson

I just finished the new artwork above, called “Infinite Worlds”. The basic theme of the piece is something I return to from time to time, but I am not completely sure how to write about it or explain why… I will try though.

I guess I will start by giving a little of my own personal background and how my beliefs and worldview have evolved over the years.

Although I was raised with religion, by the time I was out of high school, I had lost all faith. I lost it for a number of different reasons I am sure, reasons I won’t go into. What made sense to me at the time was a much more materialist view of the world. I believed in my meat body, what I could perceive with my physical body, and that me and the larger world were complex physical and chemical processes that had no real meaning. Creation seemed to be a kind of accident that happened through dumb luck and chance. Even so, I was still extremely curious about the world and obsessed with learning as much about science and philosophy as I could. The more I read and researched though, the more I had this nagging thought…

How do I explain this? It was evolution that started to bring glimpses of the divine and infinite back into my thoughts. Physics too I suppose, but primarily biology and evolution. In time I began to have a nagging thought, over and over, that there was some sort of sub-conscious mind running through nature, guiding the way that different species would evolve. Something guiding the way species of plants and animals would customize their descendant’s body, over time and many generations, in response to the environment. I hope this’ll make sense… For example, an individual moth’s consciousness doesn’t tell its body and wings to grow into patterns that resemble a large owl face in order to scare off predators. How does the moth even really register and know the appearance of the owl? Let alone know it well enough to change its body, change its whole species over many generations, to look like an owl? But that happens, and the moth is just one example. This happens over and over, in every species, to some degree. And yet the individual animal, its individual consciousness, isn’t controlling the process. Something larger is. Anyway, I still believe in evolution. I thinks it is a beautiful process. But I began to suspect that there was something moving through nature, what I started to think of as nature’s sub-conscious mind, doing things like changing whole species of moth to grow their bodies with owl faced wings. And then I began to realize that by thinking of it as a sub-conscious mind… well, the implication was that there would be a conscious mind running through nature too. Can you have a sub-conscious mind without also having a conscious mind?

I imagine that a materialist reading these words might believe I’m flat out wrong and have another explanation. I really don’t care though. I’ve come to know that materialism is wrong. Or, at the very least, is incomplete.

Anyway, back to my new artwork… Around the same time I was coming to these conclusions, I must have been 24 or 25, I had this dream. A very important dream that, over time, helped change my way of thinking, the way I see the world and every living thing, including myself.

In my dream I was in a large dark cave sitting in front of an urn filled with burial ashes. The lid of the urn was open. A strong wind rose and blew the ashes into my face, blowing my spirit right out of that cave with that ash. Up over the landscape, past the horizon, into the atmosphere. Eventually I saw the moon zip by, then the inner planets, and then the sun. I was moving through and past the solar system, out into deep space. I began to see larger patterns emerge while moving through the galaxy, through and beyond the Milky Way. Moving beyond galaxies and galactic clusters, I began to see this pattern slowly taking shape. Writing the dream out like this makes it seem like I must have been moving fast, but I was moving slowly through the universe. I was traveling slow, slow, slow. But eventually I was outside of it all and I could see the overall pattern and form. I could see the overall shape of the universe, and it wore a human form. It was this dark human form living in and surrounded by a bright bright white light. And I could tell that the Universe was alive and moving. It was slowly lifting itself up off of the ground, so slow its movement was imperceptible, but I knew it was alive and moving as if to stand.

Writing it down seems… I don’t know… I don’t consider myself to be that great with words. But I have returned to this dream a few times in my artwork. Trying to capture it and understand my dream a little bit better, and what it means to me.

Do I really think that this Universe wears a human form? I don’t know. What I do believe is: the Universe is alive. It’s alive, and everything in the Universe is an important part of a beautiful living system. A living and conscious Universe.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that the living Universe is a very ancient understanding. Adam Kadmon, Brahman, and so many others. Even modern science (granted, maybe not completely embraced science) can see the possibility if we consider biocentrism, the implications of Rupert Sheldrake‘s work, and even the holographic principle.

Speaking of the holographic universe… I was introduced to this concept at around the same time I had my dream. The basic idea is that the Universe is similar to a hologram, in that you can divide a hologram in two and each piece will still have all of the information contained in the original. Divide the pieces again, and still, the four pieces will contain all of the original information. Divide the hologram an infinite number of times and, yes, each piece will contain all of the original information. Its very possible the Universe works the same way. As pieces and important parts, it could be that each of us contain the whole Universe inside ourselves. You do, I do, the rocks and minerals do, the plants and trees outside, every animalevery man and woman, the earth and all other planets, the sun and stars, even that moth that looks a lot like an owl does too. It is all alive, a perfect reflection of the larger Universe.

