Portrait of an Artist

Cameron Byron Roberts, Painter

About three years ago, Cameron Byron Roberts (a.k.a. Cam) and I cooked up an idea for a process-oriented group for late-blooming artist types like us.

The inspiration came from an article Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, Blink, etc.) wrote for The New Yorker in which he differentiated between people who, early on, know what they want to do and are recognized for it at a young age (think Mozart and Picasso) and those who, much later, reach their creative heights through a trial-and-error process. The late bloomers at first produce work no more promising than artists who never create much at all (think early Cézanne), and Gladwell pointed out that without support, most late bloomers never bloom at all.

So we became our own late-bloomer supports, and we’ve been helping each other bloom for the past three years. We share our frustrations, respond to the words of artists and writers we find wiser than ourselves, encourage each other in our efforts, celebrate our triumphs, provide accountability, and in general strive to give to each other what late bloomers need to thrive.

During this three-year period, I finished a book, others have advanced in their respective arts, and Cam became not only a proficient painter, but a professional.

You can find Cam here:
http://cameronbyronroberts.blogspot.com/
http://www.cameronbyronroberts.com/
http://www.CRAboston.com

And now, some words from Cam about his history as an artist and his artistic process.

Ken Robinson, the great education guru, tells a story about asking first graders, “who is an artist?” where all the hands go up. By third grade only a few hands go up, and by fifth grade there are few hands remaining.

As one of those kids that always wanted to be an artist, I used to draw on anything, including the walls of my room, and sometimes the newly painted bookshelves in the living room, finding the “bank canvas” irresistible, until being informed they were not canvases.

However, like many kids, I came from a family that viewed art, if not suspiciously, not as a serious endeavor. Instead I was encouraged to be an architect, something more useful, and more employable, and after many years of resisting the suggestion, I enrolled in architecture school and eventually became a licensed architect.

For most of my career I felt somewhat removed from the profession, alienated from its underlying premise that the new was somehow going to be better than the old, its futurism and utopianism seeming messianic and egotistical, somehow.

The exception was my opportunity to work as an apprentice for the architect, Frank O. Gehry at a point in his career when he was transitioning from being a successful commercial architect to being a world renowned “starchitect” famous for, among other things, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain.

Our relationship blossomed one day when I mentioned that something he was asking me to work on reminded me of a sculpture by the artist Michael Heiser, who, as it turned out, was a close friend of his. Frank was and remains an artist, with his closest friends being artists, and his work being derived artistically. That early experience with Frank was unique and not to be replicated again.

Fast forward several decades: After teaching design and theory at Harvard, MIT and RISD, years as a consulting architect, corporate architect, several in the investment business, and consulting as a capital project manager, I took up painting in 2010.

My inspiration for taking the step came from Susan Langer’s On Becoming an Artist. This gave me the confidence to experience art-making as mindfulness and not be overly concerned about the outcome. Here’s my first painting, on May 2, 2010.

Years later, a re-reading by David Bookbinder of Steven Pressfield’s War of Art in the Artist Group we formed convinced me that it was time to take the outcome seriously. Some recent paintings appear below. There have been innumerable bad paintings and good paintings in between these and that first one, but I now understand the imperative of painting as a means of reconciling myself with existence, reconnecting to the present, and I feel at last that I have indeed become an artist.

Artist Statement (in progress)

Longing and memory, landscape remains ancient and newborn. Conditions evoke primal responses; the back-lit hedge wall, the deep, dark leaves of late summer, fall approaching, winter’s dusk, the sudden damp cold, anticipation of a warm fire, the quiet loneliness of childhood exploring the thicket, first light, dizzying mid-day, timeless afternoon, chiaroscuro evening, the churning majesty of the sea, the shelter of the rocks and the step into the unreturnable deep.

Interiorizing the landscape through painting, setting a point of view, making a clearing in the forest, a shelter in the thicket, or in the cave – that’s what my work as a landscape painter is about.


P.S.
Book News: In my ongoing effort to climb the self-publishing hill, I’m experimenting with price management. I’ve dropped the price of my eBook Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas to $4.99 on Amazon. You can download it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAAFU3S

The compact edition, Paths to Wholeness: Selections is still free, here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1NV2MA

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Acceptance

Acceptance: It’s Already There


My path to acceptance has been mainly through loss: lost career opportunities, relationships, health and, nearly, the loss of my life. Acceptance has come with the recognition that each loss has also been an opening.

