Saturday, January 31, 2009

SIGNS OF SPRING

spring burst mandalaSpring Burst Mandala - (Circles of Spring Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - ornamental plum tree leaf buds

plum tree budsYesterday on a morning walk I noticed the ornamental plum trees are starting to bud. When I first moved to California more than twenty years ago, watching these delicate pale pink flowers blossom while the world east of this coastal paradise was blanketed in snow excited me no end. I would suspect that by this time next Saturday the trees will be totally in bloom.

I hope over the next couple of weeks to follow the progress of this plum tree's opening. It is such a pleasure for me to record the natural beauty of my surroundings that inspire me so.

This is my 241st blog post. When I reach post #250 in about two weeks, I will be announcing details for an opportunity to win a mandala intuitively created by me for the winner. Stay tuned for more details.

And don't forget to visit my analog blog, Sue Doodles. Change is in the air!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

WINTER LACE

winter lace mandalaWinter Lace Mandala - (Winter Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - snow on tree branches

I remember the peaceful feeling of the beauty of snow on tree limbs. I am grateful to my buddy John Mora for letting me borrow one of his photos of Long Island snow. I doubt that I will be anywhere near that white stuff anytime soon. My prayers and best wishes go out to those experiencing the hazards of winter. Seems like Mother Earth needs to be rebalanced as well. Please be safe out there.

For those of you who love mandalas, I also wanted to give a shout out to Melody Cummons ambitious blog project A Million Mandalas for Peace.
It is an honor for me to be part of her vision of peace. Melody is always looking for contributors. I hope you will consider participating in her project.

Thank you for visiting. Don't forget to stop by my analog blog, Sue Doodles

Friday, January 23, 2009

THE GLORY OF LOVE

love's glory mandalaLove's Glory Mandala - (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - piers japonica

Slowly but surely color is returning to my part of the world. Last weekend I went out for a walk and captured photographs of first hints of spring. Piers japonica is a shrub that is used in a lot of landscaping where I live. In a few weeks little white flowers that look like lily of the valley will begin to appear.

The mandala speaks to me of the power of love...glorious, deeply abiding, receptive and unconditional.

In case you hadn't noticed, music is an important part of my creative life.(Turn up your speakers!) I love finding different songs to accompany my art. The first four selections on this playlist were especially chosen for this mandala; all of the songs really are about love in one theme or another. I would invite you to minimize my blog and then go about your business ...wherever you go after you leave here...and enjoy the serenade, let the words embrace you.

(Of course, those of you reading from email or an RSS feed will have to come to the blog)


Go in peace.

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Sunday, January 18, 2009

THE FOUR FOLD WAY

four fold way mandalaFour Fold Way Mandala - (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - coyote brush

Coyote Brush, a chapparal plant related to the sunflower, grows abundantly all along the coast of California and up into Oregon. It is resistant to predators because it has a soapy taste and resistant to fire and land clearings because of its deep root system. Coastal Miwok Indians used the leaves to reduce swelling and the stems for arrow shafts. (from Blue Planet Biomes).

I have Coyote Brush growing in my back yard and on a recent sunny day was able to capture photos of its flowers, which have now gone to seed. When the sun shines on the dandelion - like fluff, it glows like angel wings.

I have taken my time in publishing this mandala because I wanted to see what messages it had to share; today I hear it saying: Be resiliant, be creative, be open, be nurturing. These
words also embrace my intent for more balance in my life. I know
that the other component of intent is the action to carry out this
intent.

What does this mandala say to you?

(credit must also be given to Angeles Arrien and her book The Four-Fold Way:Wallking the Paths of Warrier, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary as another influence in the naming of this mandala)



Friday, January 09, 2009

THE PROCESS OF DREAMS

green dreams mandalaGreen Dreams - (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009


dreams in focus mandalaDreams in Focus - (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - rosemary

What distinguishes us one from another is our dreams . . . and what we do to make them come about ~ Joseph Epstein

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I watched the movie The Pursuit of Happyness the other night . (I'm catching up on all those great movies I've never seen before with the purchase of a new DVD player, but that's another story.) In that movie Will Smith's character pursued his dreams against unbelievable odds. I have been thinking about what it takes to make our dreams come true. Just how far would we go, would we risk, to make it happen?

