Friday, January 6, 2012


The January theme for the Sketchbook Challenge is "Doodling", and who doesn't have pages filled with mindless (or intentional) doodles?  I've tried my hand at "Zentangles", "Zendoodles", "Zendalas", whatever your title of choice is. I didn't even know it had a name for the first ten years, then suddenly I discovered that what I was doing was part of a "movement". Who knew?

When I get stuck for a subject or focus for my art journaling, which is often, I try to let go of all expectation and just splash around with color.  Most often I find myself working in a circular pattern, and they inevitably turn into a mandala. My mandala's don't always have meaning, sometimes they just have feeling and for me that feeling comes from color.

I find color in art to be vital to me.  Color is my primary mode of expression and when I look back at a piece whose colors were driven by deep emotion, I can steel feel that emotion.  I know instantly what was going on at the time and it's very powerful to sit with it and reflect.

Many people use mandalas for meditation.  The circle has a profoundly calming effect on the mind and body.  I used to do this more years ago, when I didn't have children.  Sadly, meditation isn't something I get a lot of time for these days, but I will steel away to a corner every now and again with this particular mandala and just sit.

There is a lot of meaning in this one.  It was done shortly after I bought my son home from hospital.  I remember sitting at the quiet end of the dining room table, he was asleep in his crib, I could hear the gentle swooshing of the oxygen flowing from the massive tanks littered around the house.  I could see the cannula tubing snaked across the floor, disappearing into his crib, tangling with the lines from his heart/lung monitors.  He was so tiny, only 6lbs at 6 months, it was frightening, so I would imagine a garden growing around him, hiding all those hideous medical necessities keeping him alive. I imagined birds and butterflies twittering around the tops of the tanks, resting on his pillow, protecting him.

Some days that little fantasy went on for ages. It gave me those precious moments of calm and optimism that helped sustain me for the two years it took for my baby to grow strong enough to finally shed all that life saving equipment.

It was on one of those days that I swirled some Twinkling H2O around my journal page and started doodling.  I didn't have the capacity to try to draw my imagined garden, so I doodled this instead.  There was something about the repetitive, rhythmic motion of repeating patterns within the circle, it was a very powerful process for me and still holds a special place in my heart.  Creating this mandala was somehow a turning point.  I'm not sure in which direction, but when I looked at the finished result, it felt like I could finally see a light at the end of a very long and very dark tunnel.

Tomorrow I will be randomly drawing the winner of my "21 Secrets" giveaway. Click here to enter, or for more information.

Thanks for checking in. xx