Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

My Unfinished Silk Mandala – Seeing it as a Reflection of Me

This afternoon I went up into my attic studio and decided that it really was time to completely declutter and tidy it all up. I recently pulled so many things out of boxes and shelves when I was picking some items to put in a friend’s shop in Glastonbury. And, as is my wont when I have just abandoned the space after an excavation, I left it looking as though a bomb had hit it.

This occasion was no exception whatsoever.  But it has never bothered me because I know that I will always go back in and enjoy putting things back in place, exploring nooks and crannies that I haven’t looked into for a while and getting inspiration from all the things I find there. Literally exploding with creative excitement.

And then I bring the space into a state of real tidiness and order ready for the next work session.

However, this time is a bit different in that it’s New Year and I would like to get to grips with all the piles of artistic chaos and bring some sort of new order into it all, symbolic of me changing direction somewhat and bringing in new forms of expression.  Luckily I was reminded by a lovely friend Franziska San Pedro to take photos before I got stuck in. Strangely that’s something I always do with great delight, but it’s more linked with the creative process, documenting my steps and not looking at how messy things have got. So the photo here is sort of taking a new direction in that it reveals my mess in its full glory.

Many of you who follow me both here and on the Silk & Art Facebook page will have seen the one I am talking about here. I started it a few months ago and then about half way through, I placed it to one side and left it sitting there.

I sat down and had a good look at it. It is the very first mandala painting I have done with a mantra on  it, something I had been wanting to do for such a long time. ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ runs around the outside in gold letters. This is an ancient Sanskrit mantra roughly translated as ‘the jewel in the lotus’. It is claimed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained within this one mantra.

As I painted it, I listened to a beautiful rendering of this mantra on a CD I bought a few years back, which had been brought over from Nepal.

And so why did I not complete it? I think there are many reasons for that. Often when I am in the process of creating a painting, the events going on around me play an important part in its make-up. I see these artworks as a barometer of where I am in life at the time.

These paintings really take on a life of their own and this one was no exception. Firstly, they let me know how they want to be and the sooner I get out of my own way and allow this, the easier everything flows. Secondly, they know what energy they need and tell me when it’s time to get out the brushes and continue the work. They determine the pace. And thirdly, they know that it’s sometimes wise to wait in order to find their true expression.

I hadn’t felt drawn to do any more with it over the past months as I had entered a space where I was feeling the need to redefine myself in many ways. And yet today, when I took it out and saw the unfinished work, I realised that this blank canvas, so to speak, was showing me that I had work to do. I do indeed have work to do and am excited at what this year has in store for me.

So I feel resolute about clearing out what has become obsolete in my workshop space and feel brave enough to part with many things that have simply run their course. And this mandala will be an expression of the new space I am moving into energetically. I look forward to seeing it in all its bright colours and vibrancy. I know now that it will be bright. A reflection of the new me for this year.

And on that note I’d like to ask if there is anything you are looking forward to this year? I’d love to hear what lies ahead for you and if you have any unfinished business like me.

Happy creative 2011


January 3, 2011 - Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , ,


  1. As a designer and creator of Energetics of Space™, I am a FIRM believer of decluttering and organizing. Open space and knowing where everything is allows for new things, ideas, thoughts and people to come into your life and home;and starting out the New Year with this kind of support will set the tone for the whole year!
    Happy New Year, and I’m very happy for you!

    Comment by Irene Turner | January 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Irene for your comment. Setting the tone for the coming year is exciting.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. I can so relate! I, too, have taken pictures of messy spaces, although I’ve shown them only occasionally. Sadly, some are still messy!

    I love your use of your unfinished artwork. Can’t wait to hear what it tells you! So glad you posted this, as it tells us so much about what is going on in your life.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

    Comment by Judy Stone-Goldman | January 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Judy. It was again one of those situations where I thought – shall I, shan’t I share the mess? And I went for yes. Feels good to expose it all. The pendulum swings to both extremes after all. I’ll keep you posted on the artwork. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. Fiona – Your work is beautiful. And your workspace, cluttered or not, looks like a lovely place to create and envision your future.

