Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Reflection Pole

The finished column on Jaqui's porch.

On a recent trip to my soul sister Jaqui MacMillian's house, I joking asked her if she had something she'd like me to paint a mandala on to which she instantly replied, "Oh yes! Because I know it will be really valuable someday!" She is too kind.....

An interesting blank canvas

For painting, she offered up this wooden column that came from her old house in Washington DC. I imagined it to be covered in different mandalas, but once I started with her Liquitex acrylics (which were new to me) I realized that painting just one might take me a while. (the paint soaked quickly into the wood and I had to keep adding coats so it would be as vibrant as I wanted it to be.)

One on the top

For reasons unknown to me at the time, I didn't just start with one mandala, but two the same - one on top of the other. This is the one on the top -

Then one on the bottom

and this was the one on the bottom. Sitting on the floor of her porch with the column in front of me was the easiest way for me to work.

Adding details to the top

Adding additional detail to the top,

and again on the bottom

then the bottom.

Not sure why I did two together

As I started to finish up, I started to panic because I wasn't really sure that I liked it at all. These weren't the colors or paints I was used to working with and I thought it looked like a little kid had (badly) painted it. I was certain Jaqui would hate it and I was embarrassed for her to see it - thinking she would want me to paint over the whole thing & start again.

Why are artists so unbelievably hard on themselves? Why am I so hard on myself?

It was at this point that she came out on the porch and I sheepishly showed it to her, bracing myself for her reaction.

She loved it. (Whew!) When she asked me if it was done, I said I wasn't sure. As she went down into the yard to work on her garden, she called me down to show me something. Shae said, "Look at it from down here" and I did and I almost cried. It GLOWED. So beautiful... I just couldn't see it up close. Irony in art for sure....

Until I realized it represented Jaqui & me. The people around you, are the mirror's reflection of you.

I added just a bit more detail in black, the word "transformation" on the side, and my signature below. And then it FINALLY hit me as to why I painted two mandalas that seemed to almost be reflections of one another. It's because that's just what they are.

Me & Jaqui MacMillan

Remember up top when I called Jaqui my soul sister? We aren't related but from the picture above you wouldn't know that. I just met her last summer and she is an absolutely amazing human being. Meeting her was one of those situations where you felt like you've already known someone your whole life but are now just only meeting them in the flesh.

A sometimes difficult concept for me to grasp is that what you put out, you attract. I have all these absolutely wonderful amazing friends in my life and I always have to remind myself that in some way, they are all a reflection of me.

Which is why the mirror image mandala isn't so much a surprise to me any more. :o)

Love you Jaqui!


JoniB said...

Absolutely beautiful! And perfect. I understand about being hard on yourself. The reason artists (of all kinds) are shy about their work is that it is so much a part of themselves. I've heard it described as "opening your vein and bleeding all over the stage."

(One technical piece of advice - a primer coat of some sort would help on the soaking in part.)

Keep painting/drawing/loving!

Stephanie "Biffybeans" Smith said...

Thank you Joni... bleeding all over the page - I like that! I thought about primer as well, but in the end, I like how organic this turned out. I'm also not quite sure it was soaking in as much as I just overall thought the paint was "thin." I'm used to craft acrylics in those little bottles which seem thicker and easier to coat.

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