Here be Dragons

I must confess it has taken a little while to get my thoughts together for this blog post as I come down from last Thursdays meeting. The Dragons challenge has been an intense one as most of us would agree, however, the level of work was astounding and outstripped all of our expectations. What was also fantastic was how many paintings had been produced. I take my hat off to how productive this Challenge group is – wonderful work everyone and I would be pleased to post up here any of the beautiful paintings.

We will start with a couple of paintings by Chris who originally set us the Challenge and quite honestly forced me to bring together as much of my Dragon documentation as I have. Thank you Chris. I have to include this painting first which I see as a metaphor for the Challenge group as we are in the process of watching the birth of painting dragons – phenomenal forces of nature. It also shows one Dragon getting their first taste of producing a fire ball, whereas the other is adept at producing smoke…

Baby Dragons emerging - Chris Gallagher 2021
Baby Dragons emerging – Chris Gallagher 2021

The next painting is a more classical painting of a regal dragon. Note the 5-claw toes and the royal colours, blue and yellow:

Blue Dragon - Chris Gallagher 2021
Blue Dragon – Chris Gallagher 2021

Next, we have a different take on a Blue Dragon. I have to say that considering this is the first time that Kim has ever painted a Dragon, and she has had no formal teaching on the subject, I think we were all really impressed with this Happy Dragon and the Calligraphy. This one is of course a Prince among Dragons – note the 4-claw toes…

Blue Dragon - Kim Ashburner 2021
Blue Dragon – Kim Ashburner 2021

Next, we come right up to date with a phenomenal painting by Claire as the Dragon emerges from the cloud with mask, sanitiser and vaccine…Claire says ” I was trying to find a different approach to painting a dragon, yet incorporating the traditional elements such as a pig’s nose, deer antlers and cow’s ears. The eyes are, however, westernised as Paul pointed out immediately. I was feeling quite frustrated at being able to do very little to combat this pesky virus so I summoned up my 2021 virus-beating dragon to help. Sometimes only painting in anger will do…”

A dragon of a year - Claire Seaton 2021
Chasing the virus – Claire Seaton 2021

As I had intimated with the previous Dragon blog posts I have been looking at very classical Dragons and especially the work of Chen Rong (1200 – 1266) of the Song Dynasty who produced probably the most recognisable Dragons in the Chinese painting Canon – The Nine Dragons. My painting below takes his work as inspiration and compresses a couple of the Dragons to produce tension. I cannot wait to have time to produce a larger piece with more Dragons…

Double Dragon - Paul Maslowski 2021
Double Dragon – Paul Maslowski 2021

Lastly, but by no means least I had to include this wonderful painting by Reg. As a fellow tai chi practitioner I always appreciate thoughtful images of tai chi practice and this fits so well with our theme:

Swimming Dragon Tai Chi - Reg Robinson 2021
Swimming Dragon Tai Chi – Reg Robinson 2021

There is no doubt that there will be more to follow and I am sure that we all invoke the Dragon to bring energy in to the Year of the Ox…

We hope you enjoy playing with Dragons and look forward to seeing further work. The Dragon blog posts linked below are:

  1. Chinese Dragon Origins
  2. Chinese Dragon claws
  3. Chinese Dragon Characteristics are available through our Painting Chinese Dragons post
  4. Chinese Dragon symbolism
  5. The Nine Dragons

Please note: The Calligraphy for Dragon, along with the other Zodiac Animals is available on the link here

Happy painting


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