Mandalas Abound

I really like it when life shows me mandalas.

We went to Port Townsend last week, met some friends from Canada, and had a little get-away. Lovely company, wonderful food and wine, brisk walks all around this historic Victorian town, and an excursion to Fort Worden State Park where the movie An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed.  Nice to see a military base that is no longer in use!

We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment right in the middle of town and could walk everywhere.  What a great find!  Full kitchen, wood stove, fresh flowers on the table when we arrived, right next to a garden, tons of privacy, our own little deck that no one else could see.  I was ready to move in!

But perhaps my favorite thing was the mandala in our bedroom.  Beautiful, inspiring, uplifting.  All that a proper mandala should be.


I had to laugh when I read Anita‘s eloquent blog on Tuesday because for the past week I have been immersed in working on a Grace mandala. She captured the concept so well, while it has been quite the struggle for me to grapple with the word and all its meanings.  Mine has been in the works for several months. I had made some sketches and had written down some of my feelings about Grace. But of course, once I started to draw it, everything changed.

And there is Grace in that for sure.

So many opportunities have arisen in the last few days to challenge my ideas about it.  I have to laugh about that as well.  It seems to be the pattern.  Once I make a decision to tackle a particular word, the lessons show up all over the place.

I will be finished with it soon, and will share it here along with more of the story about making it.  I wanted to use just a small detail of it for now, but the lighting was bad, and it is late, and it all felt just a bit beyond my technical capabilities.  So for now, these are the markers and the palette that I’m using.

I was so sure

“Painting is more about a way of not knowing, and of not knowing for as long as possible while still working.  It’s not something to brag about.  But it is very important to me and crucial, I think, to making good art.”

David Reed, artist/writer

I just read the quote this morning, and it felt very powerful to me and very appropriate.  It is from an article by Reed which appeared in the September issue of Art in America.  He is summing up what he learned from his mentor, the Abstract Expressionist painter Milton Resnick.

What felt so right to me was the idea “of not knowing for as long as possible.”  Of remaining open to the process of painting itself and getting out of my own way and free from my own mind.  To not over think.  Just to paint.  To feel lost, and then found, and then lost again until the painting itself tells me that its time to stop working and start looking at what I’ve done.  And then pause until it’s time to get lost and found again.

I was so sure that I knew where I was heading after completing the paintings I did over the summer.  Now I am not sure of anything.  Even making the mandalas can be filled with a new sense of potential.  On the edge, on the verge of “not knowing.”  So delicious!!

it’s that time again

mandala sketchI am now back home after a really nice three weeks in DWG, though I did manage to bring a cold back with me.  So I’ve been resting and laying low. But yesterday I had some energy, so I began sketching out a possible design for a mandala commission that I’m just starting to work on.

Here’s the sketch I did.  I know that it doesn’t look like much now, but just wait.

And because, yes…it’s that time of year again, I will spend at least part of the day today sitting on the couch with Dennis watching football, but not necessarily listening to it. He, reading news on the computer or playing music.  Me, using the time to catch up on old issues of Bon Appetit, knit, play with baskets, or draw.

Today I will spend the time working on which colors to use for the new mandala.

Football and art!  Who would have thought?