When my knee replacement surgery was postponed a couple of weeks ago because my surgeon was in an accident, I had the time and inclination to start an art project. I decided to make my own Christmas card. A simple undertaking I assumed. I first thought of making a mandala but soon was inspired to draw a traditional Madonna and Child within the mandala format. After a few clumsy starts I came up with the design I called “The Heavenly Madonna.”
But that was just the tip of the Madonna iceberg. All kinds of image of madonnas crowded into my imagination, all clamoring for their portraits to be done. To date I have 21 in total and think there are a few more rattling around in there.
I don’t claim that these are fine art. Some of them look rather primitive or childish but there is something charming about them, an innocence of some sort. The process has been a very beneficial one for me as it has given me time for reflection while I am drawing to consider the mother and child archetypes- perhaps the most basic and important of all symbolic relationships. The one who nurtures and the one who is nurtured, a symbiotic dance of love.
It has also given me the opportunity to reflect on my own personal mother/child interactions – to consider what I have done and what I would now do differently. Also, as I age I feel myself growing into the crone role, the old grandmother. What is there to give and receive now? Who is there to nurture and be nurtured by? Who is now the child and who the mother?
Christmas is the celebration of new beginnings and more and more I am realizing that time is itself the gift we give and receive. To fully acknowledge the transiency of this life and to release my belief in any control over its duration, requires all my courage. In return, every day is a dearer and little tearful and more beautiful.
All the blessings of the season to you and yours.
To see all of the Madonnas click on this link which will take to you to my art site. https://marietaylorart.wordpress.com/new-mandalas/madonna-child/
It’s been almost two months since I last wrote a post and even then I had become rather slack in my once-a-week intention. My recent knee replacement surgery helped me to rationalize a summer hiatus and this morning after I checked email and FB, my curiosity took me to the MT Ink site.
I considered whether to just leave the site as it was – after all how much of what I have written is really that important – or should I dip my toe back into the inkwell, so to speak. It was less my desire to inform or contact others and more my need to write in itself that propelled me to this post. Writing fires up areas of my mind that art does not.
Part of my abstinence from writing has been due to my absence from the inspiration of the neighborhood park. Since last January my knees have been so bad that I have been physically unable to drive to the park, pull out the lawn chair and just sit. But this week I will not only sally forth to the park but to the local grocery store.
In any event, September is inviting thoughts of new beginnings. In December I will have the second knee replaced and I have several mandala art classes scheduled at a local senior center. Hopefully, by next fall I will be able to take a last trip back to Pennsylvania to see the beautiful Autumn-colored hills. The ‘older’ generation of my family is now gone and I am now one of the crones. It will be a time of leave-taking on many levels.
One of the beauties of aging – and perhaps the most poignant – is you must always be ready to leave. Thus each day, each activity can be filled with unexpected beauty and meaning. I am caring for my little cat as she enters her last year. She is very slow and walks with great deliberation. She is content now to watch birds from the window and does not object when a neighborhood cat comes on the patio. She purrs frequently and easily. She is at peace with herself and brings that contentment to all who are near her. What more can any of us wish for ourselves?
I haven’t posted for quite a while and haven’t been doing any writing. However, I have been doing a lot of mandala art in what I call the Folk Mandala genre. I’ve uploaded a gallery of mostly new images at the art site: https://marietaylorart.wordpress.com/new-mandalas/
As you will see I am still enamored of the romance of the mermaid and have drawn about 30 mermaid mandalas. I’ve done some research on the lore/myth surrounding these semi-aquatic creatures. Stories about mermaids and sirens are found in nearly every culture around the world. Some claim that they do not have souls and are evil creatures, who through their beauty, lure men to their doom.
Psychologically, mermaids are creatures of water, a powerful symbol of primordial life that can annihilate as well as transform. Water represents purification and regeneration. Mermaids and sirens embody these qualities also and can be symbols of both death and immortality.
