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 Water.

Water represents the fluid, flowing things in the world. Water teaches us to flow in our movements, find the supple center of balance and become flexible in mind and body.

The sphere is symbolic of completion and the attainment of wisdom.

In the martial arts, to master water is to flow with the tides of battle, never resisting nor be resisted as you use your opponent’s energy to bring about their defeat.

“You must learn to flow from one move to the next, until you can sustain a stream of attacks and counters that seem to come without effort.”

~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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