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/
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.
Three of my pieces will be in an art show next week at a local city hall. The exhibition theme is “Nature” and this show is not juried, there is no entry fee and no 50% commission. Naturally, I liked the price. Here are the three I entered. They are smaller – about 8 x 10 unframed. Also below, I have been playing with some new designs for mandalas. These are more freeform and less abstract.
Thanks for stopping by.
I have created a small art book with the pictures I recently painted and paired them with some passages of prose and poetry. It is available for free download as a PDF. Hope you enjoy it. I am also posting this at www.sacredgate.wordpress.com so sorry if there is duplication.
The Journey Home ebook:bookpdf2
I have recently finished a cycle of painting and for the first time there is a theme to the images that were created. I call it “The Journey Home.” I am including some examples here on a separate page (see nav bar at top of this page). I am also putting together a little book with the picture series accompanied by prose and poetry; it will be available on line in a few weeks. Thanks for stopping by.
I started a new cycle of art making a couple of weeks ago, and, as usual, do not have a method or destination in mind. I try to approach the ink and watercolors and rice paper with an empty mind, just as I did when in kindergarten, not expecting any particular outcome and always a little surprised at the end.
As can be expected, there are a lot of ‘botched’ attempts with this approach, usually the result of too much rather than too little. It is really not a practice I would advocate for an artist ‘serious’ about making money or a reputation. I am painting for fun, to be surprised, to meditate, to explore.
This also puts me in mind of some pondering I have been doing regarding writing. I made my living as a commercial copywriter for many years, writing poetry, short stories and essays mainly for my own enjoyment. In the 90’s I made several concerted efforts to get some of the creative stuff published but except for a few poems nothing caught.
In my reading lately, I have noticed how many professional writers have a list of 20, 30 or even more books to their credit. Now they, my mind tells me, are the real deal, the real professionals who have dedicated their career to their craft.
So then how do I measure my output, my success or lack thereof? Am I by definition a writer simply because I write? Or, is there a measure of commitment or public acknowledgement or commercial success in which I do not meet some standard – either self-defined or societal?
As usual, I arrived at no conclusion but I was reminded how I am defining my ‘self’. I am not a writer or artist; instead, I write and I do art. I am at the age now when roles are optional and there is no need to play any. Rather than do, it is time to be. So I be writing and I be painting and I be sitting in the sun.
When this art cycle is over I will add some of the better pieces to my gallery. Meanwhile, here are a few previews.
It’s been a while since I mentioned anything about art so today I have collected the bits and pieces of the last few months. I was in five art shows from October through February and was happily surprised when I sold several pieces. I finally ordered more art paper so for the next month or two will be working on new pieces – a new change of pace from all of the writing I have been doing.
Although I am dubious about its efficacy, I have joined the Pinterest crowd and have two bulletin boards – one on ink art and one on mandalas (http://pinterest.com/marietaylorink ). I’ve read many sterling testimonials by artists saying that Pinterest is a great promoter of their art. I will keep you posted – no pun intended.
A fellow blogger discovered my art and has asked to use some examples on his website. He is a Ch’an (Chinese Buddhism) practitioner based in England. He has much to offer. To visit his site, click here: http://liberationinallplaces.weebly.com.
Finally, I will be pulling the plug on the Marie Taylor Art blog at the end of March. If you are interested in spiritual topics, poetry, reflections, sacred texts, etc. visit my other blog http://sacredgate.wordpress.com. It is a weekly posting showcasing an example of the sacred text from various spiritual traditions with a very short bio of the writer and my personal comments.
Thanks for your continuing interest and comments.
I do not write for a select minority, which means nothing to me, nor for that adulated platonic entity known as “The Masses.” Both are abstractions, so dear to the demagogue, I disbelieve in. I write for myself and for my friends, and I write to ease the passing of time.
Jorge Luis Borges, author’s note to “The Book of Sand”
Writers, artists, inventors, scientists – we all start out as beginners, amateurs, doing what we do because we love doing it so much. If we are writers we send friends copies of our little essays or books; if we are artists we give them pictures for Christmas; if we are inventors or scientists we dream that our little discovery or gizmo will benefit the world. In other words, we start ‘doing’ because we are ‘in love’ by which I mean we are creating in a state of love.
Eventually, the time may be months or years, we start to think about extending our reach, spreading our message, expanding our circle to include more than friends and acquaintances. We measure how many followers the blog has, wonder if we can sell our creative work in a gallery or bookstore, debate whether we should get a patent or partner and start a company. We enter another territory.
None of these things are wrong in themselves but they are like the big blank areas seen on old seafaring maps that read in spidery script, “Here there be dragons.” If we are not careful and alert, we can move from action taken in love to action taken by ego, from action born in creativity to action designed to please others.
In fact, it is almost inevitable that we go into this unknown territory and get lost – at least for a while. It is a very heady sensation to know that something you have done is liked by others – the more the better. And it is normal to want to continue that love affair with the greater public – nothing is sweeter than appreciation. But it is a dangerous affair in which compromises are expected.
One day you may find yourself deciding to write about something that will attract more readers or support a popular viewpoint. Your art may start reflecting the critics’ perspective rather than your own. Your inventions may be designed to please stockholders and bottom lines.
If this is where the detour ended, it might be acceptable to cater to your audiences, but more likely than not, those compromises usually twist or end your originality. The creative muse does not operate from the back seat but must drive herself. I often hear artists, in particular, talk about the muse as a woman and say that she is a hard mistress.
I believe that is true. To really access the creative well, nothing must stand in the way – not audiences, or demographics, or market trends, or stock offerings. Creative people may be criticized for being self-centered or ego-driven, of caring for more about their art form than their families, and to a certain extent that can be true – but it is the nature and the price of the gift.
I think Borges’ words are a good reminder to keep our priorities straight. We must forget our audiences, fame, money and acknowledgement for all of these things can easily pass away leaving us empty and broken. Instead we should spend our creative currency in pleasing ourselves, our friends and easing the passing of time.