    — Debbie

    Comment by Fresh Brothers | January 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Aw, thanks Debbie. Lovely to hear your appreciation.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 3, 2011 | Reply

  4. I thought even your clutter looked very artistic! That is so fascinating to learn how you embrace your creativity and tie it in with all that is going on in your life, your heart, your mind. The symbolism of decluttering is especially meaningful to me, as I become somehow weakened when I am surrounded by clutter, so I can understand your inspiration to make room for the new! I look forward to seeing your completed Mandala — I know it will be amazing. Your energy and passion come through in your writing, revealing how powerful your creative spirit is. I am looking forward to a new year that will replace the years “the locusts have eaten” and allow me to move forward in areas where I was previously afraid to enter. It’s exciting to be able to share with you and all the amazing people I have met through our blogging!

    Comment by Donna McCord | January 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Donna, I love that you’ve come on my page and commented. I am so looking forward to completing the mandala this year and sharing the new look. Wishing you lots of success in the steps you take, too. And I am also very excited at all this amazing sharing with all of you talented bloggers.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 3, 2011 | Reply

  5. I love how you make those similarities between your work and your life…

    “when I took it out and saw the unfinished work, I realized that this blank canvas, so to speak, was showing me that I had work to do”

    I think that in of itself is a wonderful gift I wish sometimes I was able to see things more in than type of way, rather than in the ‘down to earth it is what it is” way that I feel as though I view the world.

    Embrace your creativity!

    Julie Labes the…Fierce over 50 feels much younger, point and click junkie, loves to travel, does not use a jogging stroller, and before you ask, this is NOT my granddaughter..Woman

    Comment by Julie Labes | January 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Julie thanks for commenting. I always see everything and everyone around me as a mirror of what is going in within me. It’s a powerful feedback system. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  6. Frankly, I think that work of art looks so beautiful just the way it is! I can’t imagine how special it will be when you’re done.

    As for the work space, so many of us work in organized clutter, and it sounds like you will very soon have things whipped into shape, AND enjoy the process.

    Best to you.

    Lisa Vitale

    Comment by lisawifemom | January 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Lisa. You know, sometimes I really enjoy the way paintings look when there are big areas of white on them. That’s why I always take photos throughout the process to see what the image looks like at each stage. Glad you like it just the way it is. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  7. I definitely know what you mean! Still have a couple of paintings that started with a good idea but never got finished -I lost the idea on the way, so they are waiting to be done another decade or year.
    I am using an idea and sketch book and I make notes about all kind of random things, and they remind me of unfinished ideas, eventually their time might come (or not). And sometimes, they’re finished half way but they’re perfect that way.

    Love your studio, I wish I had more light in mine..

    Comment by Franziska San Pedro | January 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Franziska. Nice to hear about your process too. Looking forward to seeing more of your artwork. One tip I can share with you – put some daylight bulbs into the room you paint or create artwork in and that goes a long way towards bringing in soothing light.x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  8. You are so reflective about your clutter. At least your clutter results in beautiful art. I think that is why I tend toward the creative outlets that can be completed in one sitting…I would have tons of unfinished pieces otherwise. I have always admired those that can work on artistic endeavors over a long period of time.

    Darcie Newton
    Introducing Alternative Assets to Smart Investors

    Comment by Darcie Newton | January 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Darcie, thanks for your comments. That’s really interesting what you say about thinking you would never finish anything that took more than one session. You’ve inspired a further blog post. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  9. I love how you enjoy your mess and clutter….I need to be a little more like that. I am looking forward to the new year and watching my prototype take form….
    I hope that 2011 is a very creative year for me.

    Comment by Rachel H Blaufeld | January 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Rachel. It’s about embracing both sides of the coin. Let yourself fall into it a bit more…Sounds like this coming year is a big one for you. I got a glimpse of what is to come in your blog post. Looking forward to seeing it. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  10. Okay – I have to show my husband this as he says I create clutter (he’s a neat freak). I actually like a bit of clutter but keep on top of it for him. I love that Mandela too – look forward to seeing ti when you feel able to complete it. Me, I’m consolidating and building on things I started in 2010. I was going to start something in addition but keep getting messages not to – so I’m not!
    Louise Edington
    Facing Fears For Freedom
    Facing Fears For Freedom

    Comment by Louise Edington | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  11. Thanks for commenting Louise. I’ll certainly keep you posted regarding the painting. Glad you’re tuning in to what you need to do and listening to that. x

    Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  12. Oh Fiona, your work is stunning! I also love the way you weaved your unfnished painting into a wonderful story about redefining yourself. You have a way with words.

    Comment by Merlyn Sanchez | January 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for your appreciation Merlyn. I love to work in this way and learn so much about myself in the process. I’m glad you resonate with it. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  13. Such a fascinating insight.

