Thursday, January 22, 2015

Progress not Perfection: Fearless and Asymmetrical Mandalas

On September 17, 2014, I began working on the first mandala of the "Fearless and Asymmetrical Mandala Series," (scroll down past today's post) using an inexpensive box of watercolor pencils made for children. My mother's mandala series was the inspiration. Below is the palette I used for Mandala #1. I was using 17 colors from the spectrum, minus the shades of brown. As I continued making mandalas, I found it frustrating that some of inexpensive pencil tips continued to break off over and over again as I used them. As a result, I was using fewer and fewer colors with each mandala I made.

Yesterday I finished Mandala #9, using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils with a completely different palette that I chose by eye from the shelves at the Dakota Art Store. However, my new palette doesn't have as many colors as the old palette, and looking at this last mandala, I want to remedy that.  

My new pencils are not watercolor pencils, and I don't need to worry about accidentally getting the paper wet and having the colors run. They aren't showing any signs of breakage either.

Here is the limited palette I used for Mandala #9:

Here's the palette in progress I'm using for Mandala #10:

I'm going to go back to the Dakota Art Store with the original watercolor pencil palette and try to duplicate it as closely as possible. May not be possible, but I'll give it a try. I loved the names of the children's pencils. The names of squirrel jacket, hedgerow, dew at 5 a.m., rabbit boots and berry pie appeal to me more than cadmium orange, viridian, light cobalt turquoise, crimson and violet.

"I had to rearrange their faces and give them all another name."

This is the longest run of works on paper that I have had since the First Gulf War began in 1990. That was when I began to experience symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorder that is the result of my experiences during the war in Vietnam. Recently I've been hearing in my mind the words that Richard wrote in the summer of 2002:

"Please take all my love and go on with your life."

It's been 45 years this month since Richard left for Vietnam and 44 years since he returned as a haunted man. For so many years, I didn't feel I could go on with my life as long as he was suffering. It's been almost 7 years since he died. It's never too late to accept his love and go on with my life. Half measures avail me nothing. What am I waiting for? Why not now? There is nothing holding me back except me.

"Question from Robert Love: And productive work is a kind of salvation in your view? To feel pride in what you do?

Answer from Bob Dylan: Absolutely."
(from the AARP interview)

I've had a upper respiratory infection with a headache for the past 11 days. My voice is still hoarse. I still cough occasionally. The sore throat has finally left, along with the headache. Haven't been able to work on my job retraining program. When I have a cold, I experience the kind of depression that used to be a part of my everyday life for years and years. Yesterday I went out to do some errands because I was feeling better. Once I was out and about, though, I realized that I'm not back to my usual relatively good health. I don't take relatively good health for granted after so many years of compromised health.

Then I came across this.

And here is a view with a surprise guest while I was making a video from my porch. I thought that I had lost this footage and was unusually philosophical about that. I've lost so many things. A second surprise was discovering the footage this morning:


Sabine said...

I really like these mandalas. Colours in a grey winter.

I have an old cigar box with polychromos pens on my desk, which have been used and replaced since my daughter was small. I got the first lot from the Faber-Castell factory shop in Franconia, at the time my grandmother was living in an old folk's home across the park from the Faber-Castell castle, which incidentally was used to accomodate the reporters and photographers during the Nuremberg trials of war criminals.
See what your post has opened up for me!

Anonymous said...

I love reading about your mandalas. It is such a wonderful project. I had wondered if your mother's mandalas inspired you. Thank you for sharing that.

Richard's words to you are the greatest gift of love.

Hope you are feeling better.

The Solitary Walker said...

This is such a beautiful post, Am. I love your mandalas.

Squirrel jacket, Hedgerow, Dew at 5 a.m., Rabbit boots! Delightful.

The only way is the way. And as I wrote this morning, quoting Jung — be true to your being.

am said...

Sabine -- Thank you. I like seeing how everything connects.

robin andrea -- Thank you for hearing Richard's words, too, and for your appreciation of these mandalas. Each day I feel a little bit better.

Robert -- As always, thank you for your encouragement.

Anonymous said...

The asymmetry in the mandalas make them fascinating to look at - you just can't help but look for the "differences"!

I had a "bug" for weeks on end not long ago, so sympathize. I try to stay upbeat through the winter but I must admit I'm looking forward to a bit of bug-free light and warmth!

am said...

sackerson -- Good to know that you appreciate what I am doing with the mandalas.

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. I'm pretty happy this time of year but not happy with the "bug." Thank you for sympathizing with the "bug." I sympathize with your wish for a change in season because that's what I feel during spring and summer