Memories, Dreams and Reflections

I read Carl Jung’s autobiography ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections’ at a critical time in my life.  One aspect in particular had struck me and contributed to the unfolding process that lead to my re-experiencing, understanding and, ultimately, healing the events of my childhood.

It was without real surprise therefore, as I sat doodling and colouring in my practise journal one evening last week, a memory floated through my mind and I caught it. I recalled the pivotal scene in Jung’s book when, searching for a deeper understanding of the recesses of the mind, he decided to let go of his sanity and immediately experienced himself as dropping through the floor of his study into the abyss.

Once, long ago, I emulated Jung in that moment of consciously choosing to let go, to drop the drop. In a time of deep despair, when it had been made abundantly clear to me the ultimate in paternal wickedness had taken place and the ultimate in maternal indifference had always existed, I would stop trying to deal with the chaotic aftermath, the soul pain, the anguish. I would simply let go just as Jung had.  I would confront my demons, do or die!  

In a flash I was falling into profound blackness. Terrified at the speed of the fall I grasped at the sides of the pit, trying to hold onto the last threads of my sanity with my fingernails. But the fall continued, I kept slipping and sliding and tearing my hands as I tumbled down that pit of despair. Again a vision of Jung in his study appeared in my mind and I remembered, I knew, I must let go.  I was terrified.

Just.  Let.  Go.

I let go.

I fell no further, gently my feet touched ground.  I was already at the bottom of the pit, perhaps I always had been.  And as I stood in that deep, still, silent, blackness from far, far away a light began to glow.

What followed changed my life. Perhaps I should say changed me at a fundamental, primeval level. Changed the way my brain and mind and heart worked. Changed my very being and changed my life and my view of the events of my life.

In almost thirty years that experience has never faded from my memory and my understanding of why we live, why we have this human experience has only deepened with the passing of the years.

I looked again at the page on which I was doodling and colouring and wrote ‘Memories, Dreams & Reflections’, closed the book and went to bed.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

Mandalas and Dream Catchers

I’ve been drawing mandalas for many, many years. Once it was a tool that helped focus me and bring me into a quiet and meditative space. Another time mandalas became a way of connecting with and working through my feelings in a troubled time. I kept a book filled with my intricate drawings for years until I felt it was time to let them go as I moved on with life. I thought my time with mandalas was done – I turned instead to doily making, a kind of crochet version of a mandala if you freestyle it and work with form and colour as your heart dictates. A thoroughly satisfying and restful occupation, mainly done during long winter evenings and eventually ending up, not with a book, but a blanket – a more cuddly and useful product formed from many hours of quiet contemplation.

And then recently I fell somehow into the idea of painting little dream catchers – a version filled with doodles and shapes of a repetitive nature emulating the work of a mandala.  Here are some I’ve been working on.  They are not quite finished yet…….

dreamcatchersx4

Then my journal page got a workout with this

dreamcatcher-14-oct

I thought I was painting a mandala – which goes to show you never quite know when you pick up some colours where you might end up ………

The process, if you are interested, was to lay down a mixture of colours over the entire double page spread.  You see them now just as the background of the mandala.  Then I used a circle template to pencil in three circles, the rest is done freehand.  The mandala grew from the centre outwards, with lines and doodles and black, white and gold pens.  When the sixth ring was completed the remaining page was painted black.  When the black paint was dry I continued drawing and doodling the pointy outer shapes and finally the ribbons and feathers – at which point I realised my mandala had become a dream catcher.  I felt the black was too heavy so finally I made lots of squiggly marks all over using a white gel pen.

And here are some details of the piece –

 

dreamcatcher-detail2

dreamcatcher-detail4

 

So, even though it’s not quite a mandala and not quite a dream catcher, it was a lot of fun to make!  And it might make nice prints – what do you think?

Finally, for his fans – here is Siddy this morning.  Patiently waiting for Orlando to wake up and accept the toy that is being offered so they can play.

siddywaitsforo

He did wake up and Siddy did his happy dance, but Orlando didn’t want to play – again…….  (sigh)……….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Muckin’ Abart In My Sketchbook

Here are some sketches I make with different lead and coloured pencils in the evenings, when I just sit and play with ideas and see where they lead – if anywhere.  Just ‘muckin’abart’ really!