Whew, a long post.

All of that is what I call “Infinite Worlds”.

You can buy this artwork as a high quality 24″ x 16″ canvas print over at toddpowelson.com, or by emailing me at toddpowelson (at) comcast.net .

This is part of my “Songs from the Earth” series, and you can check out the rest of that artwork by clicking here.

 

The Salt Lake City Maker Faire

This will definitely be something worth checking out!

LET’S GO TO THE FAIRE! The Salt Lake City Maker Faire is a family-friendly event on Oct. 6 at Library Square from noon-10pm. The community-organized Faire brings together science, art, technology, robotics, craft, tinkering, design, building, DIY solutions, and fun.

The Free-Range Robots, Cardboard Challenge, and Artwheels art vehicle areas on 200 East are FREE for public access. Yummy food and tasty beverages will be available on site. The presentations at the City Library auditorium are also open to the public.

Faire TICKETS get you to Library Square with cool workshops, hands-on activities, entertainment, interactive design, demonstrations, maker exhibits, The Leonardo museum, and the Faire at Night. Participating Makers and workshop schedules will be announced soon.

www.facebook.com/slcmakerfaire
slcmakerfaire.com

DC Comics and the New 52

Starting last September, DC Comics relaunched their fictional universe with 52 new issues, character redesigns, and new back stories. This is an attempt to consolidate their 75+ years of continuity and bring it into the 21st century. This is nothing new really, and both DC and Marvel comics revamp their line of characters every ten years or so. Sometimes the changes are drastic, sometimes there are minor tweaks. Even though this revamp is nothing new, I have to admit I was curious. Especially because with this revamp DC has also started to release all of their new issues to digital devices on the same day as their print issue. Going digital like this is a big deal for any industry, especially an industry that has relied primarily on more traditional distribution methods.

Anyway, I didn’t try and read each and every issue. I don’t have the time and there are some characters that I just have no interest in, no matter what DC does. All-in-all, there were probably only 10 to 15 issues out of the new 52 that caught my eye. Now that there have been a couple three issues released of each title, I can say there are maybe only four or so that I’ll continue to pick up with any regularity, and I’ve listed those below. Since the stories are starting over and characters are being reintroduced, now is a good time to give them a try.

Superman: Action Comics
I’m always surprised when I find myself actually liking a Superman story, but there really are some good ones. There is just something about the character that can get under my skin. But when he is handled right, ya can’t go wrong. One of those Superman stories that I enjoyed from years past would be Grant Morrison‘s All Star Superman. So when I heard Morrison was going to be writing this new Superman, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. It isn’t perfect, but Superman and Clark Kent are being introduced and fleshed out in an interesting way. And Lex Luthor is a true weenie, just like he should be.

Superboy
Forget being surprised by Superman… but Superboy? Really? I honestly have no idea why I even picked this one up, on a whim really. But damn, it is pretty good. This Superboy is a clone grown from a mix of Kriptonian and human DNA. A very unique approach, and handled in an unexpected way. Kind of an amoral character with god powers, which makes for an interesting story and it will definitely hold my interest if they keep it up.

Swamp Thing
I’ve written before about how much I love Alan Moore‘s run on Swamp Thing from the early 80s. Well, so far writer Scott Snyder is proving that he is able to take the series and keep the story moving forward. There are a few things that he has changed, like making Swamp Thing a human again instead of a plant that thinks he is a human, but if I complain about that I’ll feel like a goofball nerd. So I won’t complain, because it’s off to a good start. Yay, Swamp Thing!

Animal Man
I’ll bring up Grant Morrison once again, only because he did a story line on Animal Man in the late 80 and early 90s that was decent. Maybe it wasn’t as good as it could have been, but I always thought there was a lot of potential in the character. So far, this new Animal Man realizes all of that potential, and goes even further. This new series is written by Jeff LeMire (who is one of the best writers in comics today, as far as I can tell) and might be my favorite. Bizarre and creepy, but beautiful.

There are other titles that are also pretty good that I may or may not keep picking up as well. Titles like O.M.A.C., Resurrection Man (yeah, I will keep getting this one too. It’s good), All Star Western, and maybe Demon Knights. Even though I don’t buy a lot, I’m glad DC Comics made this change. Superhero comics can get stale very fast, plus this digital initiative is just what the comic book industry needed.