A major turning point occurred several years ago. At that time I was bleeding internally and before I noticed any symptoms, I had already lost about 25% of my blood supply. Though less drastic than a brush with death a few years before, this situation recalled the terror of that time. I grew steadily weaker and underwent a series of increasingly invasive tests, but no diagnosis or treatment emerged. I consulted alternative healers and frantically scanned the Internet. I imagined fatal outcomes. And then one day I stopped fretting.

A Buddhist friend had given me this prayer, with instructions to recite it often, without judgment:

Please grant me enough wisdom and courage to be free from delusion. If I am supposed to get sick, let me get sick, and I’ll be happy. May this sickness purify my negative karma and the sickness of all sentient beings. If I am supposed to be healed, let all my sickness and confusion be healed, and I’ll be happy. May all sentient beings be healed and filled with happiness. If I am supposed to die, let me die, and I’ll be happy. May all the delusion and the causes of suffering of sentient beings die. If I am supposed to live a long life, let me live a long life, and I’ll be happy. May my life be meaningful in service to sentient beings. If my life is to be cut short, let it be cut short, and I’ll be happy. May I and all others be free from attachment and aversion.

At first, welcoming disease or death scared me even more, but with each recitation, I grew calmer. While I waited for test results, I began to have a different relationship with time. Whether I would live or die, whether I would heal by myself, with interventions, or not at all, was already out there in my future, waiting for me to arrive. I didn’t have to plan. I didn’t have to do anything differently. I just had to move through time, making the best choices I could, until my fate became clear. I stopped looking things up on the Internet and returned to my work as a therapist.

That moment of acceptance was liberating. Since then, I have been increasingly able to generalize the process. It’s all, already, there. I don’t need to fret. I don’t need to push. I just need to live my life to the best of my ability and, of the infinite possible futures, I will inevitably arrive at the one that is mine.

If there is one main factor that divides those of us who do not change from those who do, I think it is acceptance: of who we are, how we got to where we are, and that we – and only we – have the power to free ourselves.

Acceptance is being who we are, in each succession of present moments, swayed neither by avoiding what we fear nor by clinging to what we think we can’t live without. In the absence of acceptance, there can be no forward movement. The hidden patterns that create clinging attachment and fearful aversion take over, repeating themselves in our minds, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. We grow older, and the external circumstances of our lives change, but inside it’s, as the Talking Heads put it, “the same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.”

Acceptance is the door that closes one life chapter and allows another to open. Acceptance is the last of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of loss and a necessary precursor to moving on from mourning. Acceptance is the first of the 12 steps in addiction recovery programs and essential to beginning a sober life. Acceptance of self, and of responsibility for change, is the start of true recovery from the many unhappinesses that may come our way. Acceptance can be painful, but it is a pain that unburdens. In difficult circumstances, acceptance is the thing most of us try hardest to sidestep – and then try even harder to achieve. In its simplest form, acceptance is saying to ourselves, “Although I may be suffering, I can be content now. Yes, there are things I would like to change, and when I change them my life may have more ease, but I can already be content with my current circumstances.”

Accepting our real state, no matter what it is, begins the shift from victim – of external circumstances, of thoughts and feelings, of physical challenges, of past injuries – to victor.

More anon,
– David

From: Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, © 2016, David J. Bookbinder
Buy onAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – BooksaMillion (print version)
Buy on: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo (eBook version)

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book and
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book

P.S. The Goodreads Giveaway for Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas and the Goodreads Giveaway for 52 (more) Flower Mandalas end tomorrow, January 5th. Last chance to enter!

P.P.S. Yesterday, Charity Rowell-Stansbury, who runs the book review blog On My Kindle, did a nice email interview on me and Paths to Wholeness and posted it here: http://www.onmykindle.net/2017/01/featured-title-paths-to-wholeness.html

David J. Bookbinder, LMHC
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

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Post-Christmas giveaways!

On Goodreads, we’re giving away one copy of Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas and five copies of 52 (more) Flower Mandalas, beginning the day after Christmas, for those of you who wanted just a little more in your stocking (or equivalent).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Paths to Wholeness by David J. Bookbinder

Paths to Wholeness

by David J. Bookbinder

Giveaway ends January 03, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

52 (more) Flower Mandalas by David J. Bookbinder

52 (more) Flower Mandalas

by David J. Bookbinder

Giveaway ends January 05, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Pre-Christmas Giveaways!

