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“Crown of Thorns”


This is my first post since the death of my father March 7, 2014, and although I have had much to express, the intensity of the emotional chaos leaves me feeling less than coherent.  Fortunately, I can always rely on the mandala process to create a little stillness in the midst of the wildest storms.  The “major” mandalas show up with strong intention, concept first (“Transition Mandala” most recently) and the imagery comes to support the intention.  In contrast, the “minor” mandalas are simply freestyle, an 8″ X 8″ piece of watercolor paper and a circle, and whatever transpires inside is celebrated.

As this piece progressed, I “heard” the title (“Crown of Thorns”) and wondered about the relevance.  Continuing to paint, the awareness grew…with sufficient time (at least three days) and substantial elevation changes (higher perspective)…my pain transforms into gratitude, something of beauty that can be enjoyed.

The journey through the last four years, watching my charismatic, brilliant, powerful, kind and loving father disappear slowly into the abyss of dementia exhausted me energetically, emotionally and physically.  The last two weeks while he was on Hospice, I had to come to terms with the fact there was nothing else I could do for him.

Now he is free, with his God and my Mom, and my feelings about the experience begin to shift to thankfulness that I was able to spend this precious time with him and learn to love him in a new, and somehow deeper, way.  As I sort through what he left behind, I see his legacy is love, respect, generosity, discipline and humor, and I feel blessed all over again.

I’m glad “Crown of Thorns” could help me get my feelings expressed.

Filed under: Dementia Tolerance, Healing Art

About the Author

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As a Phoenix native, Vikki Reed's vibrant watercolors of desert botanicals evolved from her love and appreciation of the desert's ability to produce tender beauty in the midst of harsh conditions. The mandala series which began in 2004 resurrects a childhood knowledge that mandalas are a primordial tool for centering and healing. Vikki studied in the 1980s with watercolor greats Irving Shapiro and Paul Kuo, and began exhibiting at the outdoor shows in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico after Paul's encouragement. This led to gallery representation with the Wickenburg Gallery and Work of Artist's Gallery. Vikki also exhibited at the Celebration of Fine Art for eight years. Before taking sabbatical to act as caregiver for her father in 2010, Vikki was featured in a one woman show at the Northern Trust Bank in January 2008 and was selected to create an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree that same year. Vikki's current focus, the Mandala Series, combines ancient symbolism and the healing power of color.

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  1. Pingback: In Memoriam | Adventures in Natural Beekeeping

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