At first, when I started painting again, I was just re-familiarising myself with some mediaJournal6

and faces11 8 16

Later, I tried timing myself to see what happened if I didn’t get stuck in detail

10minsketch

This ten minute sketch stretched to twenty minutes……

20min sketch

For some reason I spent an hour playing around with perky birds…

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I’m not particularly good at birds and animals – but these were good enough to make me have a shot at Siddy last night – he doesn’t stay still long enough for me to get it really right – but I’ll keep going………

Siddy1

Someone else inspired me to play with modern day flower fairies….. the circled bits indicate I like that idea and want to take it further…….

Flower Fairy1

I really like this one, the one that I’ve coloured – but she hasn’t gone any further yet:

Flower Fairy 2

The first one made it onto an art journal pageflowerfairyfull

While the page was a bit of a wash out  – hence the lake and swans appearing – the fairy herself is great fun.  I like a fairy with attitude!

fairy detail

It’s coming along.  I’ve got several art journal pages to show you next time – I feel like I’m getting near ready to start work on canvas again…….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

If the Earth Were Only

Here is a recent entry in my art journal – this one took about four days of work to get to ‘finished!’ status.  The main problem was that in my enthusiasm to get started I forgot to gesso the pages so was working on raw water colour paper.  It was inspired by a double whammy, picking up a verse I know well and seeing an artist at her work on You Tube.

If the Earth Were Only ..... Art Journal August 2016

If the Earth Were Only …..
Art Journal August 2016

Do you agree with me that the big-eyed girl is a bit of a worry?  I had seen videos on You Tube from an artist named Megan Saurez and am quite fascinated with her style – I have always tended to big eyes in my work, partly because I think the eyes are the window to the soul and are the most important part of the face – Megan takes it a step further and paints delightfully impish faces and I wondered what would happen if I made my eyes even bigger ………  I don’t have her talent or technique to make it work though – suffice to say I won’t go quite that big again…………

I’ve had the verse in my possession since sometime in the mid 80’s.  An older student gave it to me, thinking I would like it.  She was right!.  I’ve since used it several times when working with middle teens and even some adults.  I just found out the author’s name via Mr Google – don’t you love the internet!!  I couldn’t find out anything else however, just his name, Joe Miller, and the fact that he wrote this piece in a little book which got slated for being neither scientific or spiritual, just a woolly mix of both. Which says more about the reviewer than the work in my opinion.

It speaks strongly to young teens who are beginning to stand firmly in their ‘scientific facts’ and yet still have their hearts touched by something a little more intangible, resting in the realm of feeling.

Personally I think everyone should come in contact with this verse at some time in their lives.  And think about it.

Thanks to the kindly input of Derrick Knight after my last post, the issue with the biggifying feature has been resolved.  You can click twice to get a really good look at my appalling penmanship!

Here’s the text only:

If the Earth were only- text

And here’s a close-up of the face.  I like the hair – on the actual double page spread it looks like fields and hedgerows and forests…….

If the Earth were only - detail

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

I Am a Tree

I just want to say thank you to all you lovely people who have popped by in the last three days.  Thank you for your kind and supportive words and thank you for coming to visit in droves despite my long and unexplained absence.  I so appreciate each and every one of you!  You have quite made my last couple of days most enjoyable  🙂

As a result, here’s another post hot on the heels of the first – just because I’m really happy and you know I have months of missing posts to make up for ……….

After painting every day for almost three weeks I was still really struggling to find my way with colour and form and technique.  And because I was receiving so many private emails and messages wondering if I was okay because of my absence from the blogging world I decided to bite the bullet and share what I was doing.

I was frankly amazed, though I shouldn’t have been, for the community around this blog is made up of the most fabulous people!  All those messages of support, so kindly given, left me quite touched and I awoke yesterday morning to find something in me had moved and changed.  I couldn’t wait to get the chores out of the way and get to the work station.  I knew what to do and decided to just go for it.  By last night a double page spread had emerged in my art journal, almost seamlessly, and was finished and, most importantly, I felt really happy with it.

It is by no means perfect, but it will be I think the basis for another work further down the track.

This idea was sparked by my friend Yvonne’s post that featured relief heads of women found around Venice.  The final photo featured an unusual fresco and aroused a number of comments both helpful and unhelpful.  Mine was one of the unhelpful ones!  All was revealed in Yvonne’s following post.  I thought she was a tree sprite of some kind and even though I was completely wrong – or perhaps because I was – I fell to musing about the spirit of trees and how they might appear, which then led to some further musing on what they might have to say.

I am a tree Aug 16

Detail

I am a tree detail

And the words, if your eyes like mine can’t stand the struggle ……… and because I have lost the ability to have you double click on my photographs to enlarge them  – I don’t know why……

I am a tree Words

Thank you for your support and encouragement – it really does take a community doesn’t it!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

It’s August – Really?

