Finding my art as an older personFinding my art as an older person has been very interesting. I’d always found creativity in crafts — knitting, jewellry, embroidery, and the like — but these mandalas feel different. They become photographs, but they would still be art whether I photographed them or not. Without the image, they’d shrivel up and blow away. The photographs are how I made them accessible to others, and more permanent to myself.
When I first started sharing these, a friend lent me a book, The Paper Garden by poet Molly Peacock. It’s a biography of Mary Delaney. Mary was born in 1700. She married young, and was widowed early. She remarried much later in life, and when he died, she was overwhelmed by grief. Four years later, when she was 72, she started cutting out bits of colored paper, gluing them to black paper, and building up botanically correct “paper mosaicks” of flowers. She made 985 of them. They’re amazing, and now in the British Museum.
My mandalas came out of the pandemic, the chaos of politics, and the Woodward fire. I was sixty-nine when I started on June 3, 2020, and didn’t know that I’d establish a daily practice that’s taken me well into my 70th year. I’ve thought more and more about expanding my art, doing it in different ways, learning to paint them or I’m not sure what. These two are my first foray into combining fresh materials with watercolors. Started playing around, and quickly learned that they’re called watercolors for a reason — you want to use lots of water to get the soft effect. Don’t know where this is going, but it’s great fun.