    I many ways, the art work is completed and yet in others it calls out for completion, either within its own frame or upon another canvas.

    I am going to spend some time re-reading this as it speaks to me on a deeply personal and spiritual level.

    For me? I am working on completing a few books. And publishing a series of Artists Books/Zines.

    Comment by Bruce Barone | January 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for sharing this with me Bruce. I would love to hear if you have any insights leading on from this. And do keep me informed of the progress of your books. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 4, 2011 | Reply

  14. Great abundant post on your creative process Fionna. It makes complete sense that your work space is in chaos. Isn’t that one of the main rounds or mental states of the mandala – chaos between the end of one thing and the beginning of the new. It’s the great round of life.

    Also I wanted to share this amazing recording by Meredith Monk, one of the great vocal geniuses and composers of our time, chanting Om Mani Padme Hum – I hope this will be an inspiration for finding the path to finishing your piece.

    Comment by Sherri Lynn Wood | January 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Sherri, I’m really glad you enjoyed my post. I love to see life as a continuous cycle of change and growth and the mandala really does embody that. Thank you very much for this link. I enjoyed tuning in to this chant. Lovely to connect with you. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 5, 2011 | Reply

  15. Fiona what a thrill to get to enter your creative space. I am so in tune with how you are connecting with your mandala. I cant wait to see how it, and you unfold this year. I am very focused on moving myself forward on my own journey of discovery, while bringing creativity in space to my clients. The energy of the space one lives or works in, is crucial.

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress

    Comment by Jennifer Duchene | January 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Jen, I love to bring people into my space. It already looks completely different as I have done lots of work on it over the past 2 days so I have entered a phase of order ready to take the next step. I so agree about the energy of your living and work space being crucial and I love what I’ve seen of your creative work! xx

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 5, 2011 | Reply

  16. Thanks for letting us into your world up so openly and walking us so delicately and fully into your thoughts and feelings. I felt like i was there with you!
    Can’t wait to see where the new energy takes you and this painting!
    Yvonne Hall

    Comment by Yvonne Hall | January 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Yvonne. Looking forward to completing the painting too! x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 5, 2011 | Reply

  17. Your mandala is Stunning, Fiona! I am greatly impressed with your talent!

    It seems that your artwork is a lot like my writing… lots of “starts” hidden here and there. like little treasures waiting for to be rediscovered at the right moment. I certainly hope you complete the mandala — I can’t wait to see the finished piece!

    Heidi & Atticus
    “commentary to give you paws…”

    Comment by heidi alberti & atticus | January 6, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Heidi and Atticus. I’m glad you like my artwork and see a parallel to your writing – love the treasures. And looking forward to completing, too. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 6, 2011 | Reply

  18. Hi Fiona,
    Thanks for all these insightful thoughts! What caught my eye, though, was how much your “disheveled” studio resembles my office on a good day. The rest of my house is neat as a pin, and I’m calm as could be when I’m there, but my office is aswirl with documents, mementos, half-open books, memories, ideas, ambitions, and all their associations. With a little discipline, it’s a wonderful “studio”. As yours must be. Your mandala painting is gorgeous, and your story reminds me of something I recently heard. Some people believe a work of art is incomplete until nothing more can be added, while others believe it’s incomplete until nothing more can be removed. So I look forward to seeing your completed piece.

    Comment by Robbie Schlosser | January 6, 2011 | Reply

    • I loved hearing about your space, too, Robbie and smiled at hearing the comparison with your office. We’ll see how this painting turns out. It will surely let me know what to do! Thanks. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 6, 2011 | Reply

  19. What a beautiful painting Fiona. Can’t wait to see the finished version.

    Thank you for sharing and good luck with moving into your new energy and space as you make the changes you are inspired to do.

    Comment by Connie Umbenhower | January 6, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks so much Connie. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 6, 2011 | Reply

  20. I hope we all have unfinished business to attend to this year! Otherwise our journeys in this life would be awful boring… lol!

    However, it is your astute reflections of how we have to deal with this unfinished business a that is so telling. We need to grasp it play with it, keep it, throw it out, and clear all the clutter to make our year’s journeys smoother.

    I love your mandala- It’s stunning! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Candace C. Davenport ~ Little Books with a Big Message

    Comment by Candace C. Davenport | January 6, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree, Candace. We need a certain amount of challenge to keep us going and add spice to our lives. And what better than to make a game of it. Now I’m really excited to see the painting finished.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | January 6, 2011 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: