Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Elegance Mandala

holiday elegance mandalaHoliday Elegance Mandala - (Holiday 2009 series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image: decorative kaledecorative kale

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony ~William Ellery Channing

During the process of creating this mandala, I started to think about my mother. She was a woman who loved all things elegant, and I learned a lot about that quality from her. It shows up all over the place in my art, in my choices of color, in my preferences for having things "just so." This Martha Stewart perfectionism of hers pretty much drove me and my dad crazy, because there was no making her happy. As I grew older our relationship was harder and harder to sustain, but I did make my peace with her by the time she passed away.

By the time this mandala was finished, I was thinking Mom would have liked this. She was at her finest at Christmas time, with everything sparkly and glittery. She found the most wonderful ornaments for the Christmas tree, the best wrapping paper, and she made everything look special. I am grateful to her for these qualities. It keeps me striving to find that certain way of expressing my vision.

I'm not sure if she ever saw decorative kale in person. I never saw it until I left the Midwest for California, where plants like this grow in winter. I'm pretty sure she would have loved it. This is an elegant plant, with its delicate frills and symmetrical beauty.

So today, a week before Christmas, I want to say thanks to kale for being so beautiful and thanks to Mom for helping me find ways of expressing beauty in my own way.

How do you, as the daughter of your mom (or son of your father) share similarities with your parent and how have you grown past them?

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas



spldbch said...

I aspire to be more like my mother. She is always looking for ways to help someone in need. She is one of the least selfish people I know.

Becca Allison said...

This is truly beautiful, Sue. I always think of my mother at Christmas, too, and I think she was a lot like yours in that she loved beautiful things and instilled that love in me as well. Though my parents had very little money, they always made Christmas special and magical for my younger brother and me. My mother was also "difficult", but the older I get, the more I understand her. Have a wonderful Christmas!

dianeclancy said...

Hi Sue - this is so lovely!! I also love the original ... it is so delicate!!

It is so wonderful as we learn to love our families as they are and make peace with so many things ... whew!!

A happy joyous season to you!

~ Diane Clancy*