Tag Archives: colored pencil

Mary: work in progress

22 Feb

Work for this month

25 Apr


Dawning of Aquarius. Marker and colored pencil on marker paper. 11 x 14
So much color. Love it. Getting ready for a show in July.


Eraser Magic

7 Jan

As if by magic, but actually by eraser, her hand is gone. It was awkwardly coming up from the lower left hand corner, and was weirdly small. This is another thing I love about this technique: eraserability (no, not actually a word says my spellcheck. really? It’s perfect.) The ability to be erased. Nice.

Anyway, using the Verithin pencils is also helping- they are hard, unlike the regular prismacolors, so not as much pigment stains the paper; allowing for easier disappearing acts.  This is also marker paper which is very forgiving when it comes to erasing. I also have a very light hand and tend to deposit colors slowly, building them up gradually in intensity.

Indeed a work in process. It was (as always ) meant to be a simple practice, but it gets carried away with itself. I’m not sure if I’m going to outline everything in India ink either. Big style change? Don’t know. But a completely different technique; which means that I have no idea what it’s going to look like. I know what I would like it to look like- from a color perspective- but what I want and what I’ll end up with can be very different.






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.

New Work -fall leaves. Mainly.

1 Dec

work in progress


New work! Don’t even have a working title for it yet. Something about life-in-death and death-in-life. And how as things are ‘dying’ – returning in various stages to the earth from where they came – they are breathtakingly beautiful. The unbelievable colors of fall, the rich greens of spring and summer, and the golden brown of winter -all part of the same eternal process of life. to which, it seems, most obviously, death is an integral part. So why do we treat it otherwise? The Muslims have a beautiful saying that death in its approach is terrifying, but when it comes, that moment is actually sweet. wanting to see my life -all life- as a totality, not a sum of little disconnected parts. one great big song. With the going out as beautiful and natural and mysterious as the coming in. this picture is helping me cultivate that wider, more inclusive view. I try to come into rhythm. I am trying to honor the ebbs as well as the flows.  Each day includes at least a small letting go as well as the ushering ins of the new.  Trying to allow both the space they require, without judgment.

work in progress Nov 2014




Anam Cara

16 Oct Janet Balboa Anam Cara 2014


Janet Balboa Anam Cara 2014

Janet Balboa 2014_Anam Cara 19″x24″

Anam Cara. Prismacolor markers, pencils. a few copics too! on marker paper. 19 x 24…Finished!!!

Anam Cara – the beautiful Irish soul mate, the sacred friendship of the heart. I imagine this sacred friendship extended to include earth and sky, the intimate, glorious connection we share with all life. Filled with ‘symbology’ to help meditation and contemplation practice, this piece encourages the heart chakra to flow openly, lighting the world around you. Ygdrasil, the world-tree of Norse Mythology connects land and sky in an intimate bond of ancient kinship. The triple Goddess of Mother, Maiden and Wise Woman (a symbol for the feminine side of the Divine) Sophia encompasses all life with her wisdom, compassion and nurturing. Telephoros, with his lantern, encourages dreams and illumination of the unconscious. We are loved. Unconditionally…

What would it be like to feel this divine connection with the earth? What would life be like if we saw our life and our beautiful earth as divine gifts? What if we believed that we were entirely supported and loved unconditionally and always encouraged to evolve into constantly better versions of our self? What if we believed that the world is for us, instead of against us? What if the way we choose to look at our life and our world – as gifts – could help us live with our fear and terror? What if we accepted our self as we are, exactly as we are, light and dark? And let that be ok for now. See it as a good place to start to practice unconditional love.

It is my prayer today, that all of us who are suffering because we feel not good enough, that we are not needed, that we aren’t worthy of love – my prayer is that we come to know our self in a way that not only accepts, but delights in our differences, recognizes our fears as friends who bring lessons and gifts, and see that our incredible, one of a kind beauty  is present precisely because of our darkness. Our broken bits are what make us beautiful. They are part of the prism that scatters the pure light of love at the center of our being.  Our greatest gifts are often wrapped lovingly and snuggly in our greatest fears, waiting for us to mature enough so that we can understand what is needed to heal our wounded parts.

We struggle to manifest our gifts. We struggle to come to terms with our self. We struggle to bring our light to the world.  Slowly and with the passing of years, we begin to accept our selves. We begin to recognize, appreciate and take responsibility for our own life. We realize that we are complete. We stop the outer projection when we realize that our judging of the behaviors and actions of others is a manifestation of our unrecognized shadow. Our wounds – the dark inner places calling out to us for healing and attention. We begin to make friends with our interior darkness. This place of chaos and unformed things is also our place of potential, of creation. Our womb.  As we heal, we are ‘re-born’ , transformed into bringers of compassion, love and acceptance. We become whole and holy. We become lights for the world, living out our Divine connection to our beautiful earth and the beings on it. We can finally recognize and delight in our bond of ancient kinship. We have not been lost at all. We merely lost our way. We have always been known and loved dearly, for exactly who we are at this moment. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…

Dwarfs, illumination and knowing that everything matters.

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

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


I think of him as a healer of sorts- but maybe not a healer of symptoms, more of a caretaker of our need to create meaning where it seems none exists. A reconciler that ties things together- a witness to something greater that assures us that somehow what happens to us makes sense – that things are ultimately cared for and brought to completion. That somewhere, beyond our understanding, all is made right in the end.