“They call men to the unknown, to change and transformation, the essential passage from one space to another, from one condition to another. They serve as escorts during times of transit, danger, transformation, uncertainty, sea voyages and missions of war. Sirens call men, urging him to abandon what he is, to become something new.” (from Wikipedia: Mermaids, Sirens)
I was discussing mermaids with a friend and he perceptively stated that my obsession may be because right now I can’t walk either. In fact, for most of the last six months I have used a wheelchair to get around due to arthritis in both knees and feet. In two weeks I will have surgery to have the one of my knees replaced. It remains to be seen how this will affect my mermaid identification!
Visit my art website to view some of these latest mandalas. Thanks for your continued interest.
When I first started to blog a few years ago, I would post something at least a couple times a week. I had a lot to say and was eager to be in communication with the larger community. Fortunately, that phase passed.
I also used to go to the neighborhood park several times a week and my visits there were not only a source of renewal but the inspiration for poetry. This last year my visits have been fewer and my creativity has turned from words to pictures.
For many years I have enjoyed working in brush and ink wash on rice paper and my work has appeared in many exhibitions. This year, however, my interest has returned to the drawing of mandalas, something I first did many, many years ago when I was young and broke and could only afford felt tip pens and paper.
In the last several years my mandala art has incorporated a lot of color, a nice change from the black, white and grey of ink wash. Typically, these designs were geometric and had a purity about them. Earlier this year that all changed when I began more freehand drawing in the designs, using geometry only as an underlying foundation for composition.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wasn’t quite sure what these kind of designs might be called. For lack of any better description I’ve decided to call them Folk Mandalas. So I have been busy creating dozens of designs, some of which I have included below.
I am not a draftsman or illustrator and many have a primitive look to them. I think they might classified as decorative art rather than fine art. Designing them is a thought-free zone, bringing about a peaceful state of mind. The meditation is in the making rather than in the viewing. The medium is ink and markers on Bristol board.
Meanwhile, in the bizarre way that life works, I began teaching a small mandala class for the geometric designs. This led to an invitation from a local senior center to teach, followed by another senior center. Then the city library called and asked if I would be interested in giving a demonstration on an art day they have planned. Next week a local paper will have an article on mandalas.
Life is funny, isn’t it. Some things that you want badly and pursue, never happen; and other things that kind of poke along year after year suddenly catch fire. Go figure.
If you go to my art website, you can see a sampling of these new type of mandalas listed on the Folk Mandala page. http://MarieTaylorArt.wordpress.com. Thanks for visiting.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!
O my dove, in the clefs of the rock
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your countenance,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your countenance is lovely.
Song of Solomon 2: 10 – 14
New King James Version
Today spring officially arrived in Northern California. The point of balance is tilted towards the light. The temperatures have been mild and the trees have been blooming for several weeks. What little rain we had this year is past.
The sun is slowly making its way northward and the mornings are filled with the sounds of chirping birds. Last week I heard the honk of geese heading north and today, outside my bedroom window, I heard the cooing of two doves – that low, slightly plaintive call they have that is so beautiful and so comforting.
Spring is the time of promise and new beginnings; a time to leave the past with its mistakes behind; to forgive ourselves and others for not being perfect and moving forward; a time of trust that the worst is over and better times lie ahead; a time of hope.
“Hope is a thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
and never stops – at all –
What song is your soul singing?
The Song of Solomon is part of the Holy Scripture for both Jews and Christians. Its structure has parallels with the pastoral idylls of Theocritus (3rd C BC) and shows the influence of Mesopotamian and Egyptian love poetry. Speculation places its composition form the 10th to 2nd centuries BC. The Song makes no reference to “Law”, “Covenant” or Yahweh, nor does it explore wisdom or history. Instead it celebrates human love, although over the years this interpretation has been replaced by the analogy of love between God and his people or his church. (Summarized from Wikipedia)
This morning shortly after rising I hear Canadian geese over head on a northward course back home. I go outside and feel a strong breeze from the southwest. It rattles the new baby leaves on the trees, shakes the pink and white blossom until they are dizzy, and buffets the birds up and down so that they first skim over the treetops, then spin earthward on the current.