On Rafflecopter, we’re giving away Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas and 52 (more) Flower Mandalas, beginning today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mary O’Malley: An Introduction

maryomalleycollage01_600x200

Mary O’Malley: An Introduction

One of the things I most like doing is introducing interesting artists to readers and telling, or letting them tell, their story. Because I love her work, and because of our recent collaboration on our coloring book for adults, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas, I’d like to start with Mary O’Malley.

Mary and I met about a year ago. I had just released the coloring book 52 Flower Mandalas and was thinking of doing a sequel. A mutual friend said, “You have to talk to Mary! Her work is already like a beautifully colored coloring book!” I took a look at her website, maryomalleyart, and I was awestruck.

Mary was the perfect collaborator. She understood the coloring book concept immediately, she was already a flower and mandala artist (and more), and she saw how to transform the Flower Mandalas into illustrations that colorists could interpret in ways I would never have imagined. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of her work on the book with “before” (David) and “after” (Mary) examples.

Click the image below to download a colorable sampler of some of the Flower Mandalas and the illustrations Mary created from them.

maryomalleycollage03_600x600

I asked Mary to say a bit about her art.

“I’ve been making art my whole life. As a child, I was very shy and quiet, and drawing became my way of communicating with the world, and I suppose it still is today. It was never a question for me what I wanted to do with my life. I knew from an early age that I wanted to become an artist.

“I find inspiration for my work in many places (nature, botanical art, textile and surface design, folk art, fractals, fashion, architecture, etc.) I keep a large database and archive of images I’ve collected (from books, magazines, the internet, and my own photos) as well as sketchbooks to serve as jumping off points for pieces. I also think discipline is extremely important to keep ideas flowing. A lot of my ideas come from previous work; they are born out of the experience and process of making work. Having a regular art practice keeps me open to ideas when they come and also for me to find them in unexpected places.

maryomalleycollage02_600x170“Because my work is so detail-oriented, it becomes a very meditative practice for me. Especially with my silver ink on black paper pieces, which I begin with minimal planning. The black paper I use will show any pencil or eraser marks, so I have to keep any sketching to a minimum. This keeps me very present when I’m working.

maryomalleycollage04_600x137

“Working on the coloring book was a very satisfying creative experience for me. Once I got past the practical hurdle of figuring out the best and most efficient way to create the drawings, I was able to really enjoy the process of transforming the photographs into images that would be fun, interesting, and challenging to color. What was most fun for me is how much each mandala surprised me; I would look at David’s photograph, and think I had some idea of how my drawing would turn out. But almost every time, I was pleasantly surprised at the final outcome. I got to really spend time with each flower, look at it really deeply, and discover all the complexities and beauty in them. I feel like I got some sense of what a colorist will experience when coloring these mandalas.”

You can buy 52 (more) Flower Mandalas here.


P.S. You can get a peek at Mary’s new coloring book sampler here.
P.P.S. You can find out more about 52 (more) Flower Mandalas here.
P.P.P.S. You can download the $6.99 eBook version of Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas here.


Mary’s work can be seen at:
Walker Contemporary, Waitsfield, VT: www.walkercontemporary.com
13 Forest Gallery, Arlington, MA: www.13forest.com
Her website: www.maryomalleyart.com
You can also buy high-quality reproduction prints (and a limited selection of originals) in her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/maryomalleyart

You can follow her at:
www.facebook.com/maryomalleyart
www.instagram.com/maryomalleyart
www.twitter.com/maryomalleyart

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Two new books! And a new imprint!

Two new books! And a new imprint!

I’m back. Really.

Moving forward, you’ll be hearing from me on a regular basis, with new images and new writing about art, healing, and transformation, as well as excerpts from books and announcements of publications and events.

But meanwhile…

After months of looking for a traditional publisher for my Kickstarted book of essays and Flower Mandalas, and after a mixed experience with a traditional publisher for an adult coloring book, I’ve decided to “go rogue” and create my own imprint, Transformations Press.

In the future, I hope to publish books by other authors, but I’m starting out with two of my own: a new version of the Flower Mandalas book, Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, and a new coloring book for adults, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Reliefa collaboration with artist Mary O’Mally. I love the way both books turned out, and I hope my readers will, too.