Telephoros, the strange little ‘Accomplisher’ of the ancient world started out as a Celtic god. His original identity has been lost to us, but the name the Greeks gave him when he was brought to Anatolia in the 3rd century BCE give a clue: telos – meaning end, or purpose and phoros – carrying or bearing. ‘Endcarrier’. ‘Purposebearer’. His name actually means “the accomplisher” or “bringer of completion” in Greek. Telephoros was closely associated with Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine.

Carl Jung also had a fondness for Telephoros. He carved this sentence in a stone at his estate in Bolligen, Switzerland:

‘Time extending through the ages is a child playing at a game of chance. The child is king. Telephoros runs through the dark places of the world like a star sparkling in the depths, leading the way to the gates of the sun and the land of dream.’

To the modern mind, so much of what happens around us and to us seems so pointless. So accidental. So inconceivably beyond our ability to do anything about it. Our world perfectly acts out Jung’s metaphorical child playing his game of chance – great things happen. Accidents happen. Bad things happen to good people. We are overjoyed. We suffer. Despairing because chance implies randomness, suggesting non-order, no pattern, senselessness… one look around us could easily confirm this as truth. And yet…

‘Telephoros runs through the dark places of the world like a star sparkling in the depths, leading the way to the gates of the sun and the land of dream.’

To the ancient mind, most worldly or psychological forces were personified – it’s simply much easier to relate to a person or animal than to a concept of something. So our very human need for completion and purpose became Telephoros, personified as a dwarf, wearing a hood or cap and carrying a lantern. Dwarfs stand as a guardian of the threshold between the conscious and the unconscious realms. They traditionally have a life hidden from mankind, preferring twilight and night to daytime. I like to think Telephoros, when he’s not gatekeeping, carries his lantern through the depths of our personal and collective unconscious, shedding light on that which is in darkness, illuminating through dreams and longings what remains black and unknown in our waking hours. He casts a glimmer of purpose, balance and completion into the darkness of misunderstanding. He runs beyond limited concepts of time and space, acknowledging those things that appear accidental or random or unfinished. Holding his small light, he hurries ahead, urging us to the gates of the sun, the place of illumination, where life can be seen in its wholeness.
If we choose to entertain Telesphoros’ metaphor, we will find it easier if we adopt an attitude of faith that outside of time and mind heartaches will end, opposites are reconciled and healing is accomplished. The price of this faith is our willingness to allow light into our darkness.
Can we allow things the right to exist as they are, beyond our human compulsion to categorize them as good or bad, wrong or right, timely or untimely? Can we begin to conceive of a metaphorical space where opposites are reconciled and everything brought to completion- in its own time? Can we be ok with that? With not knowing? With letting something so important to us be ultimately out of our hands?
Compassion, deep self-love, acceptance, gratitude, mystery – these are concepts that we must personally personify in order to connect with the ancient belief echoed by every great teacher throughout time – that beyond our understanding, somehow, all is made right, things are cared for and everything matters.


Meditating on or moving with Telephoros can be particularly enlightening. (puns are good!)
In my drawing, Anam Cara, I’ve put the symbol for the feminine on his cape, indicating his integration with the intuitive feminine shadow world of dreams and the unconscious. Jung seems to have included the symbol for Venus on his Telephoros figure. ( I’m not sure if this is certain, but it makes sense.) Metaphorically balancing all energies,(i.e. healing), contemplating the concept of Telephoros provides a bridge to the idea of completion, integration, acceptance and ultimately surrender. Light a candle placed in a bowl of water. This is a great symbol of light in the unconscious realm.

Now… imagine seeing a book below the surface of a lake that is smooth as glass. Reach into the water and pull up the book. Watch the ripples as they recede and return the water to stillness. Notice the clouds float by in the reflection of the sky. Are you on the shore? In a boat? is the water cool? Is it a hot day? Do you hear birds? what do you smell? This sort of detail really gets your self involved and often allows things to drift to the surface that just as well might have remained on the bottom…. Become aware of what’s around you. Whenever you are ready, go curl up by the foot of an great oak tree and imagine reading that book!

The Castle

7 Jun
janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014



janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014

janet balboa, Anam Cara detail, marker and colored pencil, c. 20014


Ever forward, but slowly…

New project and…marker paper!

29 May
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

Here’s my new project. I love, love, line drawings! I always intend to complete the entire image in ink before I color…but that never happens. I grab the markers and pencils. I suppose I can’t wait for it to begin to ‘come alive’. (forgive my photography – the darkness- took it with my phone)


canson marker paper

This picture is 19 x 24 inches, one of the largest I’ve done recently. I drew it out  out in pencil on marker paper. If you’ve never tried marker paper – try it. Get a small pad…  Initially, I was scared to death to use it. After using Bristol for 30 years, marker paper seems incredibly thin and flimsy, but actually, it’s not. It wrinkles and loses that pristine smooth look very quickly but then  begins to adapt itself to the drawing – much like working on vellum. I think the Irish Monks would have used marker paper if they could have got their hands on it. No skinning of animals necessary either. The markers hold their brightness and colored pencils float over the top making for some amazing effects. Marker paper holds up fairly well to erasing, but I usually retrace my entire drawing from an original piece of marker paper or vellum where I’ve done  my initial sketches. I keep a folder full of the sketches and drawings that eventually get transferred to the final  piece of paper.


solar medallion

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

lunar medallion

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

 I got this great copper look on the solar medallion  (found on the right hand side of the ink drawing above). Mainly done with prismacolor markers.  The Lunar medallion(left side of larger drawing) looks more like shell;  burnishing with a white pencil gave that effect.  ;)


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