Near the entrance to the park two men in orange vests carry slow/stop signs to control the flow of impatient cars. The giant arm of a steam shovel breaks the asphalt to reveal the broken sewer pipe beneath. A dark, squat, smoking barrel sits on the side of the road; the thick licorice smell of tar oozes down the sidewalk and across creek and over the pond.
An old blond cocker spaniel, partly blind and hard of hearing, lifts her head to sniff the wind. Her tail is too tired to wag although a spark of light flashes in her shadowed eyes. Does she perhaps remember other springs when the distant bird was clearly seen, the field an invitation to run, the sound of her master voice a call to action. Her limitations do not interfere with her enjoyment of this day and she rambles off behind her master.
Already the little creek lies low within its banks and fishermen are far and few between. The white crane seen last spring standing in the reeds along its banks will not be here again.The short rainy season has expired and another year of water rationing is certain.
Meanwhile, high plumes shoot upward from the pond, the wind blowing the water into a mist that carries across the wide expanse of lawn where a scattering of dandelions seem to be dancing. Except for the pines whose shade is thick and still and black, the trees that line the edges of the field cast a mosaic of dappled shadows that shift in an ever-moving mass of dark and light.
Three Chihuahuas, each on a leash, meet along a path. With sharp high cries they greet each other. Three tails wag furiously as smells are offered and exchanged. Owners walk away, dogs are pulled apart; they look back and give little yips of goodbye.
Having made the long looping circuit of the park, the blond cocker spaniel returns and is carefully lifted into the back seat of the waiting car. As it drives away, she sticks her head out the back window, eyes unseeing, ears unhearing, wind blowing her curling fur. I think, there is not enough time left to have all of the dogs I want.
In how many springs will the wind blow through our hair? How many more bright days filled with the scent of fresh cut grass will intoxicate us? How many more sunsets will we see? Life is so short; love is so long,
I started a new approach with mandalas this year. The art is more representational rather than the geometric abstracts I have been doing. My cousin Vince, who is also an artist (great wildlife: see http://vincepagliaroli.vpweb.com) categorized them as Zen/Almish/New Wave/Retro. I guess that means it’s hard to say what they are! In designing them I begin with some familiar image and go from there. I love making them as it is a meditation for me that quiets my busy mind. I am not a draftsman or illustrator and they all have a primitive look to them. The medium is ink and markers on Bristol board. The colors are a little more vivid than shown. To see more examples, go to http://MarieTaylorArt.wordpress.com and click on “New Mandalas” on the top menu bar.
On the second day after the storm
that drove the rain
in slanting horizontal bands
outside the window,
all is calm.
The creek whose waters
ran up and over its banks
to touch the brim of the gully
in which it resides, is now confined
and at peace.
The trees which bowed beneath
the power of the wind,
branches kneeling in submission,
now stand straight, limbs glistening
with kisses of small green buds.
The birds which were absent
from telephone lines and trees
now emerge singing
from bushes to preen their feathers
in the watery sunshine.
Dandelions are now scattered,
like a broken necklace,
across the chartreuse grass
while the dark pines, aloof,
The sky wears pale blue
on its cheeks and now smiles lightly
at passers-by who wear hats
and walk briskly and breathe deeply
in this chill February air.
We have been forewarned,
and this morning await inches
of drought-quenching rain.
The weekend, they say,
will have little sunshine
as rivers and streams and fields
gulp down this manna from heaven.
The morning sky is sullen,
bruised with blotchy greys.
Traveling north and east,
the wind is spoiling for a fight
like a young man hopped up on beer
and cigarettes and the smiles of a sexy girl.
The spring trees sporting white and pink
blossoms, two, three, four weeks
ahead of season may be stripped
of their finery before day’s end.
The neighborhood cat who stops by each morning
for a quick breakfast has already come
and gone, his patchy grey and white coat
reflecting the sky above.
The air is damp with bone-aching coolness
as I sit near the window and look out,
heating pad alternating between knees and shoulder.
The sky grows dark, a rumble and growl
of thunder, until one, then two rain drops fall,
announcing the imminent arrival of the storm king.