Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Soft Focus

Soft Focus
7 3/4" by 7 3/4"

Today is one of those days when it all starts out soft and quiet.  The birds are just waking up now (if you listen very closely, you can hear them stretching their wings) and the light is gathering for another day.  Two of the dogs and three of the cats are curled up with me in bed, and a ceiling fan is keeping just the right amount of cool air circulating.

 Life is Good.

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Nother Mandala

Joy after the Storm
73/4" by 7 3/4"

Sorry, I have nothing brilliant to say, but I thought I would share some of my new work.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sharing a friend's wisdom

Eastern  Dragon

Many, many years ago, I was reading a home & gardens-type magazine when I saw a tiny picture on the wall of a dragon.  Now, I love dragons.  I used to collect dragons.  Not the cute ones, but the real dragons (no bias there).  Anyway, I saw this picture and I gasped.  It was beautiful!  So I clipped out the picture and took it to my studio.  I look out a large piece of paper and drew my dragon from the picture of the dragon.  Then I needlepointed it into the picture you see above.  It is about 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet, I think, maybe a tad smaller.  Cost a mint to frame.

Anyway, I thought I would share this picture with you, but what I really want to share with you is today's blog from my friend, Claire.  In it, she talks about the 12 rules for How to be a Drama Queen.  I urge you to read it, it is so worthwhile -- and accurate, too!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rescuing Mandalas

Each Mandala has its own personality.  Sometimes it’s easy to see right away, but sometimes when a Mandala is being born, it doesn’t quite seem finished.  Then you have to stop and live with it for a while before going on.  Adding just a few elements will change the whole Mandala, sometimes even leading it to whole new purposes.
Take the two Mandalas below, one at a time.
Hope   5" by 7"

This was a lovely little Mandala.  It was small, sweet and pretty, but it didn’t seem to have power or form.  It felt unfinished.  It started out as a paean to growth and health, but one detected little strength in it.
So it sat to one side until it spoke.  First, it needed Joy, so the orange was added.  Then it needed stability and depth, so the purple was added. Finally, it needed sparkle, so the lines were added. 

Hope Indeed   5" by 7"

It became an entirely different Mandala, no longer shy and modest, but outgoing and joyous.  No longer fragile, but now delicate.  It became nearly a fireworks of Joy and Hope  
    &      &     &

The next Mandala did seem finished, but it did not speak of what its gifts might be.  Using some of the same elements as the first Mandala, the two seemed far too much alike.    This Mandala needed its own identity, its own purpose. 

Thought  7" by 7"

After some time of pondering its mission, it decided to add depth and thought, along with wisdom and definition.   This took a bit of time and thought but it worked.


Now the Mandala is full and powerful, stable and watchful.   This Mandala will stabilize a meditator and give focus. 
This Mandala speaks of quiet power and resolve.

I hope this helps you see how a Mandala may evolve and grow and how its purpose is found.

Friday, July 15, 2011

ArtFire Mandalas

Apologies for letting this blog lie fallow for so long.  I have no good excuse, just that I not had energy to post.

I have, however, been working.  I have been making Mandalas and putting them up on my ArtFire account.

Mandalas are usually round and abstract patterns used in almost all major religions as an aid to Prayer and Meditation.  They considered to be a healing and centering influence.  The Hindu sand paintings, the Christian Rose Windows in majestic cathedrals, the Native American sand paintings, all are examples of Mandalas.
A Mandala is made to explore with your eyes the interplay of color, shape and design.  Mandalas also often invite the viewer to gently touch.
Mandalas fascinate me.  I get lost in them.  And I love making them.  I never plan ahead of time what a Mandala will look like, I just allow them to grow.
All my Mandalas are made with prayerful intention.  I begin in the center.  Traditionally, in the very center is a small dot, usually red.  I tend to use a crystal for the dot.  Then I work my way out, one row at a time.  After I have finished a preliminary pattern, I live with it for a while before gluing the parts in place.  Often I will change it until it seems coherent.
Mandalas have meaning.  Allow me to give an example:
The name of the Mandala above is “Strength”.  This is a smaller mandala, 4 3/4 by 6 3/4 inches.  The earth colors of the background provide grounding.  The green leaves indicate growth and health.  The pink to purple to blue petals suggest strength, intelligence and passion.  The orange leaves are for attraction of all good things.  The final ring, done in black and white, provide definition and understanding, with a touch of the frilly to help one not to take one’s self quite so seriously.
This is a Mandala for Courage and the Strength to follow through.
I try to create Mandalas that give the world energies that it needs.
Honestly, I don’t know if it does any good.  I don’t know if prayer or meditation  do any good.  Maybe Prayer just helps the prayer.  Maybe Meditation just changes the meditator. 
But sometimes, I need to pray.  Sometimes I need to meditate.  And beauty draws me in and sets my spirit soaring.  So, in that spirit I offer my Mandalas to you.
May you find peace in your world.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Adventures of Flicker-Bip.

