Friday, 26 February 2016

The Windmills of Your Mind

I love the effects of changing light, colours and patterns, whether it's looking at a blue sky through a canopy of gently moving leaves, the sparkle of sunlight on moving water, or even the glitter of sequins and beads on a dancer's costume. In the ongoing effort to get my new office/workroom sorted out, I'm revamping a stack of nesting quadrant boxes by covering them in self-adhesive holographic foil, which will create some bright and beautiful storage on the back corner of my sewing desk. The downside may be that I just sit and gaze at them, mesmerised by the shifting spectra (honestly, I can give it up any time I want to ...). At least my sewing notions will be neatly stored and free from dust and cat hair!

During unpacking, I found a kaleidoscope which I bought to entertain the step-children (well, that was my excuse, although it's not a patch on the tin one I had when I was young. I don't know what happened to that one, probably broken and binned long ago!) There is something fascinating in the way the mirrors create different patterns, no two ever the same. Now I've got a digital kaleidoscope, and can create endless patterns from some of my photos, but the key is finding the right original photo. The kaleidoscopic images from some photos are completely uninteresting or way too messy, while others create such nice patterns that it's difficult to choose. I am quite fascinated by the images and play with them until I feel I've found the right one.

A few years ago, I started creating images for sale on various print-on-demand sites such as RedBubble and Zazzle, but was dithering over whether they were good enough, the sort of images I wanted to create, how to achieve that and various related technical issues. Plus, some of the artwork on these sites is totally awesome, would anyone look at mine? But, to my amazement, a few lovely people have bought items using my images! I realised that it is hopeless comparing yourself to other artists, and trying to second-guess what people will want to look at or buy. In publishing our art, we're creating diversity and abundance, something for everyone.

Recently, I was chatting to my artist friend Heidi Norman about my former lack of confidence in my work, and my renewed drive to create the sets of images I have planned. Heidi, knowing that I tend to be a perfectionist and a powerhouse of creative ideas herself, encouraged more of a 'just do it' attitude. After all, I have quite a lot of digital images to play with. I've also started to unpack the old photo albums (and umpteen packs of prints which hadn't made it into the albums at the time of packing up a previous life!)

So I’ve rebooted myself, and have been busy creating and loading new images, especially digital art to add to the Belly Dance collection and the Kaleidoscope Mandala Art for Celtic Festivals, Chakras, Starflakes (is it a snowflake or a star, or both?) and a growing collection of bits and pieces involving things like flowers, butterflies, lights and concepts of the natural world such as the seasons and elements.

I refer to them as Kaleidoscope Mandalas, as they aren't traditional mandalas of symbolic images in a geometric shape, but the kaleidoscopic mirroring creates repeated patterns which act like a mandala, as a focus for attention and aid to meditation. As you look, your eyes are drawn around the outer circles of the pattern and into the centre. As your whirling thoughts slow down and start to freewheel, your mind picks out different shapes; faces, crowns, hearts, butterflies, dragonflies, aliens, robots, birds, dancing figures with upraised arms, goddesses, Buddhas, scarab beetles, angels, temples, petals, arrows, feathers, flames.

Apparently, the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed the urge to make mandalas emerged at times of intense personal growth and change. This sounds about right to me. I haven't felt such a strong drive to create in years, and it certainly has been a year of changes for me.

It takes some time to upload new work, create and edit various product offerings, but you can now find increasing amounts of my work on the following sites:

Zazzle *

Please feel free to treat yourself and make me a few pennies in commissions! ;)

Depending on your browser and plugins, you may be able to see my Zazzle panel in the right-hand column, scrolling through various products and images. You can also find Heidi on RedBubble and her Spanglefish website. She is also translating some of her designs for clothing through Vida, well worth a look (or better still, a pre-order!).

Current earworm: The Windmills of Your Mind (but the Kaleidoscope Mandalas are something of an antidote to the restless, troubling thoughts!)

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