The Commission:

Earlier in 2017, I accepted a commission from my son, Sensei Joshua Copson, a 4th-degree black belt, to create a series of five paintings for his martial arts studio, The Blue Dragon Dojang.

The paintings embody the order in which his Oh Do Kwan students progress in their spiritual studies. The shapes are consistent with the five elements of the Gorintou – the Five Ring Pagoda.

He teaches the 5 elements in a circular pattern: Water, Earth, Void, Wind, Fire – with none being more powerful than any others but rather continually moving one into the other as they support the whole.

This is the painting for Fire.

Fire represents power, intention, endurance, passion, and the indomitable spirit. Fire teaches us to harness power, and build the endurance needed to use it.

The Fire Element is traditionally a pyramid or triangle, which results in an interesting synthesis. I have discovered from studies in other traditions that many attribute power to the pyramid when actually the form that best embodies that energy is the tetrahedron – a pyramid-like shape with a triangular base as well as triangular sides.   The tetrahedron is the most basic shape for all manifested form.

In the martial arts, to master fire is to master energy – both yours and your opponents, to beat down, push through, and overcome all that stands before you.

“Power is what you get when you dip into that well and add strength and speed to your technique.”

~Sensei Joshua Copson

The originals in the Five Elements series are 30″ x 24″ mixed media on canvas paintings hanging in the Blue Dragon Dojang in Lovingston, Virginia. But you can buy reproductions in a variety of custom formats – including framed prints, posters, tote bags, phone cases and coffee mugs – from Fine Art America.
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