Posted by: Inner~Creative~Voice | January 10, 2008

Painting…getting it down onto the paper


So often we feel that we need to “paint or draw something that looks real…or just like it looks to our eye”.  Julia Cameron in the Artist’s Way speaks of “putting it down”…this resonates with me. 

For the mandalas above, I chose just one image, one shape, or one color from a dream, or a meditation-something I saw during the day. This brings me peace.  I just “put it down” on the paper. The mandala’s circular shape seems to help me to keep it small, like a snapshot or a telescope. Then, I feel safe.  I choose the images/color and let my hand and the brush do the work.

My eye or intuition will speak and suggest other minute details….like a second color or a shape I remember.   Adding just that “one more” thing usually brings the piece alive for me and helps me to remember.

Spirals show up a great deal in my paintings and life…one great joy for me.  What colors and shapes did you see today?  or in your dreams?



  1. Wow, what a question. What colors and shapes did you see today? I am an artist by soul, but I make my living working in a large glass building with elevators and fluorescent lights. I don’t see shapes at work. I only feel the life force draining out of me. But being outside reminds me of who I am. That’s where I see shapes.

    Today when I went outside I saw the craggy shapes of old trees. I saw the shape of a tall smooth hill.

    Thank you so much for this question.

  2. I see squares, rectangles, cinder blocks, floor tiles, keyboard keys, calculator buttons. I am ordering protozoans, sea sponges, and glass vials. The protozoans are cylindrical or long ovals, the vials are cylindrical, too. If the protozoans were in the vials, there would be images of long and thin together, inside of each other, the protozoans moving up and down within the vial almost like the pistons in a car engine. Hmph – that reminds me. My truck is in the shop. Now I see dollar signs…funny. The protozoans moving inside of the vial was a peaceful image, then my stomach lurches at the thought of the truck payment. One shape can take you to the next so rapidly! Where do your spirals come from? Where did they originate? Or are they a theme that has carried itself along through different meanings? I’m curious. You should write more about them. Why do they bring you joy?

  3. Hi Caroline,
    I, too, gain so much inspiration from the wonder of nature. I love looking at your drawings…crayon!!! Fabulous!

  4. protozoans…where do they come from ? What do they do?

    Spirals…I gave this some thought…ancient as the womb to me…spinning, dancing, into darkness and back into light…simple to draw when doodling, then leads to thinking. Sprials are a symbol that resonates with me without really knowing why. Perhaps the mystery itself holds the power. I know I have read a bit on spirals and their ancient meanings to ancient cultures, but what significance to they have for me here in the present?

    Will continue to ponder this. The simple joy and movement of spirals is what comes to mind initially. I will look into my dreams and see what they tell me:)

  5. Protozoans are typically single-celled organisms that live anywhere moist (soil, bodies of other organisms, ponds, etc.). They are at the bottom of the food chain, but are important in decomposing many things. One example is that of a protozoan called “Trichonympha” which lives in the gut of a termite. Termites cannot diget wood, this protozoan contains an enzyme that helps them do that. Without them, the termite would not be able to live on their diet! They help to aerate and add nutrients to our lakes, rivers, and streams. Some are very hardy, others are fragile. They can be all different shapes, but most typical protozoans are cylindrical or egg shaped. Some have cilia (small hairs) on them to move. Others just let the water take them where they need to be. An amoeba is another example of a protozoan.

    Here ends your science lesson for the day. I’ll forward some pictures of them to you, they are incredibly beautiful to draw…

  6. Amazing…I look forward to the pictures:) I remember amoeba under the microscope in bio 101.

  7. I think your artwork is pretty neat. I like the way you associate it with daily living.

    For me, this concept, the need to create a slice of reality, manifests in a burning desire to “make the computer do something”. Sometimes, it’s as simple as generating a visual pattern, other times, it’s more like a desire to put a complex equation into a simple graph.
    (Like my budget, LOL!)

    I don’t always have to write a complete program, I just want to see the machine do a trick or two.
    Perhaps there is a relationship with the mandalas, although I don’t claim there is, nor can I figure out if what I’m describing is even in the same plane.

    I do get joy from the process. Is this due to the catharsis of “getting it out of your system” or is it simply the joy of creation?



  8. love the connection,Mitch:) I agree with you, anytime we are receiving joy from a project, as you stated, I believe that is creating…creating our lives through whatever medium speaks to us!
    thanks for your post:)

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