Paths to Wholeness is available now from the printer (BookBaby) and is available for preorder from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers (ship date 12/16). 52 (more) Flower Mandalas is available now on Amazon and will be available at other retailers soon. An eBook version of Paths to Wholeness will be appearing at online retailers within the next few days.

Special offers for 2016:

  • Between now and the end of this year, when you order Paths to Wholeness on Amazon, you can get the eBook version for $0.99 through Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program (see link to Matchbook at the bottom of the Kindle edition).
  • During the preorder period, which ends December 15th, Barnes & Noble is offering Paths to Wholeness at a deeply discounted rate.
  • Between now and the end of this year, when you order 52 (more) Flower Mandalas on Amazon, you can get 52 (more) Flower Mandalas: Selections for free! This is a printable PDF of selections from the full book, matching several of Mary O’Malley’s exquisite illustations with the images that inspired them. To receive this free book, email a copy of your Amazon receipt to transformations@davidbookbinder.com

To paraphrase journalist Jimmy Breslin, if you don’t blow your own horn, nobody else will. These are beautiful books and terrific Christmas or Chanukah presents. Please let others in your circle know about them.

Here are some links:

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas:
At BookBaby (available now): http://store.bookbaby.com/book/Paths-to-Wholeness
At Amazon (ships 12/16): http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984699406
At Barnes & Noble (ships 12/16): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paths-to-wholeness-david-bookbinder/1125158752?ean=9780984699407

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas

52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief:
At Amazon (available now): http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984699422

52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief

Thanks again for your support, without which I would never have completed either of these books!

More anon,
– David
David J. Bookbinder, LMHC
978-395-1292
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org
http://www.facebook.com/flowermandalas
http://www.instagram.com/flowermandalas

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Mandalas, healing … and coloring!

On May 22, from 6:30-7:30 pm, I’ll be reading from my book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation and also talking about using mandalas for meditation, healing… and coloring! The presentation will be at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, with five miles of trails for folks of all abilities to enjoy.

Click here to sign up for the presentation.

Copies of Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation and of the coloring book Emily Sper and I produced, 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief, will be available for sale. Sample coloring pages will be available from 52 Flower Mandalas and from a new, upcoming Flower Mandalas coloring book I’m doing with artist Mary O’Mallory, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas.

The $5 program registration fee includes admission to the sanctuary that day and you are welcome to walk the trails before the Flower Mandalas program. In addition, the sanctuary is running a yoga program from 4:30-5:30 pm, which you can separately register for here.

Nature, art, and yoga — a nice way to spend an afternoon and evening in Worcester, MA. Hope to see you there!

That’s it for now –

David

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Flower Mandalas: the opera, country music, wildlife sanctuary, and the airwaves

Flower Mandalas: the opera, country music, and wildlife sanctuaries

Just a quick update on what’s happening with the Flower Mandalas.

Opera: The “Pink Peony I” Flower Mandala is being used by the Old Opera House in Frankfurt, Germany, on the cover of their 2016-2017 program, on their website, and on 500 large posters hung throughout the city.

Music: The Brazilian band Nemphis Belle, singing in a Country Western style in English, has released an album called It’s Amazing II. Here’s a link to the track “Dancing Wolves”: https://soundcloud.com/nemphis-belle/dancing-wolves. They’re really good!

Coloring: I was recently interviewed on Paula Joyce’s radio show Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit. On the show we talked about mandalas, the origin of the coloring book Emily Sper and I released in December (52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief,) and the ways I have seen people use coloring to process feelings, work through problems, achieve a meditative state and, of course, explore creativity and just have fun.

Here’s a link to the episode. My interview starts about 21 minutes into the show: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/91245/adult-coloring-books-for-fun-relaxation-and-healing

Art opening: And, last but not least, my Flower Mandala images will be on display beginning May 22, 2016 at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, with five miles of trails for folks of all abilities to enjoy.

On May 22, from 6:30-7:30pm, I’ll be reading from my book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation and also talking about using mandalas for meditation, healing… and coloring! Copies of the coloring book will be available for sale, as well sample coloring pages. You can sign up for the presentation here: http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/program-catalog#program:sanctuary=4:keywords=mandala:program_code=46194

Program registration includes admission to the sanctuary that day and you are welcome to walk the trails before the Flower Mandalas program. In addition, the sanctuary is running a yoga program from 4:30-5:30pm.

