Tag Archives: celtic knotwork

When Life happens – and a nod to Pope Joan.

6 Sep

The worst sin is ingratitude, which is a forgetting of the greatness, beauty, truth and goodness of the Source that is constantly creating us – in other terms, a forsaking of Being, and the Good.

My favorite Leloup quote today, from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

Today I had my day all planned out, my hours spoken for, so I sat down to my desk to focus on the geometries of the Josephine knot. Which I still haven’t grasped. I found a vesica, but that is a story for another day.

I was deeply in my head, probably frowning with confusion,  when all this carefully arranged bliss was loudly interrupted by Rosie, next door’s 11 week old beagle, escaping her yard,  Ellen and I chasing around like crazy people trying to corner her. Eventually, Rosie was found, the escape route blocked up, and I returned to the drawing table, my perspective blown wide open.

And this leads me to the legend of Pope Joan.  And really, just how often do things lead you there? Well, once upon a time (during the early Middle Ages to be precise), it is told that a woman, disguised as a man, rose through the church hierarchy and was eventually elected Pope. Life went along smoothly, more or less, until during one particularly solemn processional,  all hell broke loose as the Pope went into labor and produced a child on the spot. Whoops.

Forget wasting time arguing whether it’s true or just another urban legend. That’s not the point. It’s never the point.

For me, today, Joan happily reminded me that even with the best laid plans, the most carefully arranged rituals, Life still happens, unplanned, unannounced, unexpected and often showing up at the most inconvenient time.

When the Divine came crashing into my carefully constructed schedule,  disguised as an exuberant beagle wanting to play, I had the opportunity to allow everything-as-it-was to become Life-Happening-In-This-Moment. My attention, my intention, my blood, my body, unified in a way my habitual/’usual’ self has never been fully conscious of before; opening me to an idea of another way of being fully present. It’s like a huge breath of fresh air expanded into my complacent habits, my structured ideas of how things ‘should’ be and reminded me again, that I am alive.

So now when I am here typing, I am also being aware of being alive. Of being animated by a Mystery I will never understand, flowing through me with an agenda that I can only guess at, holding me closely in gratitude and delight.

The take away for me?

Life is not meant to be ‘convenient’, bent and warped to suit us and our crazy made-up lives.

Life is meant to be lived, to be wondered at, to be expressed through us. To be experienced consciously, as a tremendous gift. Life holds us tightly so that we may live wide open, allowing it to flow through us unrestricted, out into the world.

sketch for mary magdalene

 

 

sketches for mary magdalene

Verithin pencils

6 Jan

I’ve added more colored pencil- prismacolor verithins. This helps me block out the darks and make sure the all over color is going to be balanced. I used copic marker  (E00 + E21) for her neck- checking how the color of the pencil shading will show through. What’s great about this technique is that the pencil can still be erased and played with, even with a light layer of marker on top of it. I’m working, for better or worse, on marker paper, which I love because I get all the brightness and vibrancy of watercolor- with marker and colored pencils. Yum.

I hauled the photo into photoshop to brighten and sharpen the image a bit- it is very light and sketchy right now so I boosted the contrast so that its easier to see. I also cropped it for this post.

work in progress

janetbalboa2016

This is the actual picture, on an 11 x 14 paper.  The image has a large celtic knot border and intricate knotwork along the inside of the circle. She is Bridget I think. Or my fondness for spring and warmth and light coming back. But most of all? It’s the fact that I am drawing, and in the studio. After The Holidays – that’s an accomplishment in itself.

work in progress1

janetbalboa2016

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Yin Yang, Beauty and Hedgehogs

17 Dec
JanetBalboa c.2014 Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

JanetBalboa c.2014
Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

Further along. Finished a fabulous book yesterday – The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. ‘Wow’ is all I can really say about that. And, I will be sending Muriel a copy of this print as soon as I finish it and can find an address for her. Why? I sense the same quest for beauty – the same need/desire to see that beneath all the fear, all the scary stuff is a beautiful, untarnished world that reaches out to us. When we are very quiet and choose to listen, we can hear the muse. Mmmmm…yes.

I’ve also been working on a site – Go for the soul.com – where one can buy my work, if one were so inclined. I have to figure out the shipping bit, but for the most part, it is done. It drives me crazy really, because I always choose drawing over working on the site. So of course, the web site kind of plods along. meanwhile:

JanetBalboa c.2014 Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

JanetBalboa c.2014
Marker on marker paper 12 x 12

I plan to finish and scan this today. Which means I’ll post a far better picture of it, without all the weird light reflection noises. The empty spot will be filled with a shell of the type common to Ireland, (New Grange). The Discus Rotundatus, some theorize, could be a model for the famous spirals. I like the idea of a spiral shape in the ‘Yin” spot – feminine, dark , moist; perfect.

I love that frog. That was late last night. Happy.

a rainy day with prismacolors

2 Jun Janet Balboa,Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2013
Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara, marker and colored pencil, 19" x 24" c. 2014

Janet Balboa, Anam Cara, marker and colored pencil, 19″ x 24″ c. 2014

 

A rainy day put to good use. I’m headed out for coffee…and some friendly faces. Bought a new burnisher, colorless. Don’t know if I like it as much as burnishing with a pencil itself, seems to leave   a lot of wax.

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