'Round and 'Round

So far 2019 has presented me with some intriguing art experiences that have brought me new inspiration. The form of a circle, the never-ending path of the spiral, and the labyrinthine inward turning of the mandala are in me and my art.

I do a lot of art now. I paint small circles with watercolors and add pen and pencil to them to create enclosed little worlds. Using colored pencils, I draw mandalas which do not look like the mandalas most people are familiar with, but I anchor the design on the central point even if it is not immediately noticeable. I’ve always liked the ‘tween times and ‘tween spaces, a dancing around of sorts.

In January I went to visit the Guggenheim to see the art of Hilma af Klint, which deeply resonated with me in a million ways, most of which I wouldn’t be able to explain in words. Around that time I worked with a fellow shamanic practitioner who invited me to draw a mandala. Before the new year, I had already been creating small watercolor circles. I remembered Carl Jung’s Red Book. All of it came together.

I continue to create mandalas as a way to find peace. I turn to the circle for solace and self-understanding. Oftentimes these days, my art feels like a self-prescribed balm for health issues I face, as I am being treated for chronic Lyme and also require more eye surgery in coming months. In Lyme, there are spirochetes which are spiral organisms that invade the deepest crevices of the joints and organs and are hard to eradicate from the body. Perhaps through the spiral and circular forms I create, I can find a way to the corkscrew-shaped life forms, and a way to make peace with them somehow. There has been a saying that to catch a fish, think like a fish. I’m not sure if this will work for me, but at least drawing the circles and mandalas brings me great peace while I’m doing them. Creating them calms my mind when my thoughts begin to race with fears of how I will get through this, how I will regain strength, how I will get rid of the excruciating overall pain in my body, and how my health will be restored. The whys are clear… nymph deer tick bites all over me in September, 2016. I pulled almost twenty fully engorged ticks off of me and had over fifty bites all over. They were small and stayed on despite showering. It took me more than 48 hours to discover them all. I became severely ill within days - difficulty walking, thinking, seeing, intense light sensitivity, a racing heart, slower breathing, the development of a facial tremor. One friend who was a nurse saved my life because she was the only one paying attention, calling me frequently to check on my symptoms and suggesting I get on a course of doxycycline asap. I did a 21-day course which got rid of the symptoms, but two months later symptoms returned and worsened and more symptoms appeared. The why’s are clear, but the how’s are not. After going to several doctors for help over the last 2-1/2 years, I am currently seeing a Lyme specialist and I have some hope as I continue forward.

So I sit with spirals, in the great labyrinth of life walking to and fro toward one destination. And I draw. A compass creates the circle around a central point. The pencils smoothly glide across the paper and the harder I press, the more vivid the colors. With a steady hand and two sets of eyeglasses with still no clear focus, I find my way around.