Soul of the Dragon

My latest piece, Soul of the Dragon, is part of Fire on the Water: Dragon Boat Art , curated by the fabulous Alea Bone of Bonewerx. Again this year, I’m excited to be part of this show featuring over 60 local artists! This show celebrates the art of dragon boat racing, and our local dragon boat races are a Portland Rose Festival tradition. The show runs through August 30, and if you’re in Portland, you can see it at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, 1111 SW Broadway.

Soul of the Dragon has a unique feature: a glowing eye with an LED light mounted behind the canvas! And when the light is dimmed, the eye shines brighter. 🙂

(UPDATE 2018- Now available in the RPS Shop)

Here it is in a slightly dimmed setting, with light turned on 🙂


Soul of the Dragon- 12″ x 12″, Acrylic on canvas © Robin Phillips Studio


In the studio, creating this piece:

As my third time participating in this show, this year I wanted to do something a little bit different that also fit in more closely with my spiritually-inspired body of work. The idea for Soul of the Dragon started out with a concept of the eye in a spiral to convey the powerful, fiery spirit of the dragon.   Honoring the theme of this show, the inner blue spirals represent waves/water and the red in the horn represents a rapid fire. The  spiral form represents movement and expansion. I placed the water in the inner circle to give a sense of a centered calmness in the eye of the storm.

I wanted the eye to be crystal clear, so I started by creating a digital sketch to define the proportions:


Next, I transferred my sketch to the canvas and began the first color layers in acrylic.



I filled in large color areas with acrylic to cover the canvas. In the top layers, I used light coats of oil to add richer detail and blending…




Finally, I added more shadow and highlights in oil to convey a rich sense of depth and drama:



At the show!



Follow RPS Facebook and Instagram as well as #dragonboatart for more pictures of the show!


(Please note my website is currently under new development, so the sidebar links and the archived posts prior to 2017 are not quite in order yet on this new blog page.)