Tag Archives: work in progress

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

Research for Mary Magdalene

30 Aug

mary magdalene 828This August, I have read through piles of books, weird and not so weird, factual and conjectural, both fantastically and poorly researched.  Here’s my research for this picture so far:

 Jean-Yves Leloup’s Gospell of Mary Magdalene. (I was so wrong when I felt I hadn’t encountered Mary Magdalene before. She is all over my bookshelves already). I love Leloup. The French have a very different attitude and conception of The Magdalene than we do (here in the American Midwest) and it is refreshing and lovely to hear his passion for this woman shine thru his writing.

I had also forgot I read The Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird at the same time I read Leloup. A great read, but she can be incredibly lax about footnotes and references.

Starbird’s Magdalene’s Lost Legacy and The Goddess in the Gospels. This gets deep into the gematria supposedly occurring in the greek bible. If you are willing to play along, this is a fascinating read. By playing along, I mean being able to be open minded when beliefs and opinions are challenged. I found it fascinating.

I learned Sacred Geometry from Lars Howlet and Richard Feather Anderson this summer at Veriditas. I added Sacred Geometry by Miranda Lundy. This is a really simple introduction that gets you up and drawing in seconds. Get a good compass! Robert Ferre’s Classical Labyrinths explains more of the feminine in sacred geometry as it applies to labyrinths.

Lauren Artress Walking a Sacred Path. I read this in ’96 gave that copy to my dad this summer, and received the fancy updated version from Lauren herself this summer. Lauren is a Episcopalian Priest, psychotherapist, and writer, and founder of Veriditas. If you need to start from a religious standpoint, this is an ideal place to begin your adventure.

Mary Magdalene

30 Aug

Unexpectedly working on a beautiful new picture. I returned from a Labyrinth Training Workshop at Veriditas, to find that my mom had cancer again. This is her 4th time; each prior time she has been successfully treated and her cancer resolved. She has a truly fantastic team of doctors and feels very safe in their care. So I’m glad for that and thankful that she’s fine. Again. Or as she says, ‘for now’.marymagbalene822

And soon after, somewhere in all the time and space that was this summer, Mary showed up. I wasn’t sure which Mary, so I just started sketching what I could see the day I felt inspired by her. My guess it was all the mom energy, the feminine energy of the Labyrinth, the deep stirring of the feminine in our society, and my need to connect even more profoundly to Mother Earth and my body/temple that prompted her visit. I didn’t find it weird because my work always shows up with a vague concept that needs drawing out. Literally . I was surprised that it was Mary, because I’m not Catholic, so she never really played a large role in my consciousness. Certainly I know of them, actually all three of them, and am aware of the confusion over which Mary is which. Will the Real Mary Magdalene please stand up? Well she did, for me anyway, and what a surprise to see, looking back, that the day I first drew her was July 22nd. Even a little research shows that this is traditionally the feast day of The Magdalene. She continues to evolve. My mom continues to be well.marym826

Kiss a frog…

5 Jun 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 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 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

 

The work for today. A Northern Leopard frog. And why, exactly, is there a frog in this picture(among other things)?

The water represents the unconscious, and the frog symbolizes that which can move between both realms- the conscious and the unconscious. The unconscious at first may appear as frightening and dangerous, but as we  reconcile this aspect of our self we take another step towards wholeness and self- acceptance. It is exactly our neurosis, our unwanted parts that make us unique and lovely. Remember the frog prince? The princess wants nothing to do with him, but when kissed, he reveals himself to be a handsome prince…so go ahead…kiss a frog  – warts and all.

Newgrange and a little non-action

30 Jul

Working on a still life of sorts, rocks and some local plants. Local as in my garden- which is a lovely mess right now! All the full blooms of summer.

