I used a circular framework for my last couple of doodles (see here and here). I call them doodles because I don’t do any planning, I just draw the next thing that comes into my head or fingers. However, I find that I can’t do entirely spontaneous pieces – I need a framework of some sort. A few years ago I read Jung’s autobiography. He liked to get his patients to produce mandalas – circular pieces of art that drew out their subconscious thoughts. When I mentioned my need for a framework for doodling, my friend Sally speculated that Jung also found that the circular framework made it easier for his patients to access the creative flow.
Just after I finished reading Jung’s book I had a dream that consisted only of a circular design that evolved in front of me. The dream happened, serendipitously, just before I started taking an art class that Sally was running. She provided us with circular canvasses and circular pieces of sheet copper to stick in the centre. I decided to use the design from my dream (slightly adapted for the materials, and embellished); the one and only time that I have literally “dreamed up” a piece. Here is the result (sorry for the poor quality photo):
The elements in the design represent various aspects of the psyche and the methods I’m using to bring them into balance. Jung theorized that the psyche is composed of three components – the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. He also proposed that within the collective unconscious were masculine and feminine aspects that gave men a feminine component to their psyche, and vice versa. I have to admit that this is as far as my knowledge of Jungian philosophy goes. In my design, I split all three of Jung’s components of the psyche into masculine and feminine parts. These are represented in the outer circle of the design as astronomical symbols for the sun, moon, Mars and Venus, and yin and yang symbols. The copper part represents the desired unity of the psyche with the astronomical symbol for the Earth – a cross within a circle. The hearts represent the Buddhist practice of metta or loving-kindness, and the eight lotus petals represent the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.
I don’t think it would qualify as a great work of art but it’s a personal piece, packed with meaning.