Riding the wheel

Turning the wheel-Unfinished watercolor
© Margaret Sloan 2012

While I’ve been working on this painting, begun on my birthday, the meaning of getting older has become more germane. Last week a certain body part, which until now was self-regulated and well-behaved, went rogue—well, senescent, really—and evidently needs to be removed. It’s nothing major (thankfully it’s not my brain), but it still reminds me that, while my wheel is still spinning and humming, the revolutions per day will someday begin to slow down. But not just yet.

Still, it’s all the more reason to enjoy this crazy ride while I can!

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I want to thank the Toemail blog for picking up my original post about this painting. 

More on turning the wheel

Happy After-Solstice Saturday!
My birthday doodle has turned into a painting idea.

I like to plan my paintings, doing lots of composition sketches, and then making thumbnail color sketches. (which color combination do you like best?).

Then I spend time perfecting the drawing.

Still some work to do on the woman’s arms and torso, and some cleaning up of the face.

The little girl finally has a face.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to begin painting.

My artist friend Cynthia says that I like the planning part best; that’s the big part of my process of making art. Yes, she’s right.

I do like to plan, and not just because I’m a tad bit compulsive. I like to plan because that allows me to be more spontaneous when I get to the big painting (on the expensive paper). I like to experiment before I start, trying out many different things. In fact, I wish I had time to do more of it.

Who knows how this painting will turn out? Sometimes it’s all a crap shoot, really. Sometimes all the pre-planning in the world doesn’t make for a good painting.

My blogging friend Chris (who brilliantly identified this drawing as a mandala, before I even made that connection), at Groundswell, likes to play Mahjong at the computer. She wrote last week:

“We think we are at the end. . . that no other possibilities for movement exist. . . and then, we see one more tile, turn it over, and everything opens up, everything changes.

We can never see everything or be fully “prepared” for what’s to come. And in this Mystery is much of the joy that is life, and, of course, some of the suffering.”

I’m still turning the wheel

Pencil sketch
Copyright 212 Margaret Sloan

The night before my birthday this image came out as I sat doodling in bed. (It’s my favorite time to just draw without worrying about results. I sleep better—if I sleep at all—after a visual brain-dump of how I’m feeling at the end of the day.)

You may already know that after a certain age birthdays still hold joy, but also anxiety and trepidation. I’m getting older, that’s all there is to it, and with age comes a kind of panic that I haven’t done all that I have meant to do. There’s a hopelessness that I never will accomplish what I set out to do. And a heart-wrenching sadness that in our youth-obsessed culture, my age can and will be used against me.

But dammit, I’m still on the wheel, working harder at turning it than when I was young. And in many, if not most respects, I’m doing a better job at the half-century mark than I ever did when I was young.