Nature, art, and yoga: a nice way to spend an afternoon and evening in Worcester, MA. Hope to see you there!

That’s it for now –

David

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, art, Coloring, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower mandala, healing, mandala, photography, transformation | Leave a comment

The Garbage and the Flowers (Wabi-Sabi)

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For the last several years, I’ve found myself attracted to the dead leaves I see on the ground as I walk, particularly those in late fall and winter. I’ve taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures of them. A friend’s mentioning to me the concept of wabi-sabi helped me understand why. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese term for finding the beauty in imperfection, and accepting the cycle of birth, growth, aging, death, and decay. I’m 64. It’s about time.

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The Buddhist teacher and writer Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this cycle when he speaks of seeing the garbage in the flowers and the flowers in the garbage. “When we look at garbage,” he writes, “we also see the non-garbage elements: we see the flower there. Good organic gardeners see that. When they look at a garbage heap they see cucumbers and lettuce. That is why they do not throw garbage away.They keep garbage in order to transform it back into cucumbers and lettuce.”

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“If a flower can become garbage,” Thich Nhat Hanh explains, “then garbage can become flowers.The flower does not consider garbage as an enemy or panic when becoming garbage, nor does the garbage become depressed and view the flower as an enemy. They realize the nature of interbeing. In Buddhist therapy we preserve the garbage within ourselves.We do not want to throw it out because if we do, we have nothing left with which to make our flowers grow.”

Mandala-1-Dec-20150001-1-500x500 Dandelion

By colorists emmysuu and Jaclyn

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas coloring bookhttp://www.amazon.com/52-Flower-Mandalas-Coloring-Inspiration/dp/1682302016/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Download a full-resolution coloring book samplerhttp://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

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Transmigration of Flower Mandala essence

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More soon on the topic of transforming the essence of one type of art into another, but both the therapist and the artist in me wanted to convey a personal example by showing how my Flower Mandalas were transformed by artist Emily Sper into line art for our coloring book, 52 Flower Mandalas.

Below is part of a table I created of all 52 mandalas, in both photographic and line art forms. You can download the whole table here: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/Flower-Mandala-index.pdf.

Banner image

To get a sense of the parallels between the original book and the coloring book, download a preview of the original Flower Mandalas book here: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/uploads/Fifty_Two_Flower_Mandalas_Preview.pdf and a full-resolution sampler of the coloring book here: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

I hope you find this example, and this process, interesting. I’d love to hear any questions or comments on the images, the illustrations, or the transformative process we went through to go from one set of images to the other. I’m also interested in any examples you can point to or talk about from your own experience of this kind of collaboration.

Thanks!
– David
David J. Bookbinder​, LMHC

Create a review or buy the book on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/52-Flower-Mandalas-Coloring-Inspiration/dp/1682302016/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Create a review or enter the giveaway on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164003-52-flower-mandalas-an-adult-coloring-book-for-inspiration-and-stress-re
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a513935552/
Our Diversion Books page: http://diversionbooks.com/ebooks/52-flower-mandalas-adult-coloring-book-inspiration-and-stress-relief
Download a full-resolution coloring book sampler: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, art, Coloring, Copyright, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower, flower mandala, Flower Mandalas Project, mandala, request, technique, transformation | Comments Off on Transmigration of Flower Mandala essence

Raffles, reviews, and samples! Oh my!

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Breaking news! I’ve been finding out more from clients and colorists about coloring and it’s meditative qualities and will write another post on that soon, but some time-sensitive events are happening with 52 Flower Mandalas. Before I get to those events, though, here are two more completed illustrations from colorist C.G. Lynee, which she entitled “Arbor” and “Naos”:

arbor_600x600Naos_600x600

And now, the news. First, the coloring book is live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers. Those who preordered should be getting your books within the next day or two. NOTE: It would be very helpful if you wrote a brief review on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.com (or even better, post the review in multiple places). We think this is a uniquely interesting book and hope you will, too.

And, we have created raffles for several copies on Goodreads.com and Rafflecopter.com. These will be available for the next few days. Enter now to win a copy of 52 Flower Mandalas.