When I was creating these mandalas I was unhappy with the initial results, so I removed a layer and softened another and created an image in a way I had never tried before. It was later in the evening and the soft dreamy quality appealed to me. When I woke in the morning I wondered what would happen if I gave it more definition. I liked the patterning, still soft yet glowy and filled with light, that I added back to the mandala. What was fascinating to me, during the time I was creating both of these images, was that I could swear I could smell the distinguishing aroma of rosemary in the room.
Rosemary can enhance memory, and it is also good for correcting apathy and mental fatigue. An exhilarating oil, it instills enthusiasm and bolsters self-confidence, restoring faith in our innate potential. As rosemary boosts the memory, it is a reminder of your true calling in life. ~ from Sanctuary Aromatherapy
Bringing dreams into focus is a process. The more we can define them with clarity, the more time we are willing to savor and then act, the more likely I believe we will be able to manifest our dreams.

I spent 2008 delving deeper into my art as well as going back to a 40 hour work week for the first time in five years. It was a strengthening year for me. In 2009 I want to work more towards getting my artistic dreams out in the world in a more concrete way. I will write more about that soon.

And stay tuned for post #250 too! It will involve winning a mandala created especially for you!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

OBSERVE THE WONDERS

1000 DAYS OF SUN1000 Days of Sun - (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2009
source image - dead hydrangeas

Observe the wonders that are all around us ~ Rumi

I have been waiting for a day of no rain and hopefully even a little sunshine. I like to create mandalas from recently taken photographs, while the energy of the photoshoot is still fresh in my psyche. It was pretty cold here last night and frosty this morning, but all that white coating had melted by the time I got out with my camera. The sun never really did come out. Delicately-veined dead hydrangeas did, however, catch my eye.

Over at my doodle blog, I have been playing with mehndi-inspired mandalas. The mandala brushes I used in the background of this image were created from those hand-drawn mandalas. I've been looking for different ways to integrate my digital and non-digital mandala worlds and this is just the beginning.

This mandala makes me feel happy. I'm not sure what the significance of the title is, but when I asked for a name this is what came back to me. I think the image has a Mid-Eastern energy, and so it seemed natural to include one of Rumi's quotes in this post. I love Rumi.

This is my 237th post. Look for something exciting when I get to 250! Details to follow.

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Thursday, January 01, 2009

STAYING IN BALANCE

new year miracleNew Year Miracle - (Holiday series) - © 2009 Sue O'Kieffe
source image - dandelion gone to seed

When considerng creating a mandala for 2009, I wanted to make one using a basic four rayed structure, because 1/1/2009 breaks down to 4 numerologically (1+1+2+9=13 1+3=4). Fours are the number of structure and stability. During these shaky times we are facing, I think it is good to assume we are stabilized and work towards the change we need to make it so in our lives.

I have been contemplating my intentions and the theme I want to embrace for the coming year. Last year I explored Wonder and Mystery a lot in my art. Not only has my digital art grown in depth, but I have also embraced the non-digital world with gusto. I hope you have discovered my doodle blog in your wanderings. Letting go of my fear of drawing has been liberating and given me the courage to be free to explore whatever I want. Possibilities are limitless!
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Well, I had hoped that this would be posted in time to go out with FeedBlitz's Jan 1st mailings, but it didn't and I think it's just as well. As I was thinking and writing upon rising this morning (Happy New Year everyone!), I realized the word I have been looking for is Balance. It has been showing up for a much of this past year with all of my green mandalas. Green is the color of the heart, the fourth chakra, the balance point between mind and body.

When I look at this image, I see the old being swept out and the new being welcomed in.

Balance means
  • being willing to step up to myself
  • being willing to let go of old stories that no longer serve me
  • being willing to change the structures of my life to shift where my life is "out of balance"
  • being willing to keep my heart open while maintaining my boundaries and listening to my gut
  • being willing to become more transparent
  • being willing to share my feelings more honestly
  • being willing to include care of the physical and financial body, as well as the emotional, mental, spiritual, and creative bodies; when one of these is out of balance, the rest of me suffers
  • being willing to investigate ways of opening up and expanding my art business
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Last night I heard a local DJ read this article on her radio program about the numerological aspects of 2009. It echoed for me the basic feeling I have at the pit of my stomach that we are shifting into a better, more hopeful year. Take the time to read it. It's good stuff.

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas