The title pretty much says it all. Below is one reason I haven’t been doing much writing/blogging lately. You see, I also like to draw/paint/illustrate. Hence, my “two creative masters”: writing and drawing.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”, with the idea being that you’ll only be mediocre in any profession/hobby, etc. if you spread yourself too thinly and serve too many ‘masters’. This may hold doubly true when it comes to the creative arts, assuming that we all only have a certain amount of creative energy to work with at any given time. Once that energy is expended, usually one has to “recharge” or fill up the creative well again, somehow.
You also have to consider that phenomenon where you get in the creative “zone”. Once you’re in that zone, it’s good to keep the momentum and finish whatever it is you’re working on, if you can, because as any artist/writer, etc. will tell you – if/when you come back to it later, you’re probably going to be in a different ‘head-space’ and see the work with different eyes. Usually, (not always, but usually) there will be a change or difference in styles if you work on the same piece at two different time periods. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s very distinct. But it’s true.
I started this piece years ago (that’s right, I said years) and have finally gotten around to finishing it! My hope was to have it done by last year (The Year of the Dragon). That didn’t happen, but at least it is done now.
It’s a Tatsu dragon: a Japanese dragon type (“Tatsu” is a Japanese word for “dragon”), which only has three toes. The Japanese believe that Eastern dragons originated in their native homeland and that when the dragons began to leave Japan, they gained toes. The farther the dragons went, the more toes they gained. This explains why the Chinese and Korean dragons have more toes.
There are three key elements that I wanted to incorporate into this piece: a Möbius strip twist in the dragon’s body, the Infinity symbol and the Ouroboros. I have always liked the concept of infinity, so the Möbius strip with its “infinite side” and the Infinity symbol worked well with the shape of the dragon’s body. You’ll also notice that the dragon appears to be eating his own tail – the “Ouroboros”. The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol related to the idea of the endless cycle of death and rebirth…forever, into infinity. Kind of like the legend of the Phoenix, but with a serpent (in this case, a dragon) instead.
The Kanji (the writing below the dragon) is the Japanese written sign for “dragon”.
In case you’re wondering, this is a mixed-media piece. The paper is a piece of stretched water-color paper. I normally use graphite and Prismacolor colored pencils (with waxy leads), but I used Prismacolor watercolor pencils on this one. Honestly, I don’t like the watercolor pencils. I like the look of watercolor paints, but apparently I don’t know how to use the pencils to make them give the same appearance (the result looks more like crayon to me), so I added some “extra” color with a couple of Sharpies. I can dig markers. I love the richness and vibrancy of color you can get with them. Of course, you have to be pretty sure of what you’re doing, given their permanency. The last thing I added was some gold filigree paint and gold leaf sheets for the horns and claws. Working with gold leaf sheets can be extremely tricky and this was the most frustrating part of the whole process for me. I see SO many mistakes and was “this” close to throwing the whole thing into the trash, but my mother said I should keep it and she offered to mat and frame it for me (though I still do not think it is good enough to warrant that).
Anyway, this is my latest offering to my Drawing “master”. Now maybe I can get back to writing. Either way, I enjoy the time spent serving. And THAT (in my mind) is the important thing!