When I began this project, the idea was that I would create a series of mandalas depicting what the inside of my heart looked like, and the commitment was that I would not stop until I had completed 100 of them. I agreed with myself that I would "tell" the truth, and that I would finish every picture I started, even the ones that looked "stupid" or "inept" or just downright "terrible".

My sister was the catalyst that got this project started. She was working on illustrations for a book she had written and was very excited and enthusiastic about art as a spiritual practice, and a way to connect with God. I, on the other hand, was pretty sure that there would never be a spiritual practice that would ever work for me, and that my life was pretty much a pointless exercise in futility.

At the time, I was working nights at a job that I felt was killing me mentally and emotionally, spending long hours deep in the night reading true crime novels, flipping through magazines, playing computer games, and feeling depressed.

As we talked about art, and God, and life on earth, I began to have ideas, and it occurred to me that maybe, since I wasn't doing anything anyway, it might be "fun" or "interesting" to create a series of mandalas. This would at least give me something "useful" to do at work, and if I made them small enough, and if I made enough of them, I could make them into a book and eventually I would have something colorful for my children and grandchildren to look at.

I chose black paper because it seemed to reflect my mood at the time, and I chose wax pastels (art crayons) because they were portable and there would be no problems using them at work. My expectations were that I would create a series of geometric shapes, and that they might even be colorful or interesting.

I had no idea of the inner terrain that I would soon be exploring. The second picture I made - Inside my Heart - came as a total surprise. And before long I had a whole family of characters.. the witchdoctor, the ditzy blond, a little dog, a tiger. If you look at the pictures in chronological order you can see the progression of thought and growth.

I am currently hard at work on my second series Fire in the Belly, a series of 25 "mandalas" or pictures, this time on 12" by 12" red paper. When I have six completed pieces - I will post them, and prints will be made available.

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