As the new year began, I felt the old pull to embark on some new art projects. I will post updates as I work on this set more. Here are my latest artwork in progress. Keep in mind some are just begun and will change drastically before they are finished. I thought it would be interesting to post them at this early stage to see how far they change…
Thank you for stopping by to check out my latest artworks in progress. I will be posting new pictures as the work develops. Check back in to watch evolution in progress.
Today I ran an experiment on a whim. I am not sure why I had never tried it before. I was already going to print off a few posters of the Solve et Coagula design. It popped into my mind while staring at the stack of blank, grey poster paper. Why not see what happens if I try something different? Today I also made a screen print poster of my Hand of Mysteries Design with discharge.
First, I printed my Solve et Coagula design. The test was short and I only made 3 of these posters. I think I will end up offering them as a limited edition shirt combo…
It seemed an obvious enough idea since paper is made from natural fiber which is dyed. As long as the dye in the paper is reactive type which makes up most all of them, it should (and did) discharge. Neat!
I only printed one of these posters since I was really just testing to see if it worked. There may be some other source that already had this information but it seemed more fun to try it out than to Google it.
Now that I have seen that the process works, it is time to think of designs that integrate the technique in some creative ways. I will need to make a screen print poster design with some discharge elements. It shall be an interesting experiment.
The alchemical dragon has been a symbol used by mystics for ages. The most iconic of these illustrations from the Theatrum chemicum Britannicum is the two headed dragon facing the sun and moon. It comes from page 212 at the end of the chapter called Liber Patris Sapientiae.
This Robert Vaughan illustration is one of many that were commissioned for the book. In it, we have a two headed dragon with its necks entangled but heading out in opposite directions. One head faces the sun while the other faces the moon. The dragon represents the process of alchemy. Symbolically, the dragon is action – making “it” happen. His drawing is masterfully executed earning it a place amongst the greatest alchemical illustrations.
This alchemical process is an action that is influenced by the opposing forces in nature. The Sun and the moon represent the opposing forces of heating and cooling. During the alchemical process, a substance is heated and cooled many times producing evaporation and condensation.
The sphere at the bottom is the elixir it stirs. It represents the cycle of transmutation in progress. The dragon sits atop it like a mother hen on an egg. This can also be seen as the world and the alchemical process transpiring within it.
I like to ponder the idea that the universe is an alchemical experiment. The intended outcome is pretty reliable. As parts of the experiment, we have a tendency to buy into the idea that the time we live in currently is the only one that matters and that we must be the culmination of the intentions of history. This could not be so based on the evidence of the culture around us. I find it helpful to think of the world as an alchemical process that is ever changing toward a positive outcome. The alchemical dragon serves as a reminder to me.
I thought I would share the stages of progress of my most recently completed original magical grackle ink drawing. I called this piece “Looking Beyond”. Grackles are abundant in my area and I have been fascinated with these birds for a long time. The males sport flashy black feathers that shine in iridescent colors of blue and green around their heads. They have appeared to me in dreams a number of times and I always have seen them as a messenger from beyond and a sort of spirit animal. Let’s take a look at this magical drawing in progress.
This is a detail of the completed artwork:
I began with a pencil drawing which is my typical approach.
I recently purchased a new calligraphy pen for drawing. It will never look this clean again…
I commence the work by following along the original drawing for the most part but add a lot of detail as I see fit. I like the way the trees are coming a long at this stage. This new pen pleases me.
Once the pen work is done, I add in the tones with a watercolor brush.
Here is a detail of the eye at the bottom.
Here is the final magical grackle ink drawing scanned and made pretty:
Two random side notes about my experiences with grackles:
I once observed a small group of these clever guys ripping into packets of sweetener and gobbling up the powdery content at an outdoor coffee shop. The method was quite clever; nap packet from table and take it to the grass, stab beak into paper packet then open beak to make a nice sized hole, then feast on contents. On a side note, these were the worst looking grackles I had ever seen. Their shabby appliance reminded me of Gollum (artificial sweeteners turned them in to the bird equivalent of tweekers).
When I worked at ASU, I used to walk from a neighborhood across the street to avoid paying for parking on campus. The road I walked down on campus had some very large trees along the sidewalk in which grackles would nest. As I walked along that sidewalk during the spring when there were hatchlings in the nests, the males would dive bomb my head making a strange clicking sound. The first time scared the hell out of me as I did not see them coming. After a couple of times, I learned it was a better idea to walk on the opposite side of the street 🙂
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I recently completed my hand drawn “World Tree” t shirt design. Here is the behind the scenes look at the design from beginning to end.
While reading Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade, I was inspired to make a shirt design around the concept of the World Tree. The tree is an archaic concept of a life force that penetrates all levels of existence; the underworld, our mundane or physical world, and above into the heavens. This concept is present in most cultures from Siberia to the Norse traditions and are even the original basis for modern christmas trees.
To begin my work, I pulled out my antique compass which was originally my father’s. He bought the set brand new in the 1930’s. It is a work of art in its own right.
I laid out a standard five pointed pentagram as the background and added the tree in the center. Next, I added the alchemical elements around the outside. Once the pencil work was complete, I began inking with illustration pens.
The Screen print
Once the drawing was complete, it was scanned and prepared in for output onto shirts. I removed any remaining pencil marks and made the artwork a solid color for the best screen print. The image is printed large on the front of the t-shirt in a single color for a bold and unique shirt you can’t find anywhere else!
I love creating unique graphics by hand since it always results in something that is a truly unique expression. My two passions come together when I create artwork based on ideas I contemplate while studying the mysteries that intrigue me the most. I hope you enjoyed this look into my process of creating this hand drawn “World Tree” t shirt design. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions for future projects.
I also welcome discussion about the mystery schools, shamanism, magick, and spirituality 🙂
I have a pretty nifty sketchbook that I purchased while a student in Florence, Italy in 2003. I could not bring myself to draw in it for the longest time. I broke out of that a couple of years ago and now it is my go-to sketchbook where I hash out most of my ideas and studies. Here are some of the magick drawings I have been working on lately….
This is a basic experiment with in sacred geometry originally drawn with a compass and pencil. Other elements from hermetic and alchemical illustrations are added with my own personal twist of course.
I have long admired the ouroborossymbol for its deep meaning and overall aesthetic appeal. Do not be surprised to see a new design featuring the twin snakes consuming themselves in my shop in the near future.
Hand of Mysteries
This magick drawing a sort of self portrait with the hand of mysteries or philosopher’s hand but I think I lost my likeness when I inked the drawing. I expect a larger version would be more successful in capturing facial features…
Thank you for checking out my sketchbook and magick drawings! If you enjoy this sort of content, leave a comment and share this on your social media.