Some links:

Create a review or buy the book on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/52-Flower-Mandalas-Coloring-Inspiration/dp/1682302016/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Create a review or enter the giveaway on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164003-52-flower-mandalas-an-adult-coloring-book-for-inspiration-and-stress-re
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a513935552/
Our Diversion Books page: http://diversionbooks.com/ebooks/52-flower-mandalas-adult-coloring-book-inspiration-and-stress-relief
Download a full-resolution coloring book sampler: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

And last, but very far from least, here are two more completed illustrations by C.G. Lynee, “Chrysalis” and “Titanides.” You can all view the completed drawings colorists have sent me so far, or post your own, on the Colorist Gallery page: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/gallery

Thanks!
– David

Chrysalis_600x600Titanides_600x600

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Can I pick your brains?

Share 52 Flower Mandalas with your friends!

Art Bars, Coloring Parties, other audiences

Now that our coloring book 52 Flower Mandalas is completed, I’d like to find more ways to get it out into the world. Marketing and promotion, alas, have never been my strengths, so I’d appreciate some advice and some help.

A friend suggested that because coloring is a relaxing, meditative, but also a creative activity, 52 Flower Mandalas would be an asset to HR departments (who could use it in workshops), schools (where it could be used as a relaxation technique with teachers and older students), and as an alternative to “art bars” and “painting nights” at various venues. All of this made sense, but how to get from idea to actuality is something of a mystery to me.

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So, I am asking you for suggestions on how to approach these venues, for specific places I might contact, and for places you would be willing to contact that could be interested in using this book in workshops or other coloring gatherings.

Thanks for thinking about this!

More anon,
David

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book from Amazon.com
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list and get a free digital sampler of the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Visit the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book website, where you can upload your creations and check out what other colorists have done

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
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On Coloring

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I stumbled into coloring. Shortly after I completed a Kickstarter campaign for my book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Mediation, a friend suggested that I convert the images to illustrations and create a coloring book — not for children, but for adults. Until then, I had never even heard of coloring books for adults. Now, months later, I see that it’s a whole world. One of the colorists who advised me on coloring books during the creation of 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief helped unravel the mystery for me. She wrote:

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“Untitled” by Sarah Blue

“Why color at all? Because it’s PLAY. Because creativity renews the whole person and sparks other ideas not related to the coloring — your mind has time to go into an almost meditative state. Because it’s fun. Most kids love to color and hate giving it up. Go back to your inner kid and have fun. You might want to make a flower as realistic as possible, or you might choose a total fantasy version — say in 60’s tie dye colors. You might pay attention to the mandala form of each design — how it can be used for meditation and focus. Or use coloring as a kind of therapy, because personal expression is therapeutic, helps stop rumination, relaxes. But mostly, coloring is about play and the love of color.

“Maybe one has to be a bit of a rebel to color as an adult — to take on that child-oriented activity again. But most of us never did really want to give it up. Something magic happens when the design is colored to one’s satisfaction. Here’s something no one else in the world did or could do. I am an individual. I have a distinct view of the world and I express it here. So, relax and go with your gut choices. There’s no particular way it is supposed to turn out. Just pick the colors that appeal to you for that design and use them to create your individual vision.”

Since this project begain, I’ve worked with a variety of people who color. Some do it simply to play. Some to relax. Some to enter a different mental/emotional/spiritual space, and others as a kind of self-therapy. I’ve started using coloring with some of my anxious clients. One told me she began in an angry mood and saw, in the design, what looked to her like a bull. She worked out her anger coloring the “bulls” and then saw another pattern that reminded her of a heart. Coloring those hearts, her own heart opened.

Working with these ilustrations has opened my own eyes, and my heart, to another way of seeing creativity. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

David

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book from Amazon.com
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list and get a free digital sampler of the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Visit the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book website, where you can upload your creations and check out what other colorists have done

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page

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“Untitled,” a colorist creation by S. Everett

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“Untitled,” a colorist creation by S. Everett, one of the colorists I’ve been working with on “52 Flower Mandalas.” See http://davidbookbinder/books/gallery for the latest colorist creations.

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“Gateway,” a colorist creation by C.G. Lynee

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“Gateway,” a colorist creation by C.G. Lynee, one of the colorists I’ve been working with on “52 Flower Mandalas.” See http://davidbookbinder/books/gallery for the latest colorist creations.

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, flower mandala, mandala | Leave a comment

Something new: “52 Flower Mandalas” coloring book for adults

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52FM cover and spread

Child psychologists observe that children are most creative when they’re at play. The same principle also applies to most adults.

