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Perpetual Motion


Things were going along really well until early July (3rd) when I blithely and boldly began the “Heart and Soul Mandala”.  I had come out of (yet another) dark night of the soul and was feeling a new resilience.  The mandala flowed easily and progress came quickly.Heart and Soul color-beginning

On July 5th, my next door neighbor and dear friend (expecting her first child in December) died suddenly, leaving her devastated husband to deal with the aftermath.  I felt plunged back into a reservoir of grief, which I thought I had made headway in emptying.  My optimism faded, a familiar darkness crept back in and took hold.  I made it through the funeral, and through the “Heart” portion of the mandala, but I guess rendering “Soul” is above my skill set at this time.Heart and Soul with leaves

I have been unable to make any headway, and do not have any idea how to complete the painting.  In addition, the feelings of sadness, self-doubt, confusion and fear rumble through at unexpected times like aftershocks.  Once again I question my validity and usefulness as an artist in the present world.

There was a time when I felt solid in my belief that the mandalas were channeled material, that I was serving a positive purpose by bringing these energies forth in visual form.  My guidance felt more direct and I resonated deeply with the messages.

In contrast, now it seems more like feeling around in the dark, painting just to keep the flow of creative energy moving, unsure what the message is.  Was I fooling myself to believe my art serves a purpose?  What is the message of the most recent piece “Perpetual Motion”?  Other than the thought that perpetual motion eliminates the entrance to the desired “stillness” state, I have no idea.Perpetual Motion in color

Can I give myself the permission to create when the only recognized purpose is self-preservation?  Do the artworks created, the words written still have value even when they are not seen or read?  Will I return to trusting the higher perspective, which finds purpose in all things, even the death of an absolutely radiant being and her unborn son? I hope the answer will be” yes”.


Filed under: grief, Healing Art, Loss, Mandalas

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.


  1. Millie B)

    Hey Vikki!
    Besides you….my favorite artist is Monet. When the love of his life had died and he was going blind, he went thru his blue period. He put it to canvas and I had the great fortune to see a few of these beautiful, emotional, gut wrenching artworks. I sat looking at them, crying my eyes out, having a very personal experience. For whatever reason Monet was able to help me release whatever I needed to release. I wasn’t crying for him and his situation, I was crying for me. Did he know that years later he would affect people on such a visceral level? I don’t think he did. And whether YOU are sharing your joy or sadness in your art it will speak to someone, somewhere, sometime. And THAT, my dear… a beautiful gift. Thank You for sharing!!!!!

    • Millie B,

      You likely cannot imagine what a gift your words are to me. The affirmation is more than I could have wished for, and comes at the perfect time. It is miraculous to me that you saw the post and responded in such a powerful and thoughtful way. My deep gratitude to you!

  2. Vikki…, I just wrote a long response to this., but when I hit the post comment, it just disappeared and said there was an error. I will trust that you got my message in the more real. Just know my thoughts are with you during this time!

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