Monday, September 29, 2008

fires in the fall

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, September 27, 2008

something different

mainly i like to draw while listening to spoken word pieces...lectures, sermons, books read aloud, or interview shows like npr's speaking of faith. i have a love of learning, and this method allows me to get into a zone where my mind is engaged with new or challenging thoughts and ideas, while my hands are busy translating them into shapes and colors. but on this particular day in 2006 i wanted to try something different - drawing to music - no words - just music.

i decided that i would move with the music - follow its lead - go where it wanted to go - stop where it stopped. the resulting mandala, the great eye am, is decidedly different than others i had drawn up to that point. it feels more "organic"...less structured.

sometimes in life, we want...we try "something different." try going with the music - see where it takes you...i bet it's somewhere beautiful!

Friday, September 26, 2008

the magic man in my life

the magic man in my life is my beloved husband of almost 28 years, dan wills.

he's the kindest person i have ever known...
and kindness is very high on my list of desirable traits in a human being.

this is his favorite mandala - planted by rivers of water. by his own admission, his life goes about a gazillion miles an hour at times. he says looking at this helps him slow down on the inside.

he's also a poet at heart. this one is my favorite:


I love the trees
And the way they move in the wind
The pines as they sway in the dance of the breeze
They seem to know one another
And can stand very still without talking
The sounds of the wind moving across the branches
Are the nods and voices of approving friends

They are like a congregation
A group of members together in harmony
All in one place for a long time
Separated only by the space needed to grow

-Dan Wills

Thursday, September 25, 2008

get into the groove

a year or so ago, i happened upon the amazing mandalas created by christine claringbold that she paints on old records. recently, i was at a library book sale and found a box of old 33's and thought i'd give it a whirl.
get into the groove is my first mandala done in this fashion. i discovered that i actually LOVE using this approach. it's fun working on something that is already round, while giving a nod to the whole recycling thing.
i was so pleased with the result that i went to the goodwill store yesterday and stocked up on more albums to use as my canvas. i even found an old 78 - which i was thrilled to discover in the mix.
be on the lookout for more of these babies...i'm totally in the groove!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

begin with stillness

wind dancer

begin with stillness...those words caught my eye yesterday, and sank deeply into my psyche. that's how i feel each time i begin a new mandala...i find the center point...the still point. i begin with stillness. everything flows from there.

stillness...your world could be going to hell in a handbasket, whirling - spinning - out of control, and yet you can still right yourself, find your center, "begin with stillness" in the midst of it all.

that's the magic of the mandala - to draw a circle - a boundary - a buffer between you and everything not you.

to find the center...your drop down deep inside yourself to where everything is calm and peaceful...and still...and go from there.

begin with stillness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

how long did that take you?

peace like a river

the top question i get asked when people see my mandalas is, "how long did that take you?" and the most common comment after that is..."you must have a lot of patience."

the question can be answered in one of two ways. in reality, it has taken me about 40 years! i try not to "go there" because most folks really don't want to know all that's kind of like when we southerners ask, "how are you?" all we usually really want to hear is "fine! and you?"

so i generally just tell them what they want to know - depending on the size and medium, a mandala can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to create.

as for the comment, "you must have a lot of patience to do that." - it took me awhile to figure out what bothered me about hearing that. because i don't think i have more patience than anybody else, and patience isn't what i'm thinking about as i'm drawing or painting. what i'm usually thinking is...i love what i do!

the answer hit me one day in sunday school when someone was reading aloud the passage from I corinthians 13 (the love chapter). "love is patient..." love is patient! that was it! i love what i of course i have patience.

this flash of insight has given me new eyes to see, not only what i do, in a different light, but also what others do. i realized how often i have said the same thing to others - "boy, you must have a lot of patience." now i know, no, they have a lot of love.

Monday, September 22, 2008

the rest of the story...

genesis - my first mandala
i've always had very vivid dreams. i can remember dreams i've had since i was about 4 years old.

back in 2004, i saw an article in the paper about a local dream group and an upcoming conference on dream work to be held at st. james episcopal church. it piqued my interest big time, so i signed up.

the conference was put on by a group called journey into wholeness. turns out, it was not so much about dreams per se, as it was a crash course on carl jung - kind of a jung 101.

i felt as though i'd been thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool. i absorbed as much of the information as i could, and learned, among many other things, that carl jung started each day drawing a simple mandala - his way of "just dropping in to see what condition his condition was in."

fast forward a year - a group of friends and i decided to read the book, the artist's way by julia cameron, together. i was still groping for my creative outlet when i remembered jung's practice of drawing a mandala, and thought to myself, "well, at least i could draw a circle."
genesis was the result, and it was as if the floodgates opened and all the color i had bottle up inside came pouring out. or as my husband describes it: "it was like somebody shook up a bottle of champagne and then popped the cork."

into the blogosphere...

i'm taking the plunge into the blogosphere...we'll see how it goes.

how did i get the name "magic mom?"

about five years ago i wanted to find an art teacher to see about getting my two younger children some private lessons. that was the truth - but the deeper truth was, i was the one who was searching for a creative outlet.

i'd been told by a friend that a woman named jackie kellum was the person i was looking for. i tucked jackie's name into my memory bank.

one day, while standing in line at the post office, i took notice of the woman ahead of me who was mailing a package. the name on the return address was "jackie kellum." shyly, i introduced myself, quickly explained that i normally don't approach strangers in the post office, told her all the wonderful things i had heard about her and asked if she was still giving art lessons.

jackie looked me right in the eye and said, "you are a magic mom." her words went through me like an electric shock.

we set up a time for my kids to come to her home for their first lesson. i kind of hovered in the background - soaking up jackie's every word. she said, "any one can learn technique. what i want to do is open up people to creativity."

a month or so later, jackie lost her home in a fire and moved away out of state. but that meeting in the post office that day changed my life.

that's the beginning of the tale of how i came to be a mandala artist. i'll try in subsequent posts to fill in "...the rest of the story."

sometimes all it takes to get the creative ball rolling is a chance encounter - a divine appointment.

thank you jackie kellum...wherever you are!