Once a month, usually on a Saturday morning, my dear friend Esther and I meet together at a local coffee shop with art materials in hand and set about to have a dialogue in images. What we do is an adaptation of the Open Studio Process I have been studying this past year. We set an intention before we begin, the overall intention is to honor and nourish our relationship through art making. Individual intentions might then be ” I allow myself to be seen and loved through my art making, ” or ” I am open and playful as I explore these art materials” You get the idea.
We each have a paper with an empty mandala or circle drawn in pencil. Then we begin, with each of us adding an element , working for about 20 minutes at a time, then exchanging drawings. Once the exchange happens, we carefully look at one another’s drawing and respond by asking the following questions: What does it need? What does it make me think of? How does it make me feel? or simply by letting our hands follow the process. Esther began her image above with two girls jumping rope, I piped in with the third purple skinned lass and parrot, and so on and so forth. I love how Esther gave the parrot a tree, complete with a Grandmother spirit watching over their antics.
In this image, I began with the bear – I can’t quite tell you why – the girl on an island under a tree, and a colorful little fish, watching with an attentive eye while blowing bubble creatures. Once again Esther gave the girl two friends, a home, a campfire and even a boat as a way to get on and off the island. I love this scene, it’s wildness and it’s protective, fortified enclave, it’s silliness and it’s seriousness. Let me invite you to do a friendhsip mandala with someone in your life with whom you can be seen. I promise it will nourish you and remind you of your riches, over and over again.