It’s hard to serve two creative masters

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!

About dragonkatet

Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.
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25 Responses to It’s hard to serve two creative masters

  1. It is a great drawing! And you’ve served ‘this master’ more than very well! Thank you for sharing all the details Corina!

  2. That’s a wicked cool drawing. Dragons rule!

  3. Jamie Dedes says:

    Wha a fabulous drawing and equally fabulous concept. I can see why it would take a long time to complete and it would seem to me that the time was well worth it. You are so hugely talented … And I don’t think we’d have comflicts among our various creative interests if we didn’t have to have day jobs. Just a thought.

    Lovely post. Enjoyed much. And appreciated your kind comments on mine. Thank you! 🙂

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks so much, Jamie! 🙂 You know, that is a good point about having to spread out the creative energy and how it might not be so tough if that’s all we could do, instead of having to work a ‘regular’ job. To me, real success would be being able to do the creative stuff I love as my ‘regular job’. hehe. Thanks for coming by!

  4. eebrinker says:

    oh that is so beautiful … love the contrasts, bold nature of the piece. you can get the pre-cut mats and frames, and michaels used to go ahead and do the pro-framing part for a fee even if you use pre-cut. so it’s not so bad. maybe could find something like that.

    i wonder sometimes about being a “master of none” and how i’m definitely the jill of all trades. or how they say those who don’t do it, teach. mostly i believe it’s important to occupy time with something that feels constructive. sort of a work ethic, where the ‘painting’ part feels like play. unless you become a professional artist (like me) — i sort of wish i had never turned pro. now i do craft projects for that ….. oh meditation-type time.

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, E! 🙂 I especially value your input/opinion because I know you have a good, artistic eye. We used to have a Michael’s here, but Hobby Lobby drove them out of town to become the ONLY game here in town, which pretty much sucks. They’re “ok” as far as art stores go, but their prices are high as a cat’s back.

      I agree that it’s important to spend time doing something both constructive and enjoyable. Most of the time, my art is like that, but there are times when it gets to the point where I get sick of it and just want to be done with it. I don’t think I would make a very good pro artist…I don’t do well with deadline pressure, and want the freedom to take a break from it if I need to. Hmmmm I can see where some crafts would be very akin to meditation, and that’s a great release. 🙂

      • eebrinker says:

        oh it was a pain when i had to get enough pieces framed and ready for a show. i really preferred doing the comissioned work. it was a short career.

  5. Jo Bryant says:

    wow Corina…it is wonderful. I know what you mean about being caught between…I find that with my writing/photography

  6. wightrabbit says:

    Hi Corina, I saw this as soon as you posted it and have re~visited several times. The artwork is fantastic and your explanation adds to it’s power. Born in a Waterdragon year, I am a dragon fan ~ but didn’t know about Japanese Dragons and their toes, so I found that interesting. I’m also excited by the ‘figure of eight’ symbol and it’s triple significance ~ this is an image and sensation that has been coming to me lately, particularly during meditation. My energies have been scattered recently, (which is why I’ve taken so long to comment) and I’m struggling to express my creativity, in any form at the moment. I admire your talent and I’m grateful that you didn’t throw this picture in the trash ~ it inspires me on so many levels. Thank you 🙂

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline! 🙂 That is high praise, indeed. I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of infinity and of course I love dragons, too. I think it’s interesting that you have been seeing a pattern of things which come to you during meditation – I’d say pay attention to them – it’s the universe trying to tell you something! I know what it is like to struggle to do *anything* creative at times…like there is just nothing there to inspire, or like the muses are being stubbornly quiet – it can be so frustrating! In times like that I will usually take a walk – nature can be full of inspiration. Or, sometimes check out d’verse poet’s pub – they have some great ideas! This week, for example, is all about mythological creatures, the fae, etc. – right up your (and my) alley!

  7. tigerbrite says:

    I found this very interesting. I wish I could draw, yours is stunning. Love the ancient symbols incorporated.

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks much, tigerbrite. 🙂 I believe that anyone can draw, it just takes a lot of practice. I’ve been doing it for a very long time and my dragons are ‘formulaic’ in that they all look very similar (I found a style that worked and then honed it relentlessly). Thank you for coming by and I’m really glad you could relate to the symbols.

  8. I share your dilemma, dragon, but when I see your work and other posts on art it makes my fingers tingle. My paints are right next to me and screaming for attention! Lovely work.

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, Victoria. 🙂 I say if you have the itch to paint, then paint! I agree, there are so many talented people out there that sometimes all it takes is one spark to fire the imagination and muse(s).

  9. Bodhirose says:

    I was led back to my blog recently when a medical doctor commented on a poem that mentioned my mitral valve prolapse and he invited me to visit a blog by several heart doctors posting information on that heart condition as well as others. Then from there I saw a comment from you and out of curiosity came looking for you and find that you’re not blogging either. But you have a good reason…another wonderful creative outlet that you’re indulging in. Wow, Corina, you’re really good. I love your paintings and enjoyed your educational descriptions too.

    Since moving and taking care of Mira, I haven’t felt the urge to write…perhaps “real life” is filling me up. But I do wonder about my lack of interest…seems there could be room for both…right?

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, Gayle. I completely understand about ‘real life’ being more than sufficient at the moment. No, I haven’t written much lately at all – there are times I miss the writing, but just haven’t had much inspiration as of late. I think you are right, that there should be room for both…of course real life always, always supersedes the online stuff, and priorities being what they are, the creativity tends to suffer. Perhaps we are both in a period of ‘refilling the creative well’? 🙂 Hope all is well with you and that you’re enjoying every precious moment with Mira – she is growing so fast!

  10. Bodhirose says:

    Still enjoying my time with Mira…she’s 10 months old already! I spend a lot of time with my two daughters too…hadn’t had that opportunity for a lot of years…perhaps that’s filling me up. I meant to tell you what a cool touch that was to use the gold leaf on your artwork…really love that. Aren’t Moms great? I love that yours wanted to save that masterpiece and frame it for you! Enjoy yourself, Corina!

  11. c.w. grima says:

    Great work on the dragon! It appears that both of us are quite the dilettante! We can change right!? It’s not too late??

    • dragonkatet says:

      🙂 Thanks, C. It’s never too late to change – as long as you’re still breathing, you can change. But I kinda like being one of the ‘lunatic fringe’ – it sure does keep life interesting! Thanks for dropping by.

  12. This is beautiful! You do great in all!

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