Well HELLLLOOOO!

It’s been quite a while since my last post – it’s not that I forgot about you or anything, it’s just that I got – well, side tracked really…..  Lots of inner rumination and pondering and thinking about the state of the world, not to mention my own role in it, led to a need to just be quiet and contemplative for a little bit.  I visited some of you, others I missed, but I’ve been picking up the slack for the last week or so and getting back into the swing.

I also made stuff, some successful, some not so much.  The really exciting thing for me was I picked up my paintbrushes for the first time in over 15 months.  I decided – wisely as it turns out – to work in a journal to begin with.  I’d lost all my skill, not to mention my stuff and the first weeks were a combination of starting to paint, searching, finding, organising, painting a bit more.  I use the term ‘painting’ loosely here – you’ll see why if you stick with me.  As usual my photos need work – but you’ll get the idea…….

First up, I made myself a couple or three vests.  I tend to use patterns as a suggestion if I use them at all and therefore my results are often a surprise to everybody, even me. From this latest foray at plying the hooks,  two will be wearable when blocked and finished – the third is an ill-fitting nightmare and will be undone.

crochet vest Aug 16This is crocheted, adapted from an original pattern consisting of lots of little hexagons all stitched together in long panels.  Made from Lion Brand ‘Shawl in a Ball’ I used three different colour ways all featuring my favourite colour.  The back neck requires building up a bit – I might even do that this evening.

Next up here is a Tunisian Crochet attempt at a vest – otherwise known as ‘Railway Knitting’.  This is my first time making such a big item – but I love plying the huge crochet hook and I love the texture you get from the two step process.  This still requires blocking and a bit of finishing off with a fancy plait thing I’m stitching into the back:Tunisian vest 1 Aug16Here’s a closeup of the bottom edging:Tunisian vest 2 detail Aug16So, here’s some bits from the art journal – I’ve done something every day for a bout two weeks – some pages were complete in one sitting – others took days to come to anything.  It’s all practise and remembering while playing about with colour.

This was the first pageJournal1 bAfter that first attempt I resorted to something I knew well – I’d made quirky houses for years, long before they became a staple of art journalers and I was figuring I may as well give myself some therapy while I tried to remember how to apply colour and use paint to come to form…….

Journal2

Journal3

This next nightmare became more a paper piecing exercise followd by a splendiferously gleeful wallowing in glitter and sparkles, none of which you can really see.  It reminds me of paper dolls – do you remember paper dolls?  Journal5

It’s going to take a while before I’ll feel competent with a brush in my hands again – but just having it there has made me very happy!  Who cares if I can’t paint!!

It’s been a long hard winter down here in the Riviera of Antarctica.  This morning I woke to -6 C; a world whited-out in frost.  The upside is it will be a blue-sky day and walking with Siddy, despite the obvious risk of me ending upside down in a tangled mess on some unseen slippy-slidey icy bit, will be a pleasure*.

Here’s the boys all lined up for treat time for those of you who missed themTREAT TIME NOV 20 cropped

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

*I did and it was.

All I Am – Another Art Journal Page

Orlando the Marmalade Cat has been the star of the show for the last three posts, I decided it must be my turn again!  And today I decided to work in my art journal again – I haven’t since September 14th [Be the Change …….]  My how time flies!!

All I knew when I started was that I wanted to work with my new Monte Marte acrylics, which I’ve had since the end of August and still hadn’t opened.  They are beautiful – rich, thick and creamy and as you will see, with a fabulous depth of colour.

I started by laying down some old book pages, which I gessoed over and then I painted.

When the paint was dry I used a couple of acrylic stamps – one with scratchy marks on it and one with words – and randomly plonked them around the pages.  Finally a small Dyan Reavelly stencil came into play and I used a dry sponge with almost no gesso on it to dab out the spots and flowers.

With the background done I sketched the head outline in pencil then painted the area white.  Once that was dry I could settle in and let the features begin to reveal themselves.

I had three colours on my palette for the face and added in some metallic bronze for the hair – in real life when the light hits the page the hair sparkles 🙂

By the time I had finished painting her the words were clearly in my mind, so I wrote them out onto book paper, cut them out and stuck them in before I could change my mind.

AllIAm1a

Close-ups for you:

AllIAm2

AllIAm3

Couple of detail shots:

AllIAm4

AllIAm6

I love my new paints!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