“The Wish is Granted”

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“The Wish is Granted” by Vajra 2017. Acrylic on Canvas 28”x60” ~

“The Wish is Granted” by Vajra 2014-2017 Acrylic on Canvas. After almost 3 years in progress, “The Wish is Granted” is complete. Inspired by Tibetan Buddhist scroll paintings and their concept of the ‘wish fulfilling dragon’ the painting depicts a human being who has made the journey to the top of the tallest mountain as the dragon spills from the heavens handing over the wish-granting gem of the earth – his massage “You only get to make this wish once, make it count”
Many of my paintings center on our responsibility to ourselves, the planet and the creatures with whom we share it. This painting is no different. In it, the dragon literally hands over the earth to humanity, putting the weight and fate of the world into our hands. The intensity of his face conveys that the responsibility is all ours, and that we would do best to remember what is on the line. Another level of interpretation could be that the dragon is the gatekeeper of life on earth, that the human portrayed is but a soul ready for incarnation, and that this is the moment before birth after a long journey through Bardo, when the human accepts the responsibilities and mission of the life it is about to receive. My hope was that in portraying the earth as the Chintamani stone, or wish granting gem, it would be more obvious that our every thought, word and act is a wish we make that changes not just our life, but all others. This planet is our wish granting gem, may we all make better wishes.
At the time I conceived this painting I was engrossed in Tibetan Buddhist artwork and symbolism. Hence the claw of the dragon rests on Tibet in homage to the artists who inspired the vision. Similarly, I styled the rocks, clouds and the dragon (loosely) after their Tibetan artistic representations. Also incorporated is some of their ideology; for instance, even though the dragon appears wrathful, he is comprised of infinite and boundless compassion; hence his hand that grips the mountain bears the serenity of peaceful Buddha faces in the scales. Similarly, the point where the rock crumbles under his thumb could be argued as the most chaotic, destructive, or violent interaction in the painting; yet, arising from the broken mountain shards is a golden Buddha floating in meditation. This is similar to the idea represented in one of the most famous Buddhist scroll paintings: “The wheel of existence.” In this traditional Thangka, human beings are depicted in many realms of existence, from life on earth, in its good and bad forms, through death, and realms of heaven and hell that may follow. In every scene, the good and especially the most gruesome, a Buddha sits serene in a glowing nimbus representing the idea that every moment and experience, even when things are falling apart and in suffering, there lays the opportunity for wisdom, personal growth and transcendence. At times I never thought I would finish this painting, so I painted “Poco a poco” on the wall above the painting in red. Every time I felt dwarfed by the task, I would look up at the words and remember this was my mountain to climb, and that step by step I would get there. After extensive repainting and creating a model from fake fur and clay, the more repainting (haha), I finally made it to the top. I know many of you have been waiting years for me to finish this painting, if you are interested in purchasing a copy,
I have poster available for $20 and a limited edition paper print series 10”x18” and limited edition giclee prints on museum quality paper 12”x24.” Free shipping on limited edition prints, 99 available @ $222 (click here to go to the shop)
Thanks to my friends without whom this painting would not have been the same, thank you all for your inspiration, support, and believing in me as I believe in you; Luke Brown, it was an honor to start this painting next to you, you’ve always been a great source of inspiration to me, thanks for the slant-eyed Buddha tip ;) Luis Tamani, gracias hermano! Luis is a fantastic artist from the amazon, without a doubt my favorite living painter, who I met at Boom Festival in Portugal when I started this painting. Carey Thompson, thanks so much for inviting me to Boom! I started planning this painting just for that trip, so a huge thanks to you for providing the spark that got this going. Jesse Cohn and Android Jones, thank you both for hosting me in the gallery while I worked, It was a pleasure ;) Greg Craola Simkins, thank you for the major inspiration, watching you paint live inspired a new approach I took in the latter half of the painting, really enjoyed the dagger brush you gifted me, especially working the main on the dragon. Thank you Romio Shrestha and all the Buddhist monks illuminating the pages of the ‘celestial gallery series’ it was diving into the elaborate art in one of your books that I found the inspiration for this painting. And of course, James Gurney, whose books ‘Light and color for the realist artist’ and ‘imaginative realism how to paint what doesn’t exist’ were foundational in creating this painting, I couldn’t more highly recommend these two books to anyone interested in creating better art.
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Below are progress shots and photos of the model I made in preparation for the final painting
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Early Progress shot after reworking the original painting based on the model circa 2016.
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Original painting circa 2014, left much to be desired. I really rushed the beginning of this painting, not doing the early work required to make the vision how I knew it should be. The body was weak, the hands childish, I knew I had a lot of work to go and working from my imagination was a bit taxing so I made a model based on the painting pictured below, so as to bring a heightened level of realism and drama to the painting.
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Following the advice of James gurney, I built a model from wire, tinfoil, clay, fake fur and glass eyes, all coiled up, it measures about 24” long. I built a diorama, lit the scene as imagined and gained valuable insight later applied to the structure and light of the painting.