The Art and Writing Class is growing, with both numbers and a range of ages, 7 to 76! I keep thinking I’ll come up with a sexier name for the class…and each blog posting I’ve done has had a slight variation…but maybe just the simple Art and Writing will do. The emphasis for this class was healing mandalas. We used a format suggested by Richard Rohr, thinking of four areas of our lives or in the world that needs to be healed. Journaling, making lists, doodling ideas to represent these areas. We then painted and/or made collages to represent these.
Pat Giacomini created the beautiful collage above, as well as the one below, the first page of an art journal she has started.
Participants in the process of creating
Saro Deacon started this mandala. Her method is a very precise. Notice the details of the paintings she included, including one of a lifelike human heart. I hope she finishes this at home, or brings the piece back next month.
The Montanez and Espinoza families joined us. The first picture is of Maria and Maria, mother and daughter. Abuela Maria wrote eloquently of missing her children in Mexico and worked on coloring a mandala. Maria Montanez, mother of Kelly, Nicholas, and Regina began a painting of colorful orbs…representing herself and each of her children. Briana (in blue) and Kelly (in black) joined us after their soccer game, deciding to fingerpaint.
Rosa Espinoza explained the meanings of the colors she chose for love, happiness, and her family.
Jennifer Kelly created this fascinating mandala, using circles to represent the strengths she finds from areas that might be considered points of growth. We discussed that this is what it’s all about! Our supposed places of “weakness” or places in us that need healing are the exact places we find our greatest strengths, compassion for ourselves and others, and are what stretches us emotionally and spiritually.
Fran Ransley is here contemplating her project, which is finished on the right. Her collages are complex and team with symbolism and story!
Alexis Mattson, who is nearing completion of high school, created the mandala on the right. The flower made of paper celebrates the love and support she receives from her family.
We started our session with an exercise called Writing the Present, which I learned through participating in Let the Crazy Child Write workshops offered by Bay Area poet Clive Matson. As people were coming into the class I noticed a lone blackbird sitting on one of the barren limbs outside my classroom window. That was the present I began with. The blackbird was resting on the barren tree branch outside the window under the shadows of the quiet gray morning. I am thinking of circles, of pure white spaces that need to be filled with color, with words, with the scattered moments of the past, of the future and discover how they collect to create Now. They are shadows, ephemeral as clouds. In the center of my being, I find the spinning nexus of life. It pulses, deeper than my heart, along the ledge of all the tomorrows, the gifts of spirit, wholeness, transformation. They each are a blackbird that surprises me, perched on the tributaries of my journey. Come beautiful words. Come visitations of what is possible. Come love. Come divinity within me, circling, circling.
I’m still trying not to be in a non-judging place about my collage above… I do like to work messy at times…hmmm….whether or not I like to is not the point, I guess…it’s what happens. But in the mess I find a lot of meaning, most of the time, after I’m done playing. I’ve been under the weather this weak, so haven’t written about what this is trying to tell me…but it did start off with the idea that our imperfections can be places of beauty within us, echoing the sentiments of Jennifer Kelly.
Patti Jahsman’s creations have had mysterious open spaces in their centers. Look at the color spectrum she uses in her mandala, how the colors pulsate with life and energy. I thought this seemed like a sun or a star as she was sharing, and then she sent this….it’s the universe!
At the heart of the Universe,
Love. At the heart of Everything,
At heart we are All One.
Peggy Thompson created two wonderful pieces. Her mandala is below. This piece features hers son tuning his guitar before a gig he was playing in San Francisco. Her writing is full of life, capturing a moment in time, bringing right into it.
PRIVATE MUSIC IN PUBLIC PLACES
The guitar player steps outside the stage door into the city, seeking to find a quiet place to tune his axe away from the excited crowd inside. A child sings Ring Around the Rosy on the playground as she spins, and spins and then falls down with glee. A young couple drinking Irish coffee in a waterfront bar join hands and gaze at each other when the piano player starts to play, their song. The elevator music love song mocks the heart of the women headed upstairs to state her case in divorce court. A street sweeper whistles an upbeat tune from his native land as he goes about his job, and the work seems less tiring. The church bell chimes out across the city and the atheist stops to remember the faith of his grandmother,and her sweet familiar smell of candle wax and roses.
Here we all are!