Art Card made entirely of Polymer Clay - no paint.

Take what you like and leave the rest --- and spelling doesn't count.

Oftentimes very little is going on here, but this week has given us 'Adventures'.  Mostly, it has been about the animals.

A re-cap for those of you who may not know:  I currently live in a lovely, ancient mobile home with 7 cats, 3 dogs, and 1 roommate.  I am down to only about 1,500 (approx) books and a generous roomful of art supplies (unfortunately, they don't all fit into one room.  There is spill-over into both my room and the porch).  We have a tiny yard, a huge covered & latticed porch, and both a dog door & a cat door (2 different levels).  We are pretty happy here.

I won't go into all the things that have happened (too boring for all except the most diligent readers of blogs), but I would like to share with you the Adventures of Flicker-Bip.

On a beautiful summer morning, long before things got too hot, Paulie Paul, the gray and white kitten, decided to go for a walk.  As he prowled around the yard pretending to be a big game hunter, he happened upon a small salamander.  Curious, he poked at it.  It ran away.  Naturally, he went after it.  After a spirited game of hide and seek, Paulie Paul caught it and brought it into the house as a gift, which he deposited on my bed.  I thanked him and put the fairly non-damaged salamander outside, holding Paulie Paul and petting him, telling him what a Great Hunter he was.

Paulie Paul just loved it.  He likes to think of himself as dangerous to small things. 

Encouraged by his success, he went back out into the yard.  Later I heard him return but I was getting ready to leave so I didn't pay much attention until I heard a very scared 'peep'. 

Drat.  He brought in a bird! 

I raced to the hallway where I saw Paulie Paul looking very innocent.  I went down on hands and knees, looking for the bird.  Nothing.  I looked under and over and around.  No more sounds, and no bird to be seen.  It was hopeless.  I soon left for my appointment, hoping that the birds death would be quick.

When I returned, and friend came over and we were talking when again, I heard a 'peep'.  This time it was not totally scared, more like resigned.  I looked over and there on the bed, surrounded by three dogs and two cats, was a baby sparrow.  It looked as if all hope was gone. 

Carefully and moving slowly, I reached into the carnivore circle and lifted out the bird.  It didn't move.  It let out a very weak 'peep' and proceeded to shut its eyes so as to not see the coming death.

My friend got an eyedropper and cleaned it out.  We took coolish (but not cold) water and put it on his beak.  He was having none of it.  I knew we had to get some water into him or he would go into shock and die.  I wasn't too sure he would make it anyway, but I was hoping.  I lifted his beak up with a gentle finger and my friend tried again with the water in the eye-dropper.  He did not open his beak, but after she pulled away, he opened his beak and took in a couple of drops.  Then a little more.  There was Hope!

My friend and I discussed the possibilities for a name.  The kid was too little to tell us his name easily, so we had to help him..  My friend was sure his name was 'Bip', I kept on thinking 'Flicker', so obviously his name was 'Flicker-Bip'.

Now, Flicker-Bip was still not moving much, so I thought of where I could put him that the cats would not get him again.  I ended up putting him in a very large potted plant on the porch.  My friend and I sat down to continue talking.  After just a very few minutes, we heard a 'chirp', then an answering 'peep'.  We looked out and there was the mother sparrow!  She was hoping all over, trying to get her offspring to fly (Flicker-Bip was just barely old enough, but he could fly).  It was heartening.  We held our breath, watching him perk up and respond.

Then we saw Paulie Paul.  He jumped up on the railing and proceeded to stuff Flicker-Bip in his mouth.  I ran out, but Paulie Paul was too fast for me.  After a couple of laps around the yard, he dropped the bird under a bush and ran off.  I picked up Flicker-Bip again and re-deposited him in the plant.  Then I grabbed up Paulie Paul and got him inside.  I closed off all the dog and cat doors, then went out to gather up the remaining cats.  Everyone was inside, pressing their noses against the glass door to watch the bird.  Again the mother bird returned.  Again she started fluttering about.

Unfortunately I had other things to attend to, so I did not see the end of the story.  I do know that all my cats and dogs were inside and later that afternoon, there was no baby bird in the plant.  And my dogs did not bark as they would have if a neighbor dog or cat had invaded our space.

I like to think that Mom came back and got him.  I know that may not be the case, but I am hopeful and it could be true.  I am delighted that my cats have such soft mouths, that they can carry birds and salamanders undamaged except for being very wet.

Now, when I look out the window and see a sparrow, I wonder if it is Mom, or even Flicker-Bip.  I hope so.  I do love sparrows.

May he long fly free.