Playing

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I am taking Heather Plett’s Mandala Discovery e-course this month and it has let me explore my word of the year (artist) in a whole new way. The mandala above and the detail below were my response to the first prompt: play. Play! My boys do it all day long. But me? Play is hard. Well, I don’t know if that is completely true. Play is easy, but unhooking from the ideas in my head of what play should look like, how I should be doing it, and all the other shoulds banging around up there – that is not easy. When I first saw this prompt, I knew I wanted to do something different from the mandalas I had been drawing. I also knew I wanted to up my scale and go from a 5-inch circle to a whopping 12-inch circle. A foot in diameter seemed like an endless wasteland when I first trimmed the paper and drew my outline. (And just as an aside, Tara Mohr has a book all about playing big that has been on my mind lately. This interview she did with Jamie Ridler was excellent.)

I thought about collaging the mandala – which is my first love and honestly the way I tried to create my first-ever mandala. {B.A.D.} And I’m not just talking about aesthetics here – I just could not get my head around how you were supposed to get paper that is essentially made up of straight edges to fit in a circle. The levels at which my mind remains trapped is slightly embarrassing. Anyway, my initial idea for collaging a ‘play’ mandala was to cut up an art catalog and use images of paints and brushes and pastels and such. When I reflected on this later, I realized that would have been a twice-removed facsimilie of what play is – a representation of the very things I would like to be playing with. Thankfully, I didn’t get stuck there and just decided to go for it.

I ripped up a bunch of colorful scrap papers to form a base and then painted on top of that. I still had the idea that I should draw some kind of design, because drawing had become synonymous with mandalas for me. So I took a deep red oil pastel and drew a scalloped design along the outer edge. When I finished the loop around, I realized I hated it. One great thing about oil pastels is that you can wipe them off – especially on a surface slick with paint and mod-podge. As I started wiping, the color started to smear into itself. The hard edges of the scallops disappeared and I was left with a ring of soft red. THIS was a whole new ballgame. I played with every oil pastel I had, creating radiant rings of color, drawing on top of this mess and then taking a bamboo skewer and carving lines and words into the wax that had accumulated.

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Full Pink Moon

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The Full Pink Moon asks, what dreams need tending? I found this dream board harder to put together than the others, and even considered stopping this practice or at least skipping this month. However, I kept my art journal open with a few images scattered around all last week. Nothing was rising to the top and I couldn’t get my head around the word “tending”. I forget what images I had combined on the right hand page, but they just weren’t working. I went through my pile of tear sheets again and “Joie” came up front and center. I have hinted at my need to find my joy again (especially in regard to homeschooling) and building a dream collage around this word was incredibly insightful. I think I put this together last Thursday or Friday. On Saturday, I met with my spiritual director and joy came up again as one of the themes in our session (oh, in addition to control and fear . . . ahem). It may look like just gluing random bits in a book, but I know it to be more than that. Much, much more.

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Here is a fun free printout of the lunar cycles for 2015 that also gives some guidance in working with intentions and dreams in relation to the phases of the moon. Good stuff. Jamie Ridler is the one who started me on this process of creating dream boards with the full moon. Here is a retrospective of the ones I’ve made so far: Full Cold Moon, Full Wolf Moon, Full Snow Moon, Full Worm Moon.

Art Journal / Dream Board #2 and #3

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Click to see full screen.

Last month, I started doing monthly dream boards with Jamie Ridler. (You can see my first one here.) The one above shows my interpretation of answering the questions of the Full Wolf Moon: What dreams do you hunger for? What emptiness howls from within?

Jamie has information on the upcoming moon, The Full Snow Moon, which asks “What are your deepest dreams? What is the dream beneath the dream?” My dream board for those questions can be seen below. This feels deliciously complementary to my other creative project I have embarked on this year, Andrea Schroeder’s Creative Dream Circle. Both are stretching me to journal more, collage more and show up more creatively in my inner work practice.

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Vision Cards

To go with my vision board this year, I also made some vision cards. I made them in conjunction with Jamie Ridler’s excellent little e-course. She begins with a wonderful mediation that helps you define three areas of your life you would like to focus on this year.

First and foremost, I want to bring a bit more attention to the rooms in our house and also the space that surrounds it. Nothing dramatic: paint and fabric will do a whole lot inside and honestly, just picking up outside will do wonders for now! Perhaps we will add some flowers and other plantings in the spring.

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Next up is travel. Travel! This one was a surprise for me, considering how I did with leaving for Wyoming! I’m giving myself some grace there as that was multi-layered and super-charged. I have a solo-trip to Texas already planned for next month and we are talking about going out west as a family in early summer.

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And lastly, I made a vision card to focus some energy around my art. No surprise there – except I did this card before I officially claimed my word. Putting these images together showed me just how much I wanted to show up in this area of my life this year.

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Vision Board 2015

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This is the third vision board I’ve made. I made one last year and another right before I went to Wyoming. I find the process to be an exercise in intention, intuition and clarity. Initially, I began with a pile of magazines from the summer and every page just about “froze me to death” as my neighbors would say. I quickly put those aside in favor of winter issues. I chose the images above more for color and a sense of season more than anything else. As I was starting to assemble my board, I noticed the text on one of the pages:

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I have talked about my daily walks countless times in this space. I find walking to be a healing practice that allows me to quiet my mind, open my heart and soothe my soul. And while I don’t feel as though I have arrived at any sort of culmination, 2015 definitely finds me at the beginning of a new path. More on that next week. This week will be all about the art. (Artist, and all that.)