image

image

image

image

image

The rock in the center will hold the design of the entrance stone to Newgrange, an ancient structure on the north side of the river Boyne in Ireland. Older than Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids -built  5000 years ago. Beautiful theory that the 3 spiral/triskele design represents the human gestation period, with each spiral representing 3 months. Nine months of our year, incubating, whether an actual child (or dreams and ideas,) sets the stage for a future birth or harvest…
In this piece I’m wishing to create a feeling of dynamic contemplation, of that place before action, where we create, fine tune and imagine our dreams into being.
I think that this introspective, before-action period is critical- most times our creations stay with us throughout our lives in one way or another.
It’s against my impulsive nature, but I’ve learned that it pays huge dividends to spend time with my imaginations before I let them trot out into the big wide world alone. What is the saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Harder to change things once they show up and have a life of their own. So I’m learning to …sit…still…

celebrating woman

13 Mar
aspects of woman

Marker paper with lovely rapidograph pens, (which I didn’t have to clean because I remembered to when I finished the last drawing) colored with prismacolour pencils and markers

Here is the progress on the three aspects of woman; maiden, mother and crone. ‘Wise woman’? Yeah, it nices it up , but there are days(and moods) let’s face it, when ‘crone’ is much more descriptive!  This is one of those projects which is drawing itself- Isis showed up suddenly in the fire fifth- didn’t see her coming. I intended a phoenix. I took the picture with my phone, and cut off a significant amount of the picture. This is why I draw instead of take pictures.

Wisdom

31 Jan
triple goddess

this is the very center of an 11 x 17 work in progress.

I have two works in progress right now; one is a celebration of us women who are fast approaching the other half of their lives- the half where wisdom is more appropriate than stiletto’s. It’s relatively easy to see the shoes go- all I have to do is look at my 17 and 19 year old daughters as they raid my closet and try on shoes that they themselves aren’t even ready to wear yet- but I can see as they stand there, towering over me in my beloved high heels, that the day is not so far off after all. They are beautiful and young, with so much life and adventure ahead of them. The passing of the baton is not difficult for me, I look at the two of them with so much wonder and excitement for the possibilities ahead of them, which, I am sure will eventually go far, far beyond and much deeper than their adolescent love of external beauty and fashion. They are beautiful inside as well as out. How do you tell them that ‘this’, this fixation on ones’ looks and accomplishment is temporary. fleeting? At twenty it seemed to me too, that I had a whole life in front of me- that youth would last forever and beauty was, well, just a new face cream or wrinkle remover away.

There isn’t much in this culture to tell our youth otherwise. And this is where the crone, the ‘old’ wise women comes in…we women have to start cultivating our wisdom now, not wait until we are indeed old in spirit as well as body. We need to open our hearts so that our spirit will grow younger, full of insight and knowledge cultivated from an honest assessment of the lessons life has brought to us. We need to understand our purpose – that our incredible value goes much further than raising children, holding a job or giving to charities. We are desperately needed to become a wellspring for those following- for every woman who doesn’t do the work necessary to bring her story to fruition, there are girls and boys who will miss the wisdom only she could have provided.

How do we do this work? By loving ourselves. By taking an honest assessment of our lives, accepting and allowing all of our rich experiences, not judging ourselves, but seeing our lives with love and compassion for who we are now, and for who we will choose to become.

By simply allowing our lives to  matter, our experiences will translate into worth and meaning for others. Our culture does not support this. It is difficult work. It will not be accomplished by any cream, surgery or vitamin…the results, however, are guaranteed to be truly life changing and affirming. You may never know the far-reaching results of your hard-learned lessons. But if you begin to look out over your life at this moment and start to recognize patterns of joy and suffering, of bliss and despair- out of this close looking will come wisdom. The beautiful, unique person that you are has so much to offer to the world, and the older we get the richer and more fascinating the story. Mine your treasure for all that it is worth. Be willing to give birth to your story. It will be silent at first and only carried deep inside of you. That is the beginning.

today’s portrait in the works

3 May

I love zinnias. And portraits. I have three or four pieces that I’m working on right now. I used to stick to one piece from start to finish, in fear of the dreaded

‘Why don’t you ever finish what you start?”

My husband, who is the reason everything in our lives runs so smoothly, has never actually said this to me, but I know he worries a little about my non-linear process, where nothing has a clear beginning or end. I used to worry about this too. Not so much anymore.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more comfortable with myself and my work style- plus, I get too many new ideas and too easily BORED to stick to one thing. This picture though is my favorite today. I love to do portraits with a unexpected backgrounds. More fun to create.

Wow – I just realized a blog perk! Accountability. I feel as though I have to get moving on this now that you have seen it. Hmmm…could also be seen as pressure…I love it!

%d bloggers like this: