Archive for May 11th, 2012
I have been adding a new, well I better say that I am revisiting painting as part of my process. This isn’t my first mandala nor will it be the last, in my opinion. As I turned my towards my art supplies shelving, I sensed that it was time to pull out materials for this water-colour drawing. I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen for awhile until it became obvious that I was going to draw a mandala. With this realisation came a bit of panic for I didn’t have the tools needed for drawing circles or straight lines. All of these things are in my home in Saskatchewan. I was beginning to think that the mandala could wait another week when I return to my home when an idea decided to interrupt my attempts at putting off the expression of psyche that was bubbling – use cups, bowls and other round objects to create the circles; use the edge of various straight objects to draw lines; and most importantly, don’t worry about exactness.
Over a period of about forty-eight hours, this is what emerged in bits and pieces. I painted what came up and then set aside the paint until something else called me to be added to the mandala. I still don’t know what it means but I can catch bits of hints. Obviously it is a self-portrait of sorts that wants me to acknowledge complexity as well as unity. The Chinese characters above the eye are how my students in China would sometimes address me – Lao Luo (in Chinese my name is Luo BoTe). It is a warm and respectful way to address a teacher whom is liked and cared for. Turning the image upside down and the Chinese characters then say Lao Shi, or teacher. This was my role in China and for more that thirty years before China, my role in Canada. As for the eye itself, it could be looking at me, or it could be me looking out at the rest of the world. Surrounding the Chinese characters is a sort of altered medicine wheel that hints at First Nations ancestry mixed in with my French and Austrian heritage. The next layer is a quartet of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags from which four “almost” triangles emerge as representative of the lotus flower, an image that I must have photographed hundreds of times while in Asia. Black and white squares – consciousness and shadow, masculine and feminine – contained polarities. And finally, the outer layer which is still a mystery.
The process of creating this mandala reminded me of something Guy Corneau had said in his workshop and presentations – healing begins when ego gets out of the way. When we stay in our minds and refuse to listen to the body, the spirit and the soul, we do more damage than good. For a change, I got out of the way and didn’t try to control the process. And in the process, I discovered a sense of wholeness in spite of the many divergent fragments – a lesson for me to learn and bring into other aspects of my life.