Monday, April 21, 2014

Blueprint for Enlightenment II

Blueprint for Enlightenment II
ingredients: vintage book cover, vintage ephemera, woodblock prints, image transfer, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencil, vintage game pieces, metallic gel pen

I had lots of fun with this piece, just allowing myself to play with materials without giving much thought to what it all means.  I called it Blueprint for Enlightment II, mainly because the bright blue pencil I used reminds me of the color in a cyanotype/blueprint, and because the drawing is of the Tibetan Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. He is often depicted woth 1000 arms and 11 heads, but I left off most of the arms as well as some of the heads in my version.

"According to Mahāyāna (Buddhist) doctrine, Avalokiteśvara is the bodhisattva (enlightened being) who has made a great vow to assist sentient beings in times of difficulty, and to postpone his own Buddhahood until he has assisted every sentient being in achieving Nirvana.... [The Chinese version of] this bodhisattva is variably depicted as male or female, and may also be referred to simply as Guanyin."  (Wikipedia)

"It is said that the personification of perfect Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) Bodhisattva (a great being who aspires to help all sentient beings be free of suffering before entering the bliss of Buddhahood), in the beginning of His/Her Bodhisattva career of helping sentient beings, vowed that "Should He ever become disheartened in saving sentient beings, may His body shatter into a thousand pieces." This might seem extreme, but it was symbolic of His overwhelming great Compassion and determination.

One day, while helping beings in a higher realm, He looked down into the hells which He had emptied through the teaching of the Dharma, and realised, to His dismay, that countless beings were still flooding into them. In a moment of exasperation, He became so disheartened that true to His vow, His body shattered in great agitation and despair. Despite this, He did not just give up — His consciousness beseeched the Buddhas for help. Of the Buddhas who came to aid Him, one was Amitabha Buddha, who became His Guru (personal teacher) Buddha. With the Buddha's miraculous powers, He attained a new form — one with a thousand helping hands of Compassion coupled with the eyes of Wisdom in each palm. With this, He renewed His vow to saving not just limited sentient beings, but all sentient beings."  (Buddhist Studies)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Searching for RoyGBiv: GREEN

I'm not feeling very wordy today, but let me just say that "GREEN" came around at the perfect time. 

After an extended period of WHITE...

and GRAY,

 GREEN is popping out all over at long last!

 The beautiful bright baby green of new leaves budding out...

 the soft bluish-green of lambs' ears peeking through the ground...

 the new shoots on a little pine tree, reaching for the sky...

 cattails and tiny water plants,

surrounded by freshly fallen petals...

and, as always, the fresh, soothing green of the Kinneyconnick Creek!

For even more GREEN adventures, check out the blogs of our Searching for RoyGBiv hostesses, Jennifer Coyne Qudeen and Julie Booth, where you'll find links to the greens of other Search participants!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Often I am struck, and deeply touched, by how willing some people are to share their inner life with their blog readers. When I read posts such as Jude Hill's 'As a child I was very afraid', or Denise of grrl+dog's 'My Dad as a Voodoo Doll', I feel I have been given a gift.  A gift of trust. After all, how could you put yourself out there like that without a great amount of trust that someone would read it with an open mind, without making judgements? How can they trust that anyone is even interested in their most private, personal stories? These people, I think, are very brave.

I often feel that no one wants to know about my real feelings, as if even friends and family members are only thinking of what they want to say next instead of actually listening while I blather on. And this may well be the case. But sometimes I think that maybe I should try to be brave, especially when something happens in my life that makes it hard for me to carry on as normal. The death of someone very dear to me, who has always been there to love and support me since the day I was born, certainly qualifies as one of those events.

ingredients: vintage book covers, vintage ephemera such as stamps, book pages and handwritten notebook pages, ribbon, lace, vintage game piece, monotype, stitching

I made this piece two days after my grandmother's funeral.  It seems that making art is my way of processing things.

About being brave - I'm not very good at it.

The Summer Day 
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?