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Draw the Circle Wide Completed

Draw the Circle Wide – Layers    $1,000   Mixed media collage on gessoboard        5-2017  30″ x 30″

The name of this collage is the chorus of a song we sing at the Unitarian Fellowship I attend. We sang it this summer while I was working on this mandala and it really fit with my vision for this piece. I regularly journal about things I’m grateful for, sometimes in a journal and sometimes in my art. So, on top of the collaged layers I did a variety of journaling and then included the eponymous lyrics.

For the next layer I used acrylic glazes to paint an iris on top of everything. I really wanted parts of all the pieces to be hinted at in the final product so I covered it with a large neutral glaze and used some hydrangea leaves as masks to keep some of the layers visible. Then I used my big compass to draw a large torus mandala. I really love the shapes and possibilities of this expression of sacred geometry. I have to say if geometry had been taught using this when I was in high school I might have become an engineer or architect.

“Sacred Geometry charts the unfolding of number in space. It differs from mundane geometry purely in the sense that the moves and concepts involved are regarded as having symbolic value, and thus, like good music, facilitate the evolution of the soul.”                    Sacred Geometry (2001) by Miranda Lundy

I then created individual pieces to fit into each space in the mandala. I was inspired by a community mandala that I facilitated at the Unitarian Fellowship where individuals and families contributed pieces to a 72-piece torus mandala. I had never created such a large piece before and I really enjoyed the scale.

Throughout the process I struggled with how much of the background to let show through and I kept wanting to add more layers, so I did. Fortunately, some of the background layers are still visible and some just suggested when the piece is viewed in person.

Draw the Circle Wide Layers

Draw the Circle Wide-Transparencies     $1,000   Mixed media collage on gessoboard  9-2017  30″ x 30″

I planned to make a pair of mandalas for my living room. I used colors, textures, and designs that I enjoy. While I believe that either one works on it’s own, I really enjoy them together. In this mandala I continued to explore the layers, but I wanted more to show through. I put fewer layers so that each one was more distinct.

Creating these large mandalas was very satisfying and provided me with many hours engaged in the process and thinking about them. I have migraines most days and endometriosis. I spend a lot of time laying in a dark, usually quiet, room with my ice pack, heating pads and my imagination. I spend a lot of that time thinking about the pieces I’m working on and imaging different ways to take the collage. My skills as a collage artist are beginning to allow me to make what I imagine, but sometimes things turn out differently than I imagined. The large neutral glaze in the first mandala didn’t come out as I imagined, but it led me down very interesting paths. In this piece I continued to work with layers of glazes to find a balance of color and texture that I greatly enjoy. When I had both of these pieces on top of my bookcases I spent a lot of time enjoying them.

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Mandala with Rhododendrons   $225       Mixed media collage on canvas  5-2017  11″ x 14″

This collage is part of a process I have been going through for the past few years. I take a canvas that I’m not satisfied with and I collage and play with art supplies to make a fresh substrate. I take a lot of photographs of flowers and I’m always looking for ways to integrate flowers and my photos into my collages. I have been painting flowers on paper and adding them to collages as a finishing touch. The mandala was drawn using the Zentangle® Method of drawing patterns. I find this method of drawing to be a wonderful meditation. It also allows me to work in small increments when I’m not feeling well and after a few days or weeks I have created something that I find very satisfying. I drew and shaded this mandala on tissue paper and then collaged it to the canvas. This is a tricky process and the paper tore a little and that happy accident led to the placement of the rhododendrons. This was a very satisfying recreation of an old piece.

eclipse mandala

Eclipse Mandala                $450      Mixed media collage on canvas    8-2017  16″ x 20″ 

The total eclipse of the sun was one of the highlights of my summer. This was another canvas refreshment and it was inspired by some of the images of what was called the diamond ring effect or Bailey’s beads. Those images changed how I looked at this canvas that I had painted at a Paint and Sip fundraiser for a little boy with cancer. It has always been an emotionally charged painting for me, even if it was not my style of painting. After the eclipse I saw it with new eyes and it became the sky behind the eclipse. Of course, I had to add patterns in white on my black moon and I greatly enjoyed playing with this variation on the Zentangle® Method. I was very happy when someone at the exhibit noticed that the gold paper of the diamond ring was made of a page from the dictionary talking about scientific facts about the Earth. My papers are generally selected with thought and care and it really made my day to have someone notice that detail.

JeanetteClawson_StillAssemblingThePieces_Mixed media on gessoboard_16x16

Still Assembling the Pieces           $375       Mixed media collage on gessoboard  9-2017  16″ x 16″

This piece was also inspired by news stories of the past summer. For years I have had a few old Life magazines that I use in my collages. This particular article has always spoken to me. I am an advocate for social justice and I have 2 adopted sons who are African-American. Usually I use my art as a soothing meditation. This one forced its way out of me. The mandala pieces kept stalking my thoughts as I absorbed news stories about Black Lives Matter and kneeling at sporting events. My sons and I have known all their lives that we have not made as much progress on Theodore Parker and Dr. King’s “arc of the moral universe” as you would think we had when you saw Barack Obama as our intelligent and capable President. Now white people know it too. The racists have been given permission to be overt in their behavior. The Ride for Rights needs to continue and I was compelled to create this piece to acknowledge that “We the People” doesn’t include everyone, yet. Again, the selection of papers was very mindful in this piece. The mandala pieces are made from a reproduction of Constitution, the dictionary page including the word “justice,” and meaningful selections from the article. It was a creative decision to leave the word “justice” out of the quote and include it in the mandala pieces.

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Self-Portrait, 106 Nails, 3/13/2015             $175       Copper nails and paper on Maple art board  10-2017 6″x 6″

This piece was inspired by an Art Assignment from the PBS series. The episode is called Measuring Histories by artist Sonya Clark. She has used her own hair to chronicle her life in her art. She inspired the assignment “Think about something from your personal history, your own cultural history, something that you want to share. Something that is hard to imagine, hard to conceive of; something that you’re going to help in the second part (of the assignment). Help your audience understand. You are going to pick a material that is going to help quantify, measure, bring to fruition, actualize what that history is.” At that point I had had constant migraines for about 4 years. That prolonged, persistent pain is something that is difficult for people to understand. Copper nails immediately came to mind to represent the headache. The paper that I used to create my self-portrait is one of my headache journal pages. I selected the day, 3/13/2015, because it was an ordinary day. I had many days where my pain was a lot worse and a few at that point that were better, but this was my history. My days generally contained 106 units of pain. Each nail represents one square from the chart for that day. I’m doing better now. I have more good days but a good day is not one free from nails; it is a day in which I make art in spite of the nails. If I’m going to be in pain anyway, I might as well have something beautiful at the end of the day. Everyone has their own history and this is mine.

box number 2 cover


Illuminated boxes            $100 each           Mixed media collage on cardboard banker’s boxes  8-2016 – 10-2017   10″ x 13″ x 16″

In 2016 my husband and I moved from Wisconsin to New Jersey to follow a job opportunity he had. We found a cozy little house with a total of 3 small closets. I had a lot of boxes full of stuff and nowhere to put it away. I shopped for storage options and all of them were some kind of box. I had plenty of boxes, I just needed to make them pleasant to look at. They make me think of illuminated letters from medieval books. Instead of decorating an individual letter, I was decorating an ordinary box. Now I have an attractive place to store my sheets and band-aids. The top picture is the cover of the box that holds my bathroom supplies and I had this image printed on a shower curtain that I enjoy daily. If you want any of the images on a shower curtain (or tote bag, or phone case)  let me know and I will make sure I have the image on my FineArtAmerica page. Have a beautiful day.