With 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief, you can return to your inner child … play. Coloring relaxes and renews, sparks ideas, relieves stress, helps work through emotions — and it’s fun!

The stunning Flower Mandala illustrations in this just-released coloring book were created by artist Emily Sper from 52 of my Flower Mandala images. In her designs, Emily has captured the essence of the Flower Mandalas and translated them into a family of illustrations that invite you to create your own unique works of art, experimenting with form, pattern, shading, and layering in a deeply personal way.

52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief was a collaboration. Now, we invite you to collaborate with us, adding to these illustrations your own unique interpretations.

Preorder before December 1, 2015 for a special bonus collection of downloadable illustrations! (More soon on how to claim your bonus.)

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book from Amazon.com
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list and get a free digital sampler of the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Visit the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book website, where you can upload your creations and check out what other colorists have done

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page

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Something new…

Just a note to let you know that something new is in the pipeline. It’s the culmination of a collaboration with illustrator and book designer Emily Sper (http://www.emilysper.com/hactiv.html).

More details, and an invitation to participate in the process, coming soon. Watch this space!

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Agent!

I’m happy to announce that Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas is now represented by Stephany Evans, president of Fine Print Literary Management in New York City.

More anon,
David

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Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page
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Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Will: Break on through”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Will” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief.

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Will: Break on through

Copyright 2014 David J. Bookbinder

There are many ways psychotherapists can help people. We can provide validation, emotional support, help formulate goals, encourage, motivate, identify dysfunctional patterns, devise strategies for overcoming them, and sometimes even inspire. But often, to fully surmount difficulties, there is a decisive moment when will comes into play.

Will is what enables us to get up and do it again, raises the apparently defeated fighter from the mat, enables the runner to move out from behind when at the brink of total exhaustion. Will is what keeps us going when everything in us says we can’t. Will is the difference between the triumphant and the failed hero, not only in myth also in our own personal struggles.

Will is the key to breaking through what one of my mentors, psychologist Jim Grant, called the “Spell ceiling.” Our collections of past injuries, and the mistaken beliefs and patterns we have created to protect ourselves from them, can be regarded as a trance-like Spell. This Spell subconsciously controls much of what we think, feel, and do. Until we awaken from it, it commands us to repeat our patterns. When we increase awareness and act in ways that defy our Spells, they weaken and we get stronger.

The Spell ceiling occurs just as the Spell is about to yield. At that point, the Spell – which doesn’t know we don’t need its protection anymore – puffs itself up and, like the Wizard at the end of The Wizard of Oz, tries to persuade us that there’s yet another job for us to undertake. Though we have killed our Wicked Witches, the Wizard tries to scare us into going on another mission anyway because that’s all he knows how to do.

But by then we have changed. Just as the characters in the movie have worked through their illusions – the “heartless” Tin Man has shown compassion, the “brainless” Scarecrow has demonstrated his intelligence, the “cowardly” Lion has led the charge, and “homeless” Dorothy now wants nothing more than to return to Auntie Em and Kansas – we have reached the threshold of our true selves without realizing it.

It’s not difficult to spot the Spell ceiling if you know it’s there. Old patterns reemerge. In therapy sessions, I hear clients suddenly using words like “overwhelmed,” “lazy,” and “just”: “I just couldn’t make myself do it. I was overwhelmed. Maybe I’m just lazy.” People who rarely have problems focusing space out in sessions. Those who have been on time for months forget their appointments. “It feels like I’m going backwards,” some of them say.

At this critical moment, will must come into play. If we succumb to the Spell now, we lose ground and it resumes its role of puppeteer. If, instead, we muster up our will to resist returning to old patterns, the curtain is soon pulled aside and the Wizard revealed to be merely an old man shouting desperately into a megaphone to bolster the illusion that he still has power. When the hold of the Spell is broken, we are free to redirect the energy we have been supplying to it, fueling our own growth.

We have broken through the Spell ceiling, but unlike the Wizard in the film, the Spell has not thrown in the towel. To continue to stay ahead of it, we need to continue to do what got us to the other side. Will is again the tool we need, coupled with awareness.

In 12-step recovery programs, the phrase “fake it till you make it” expresses the idea of using will to assume new, more self-actualizing behaviors and attitudes. By willing ourselves to act as if we are already living a sober life, we live the sober life, and its benefits become clear. Similarly, the socially anxious person who acts as if he or she is not anxious often becomes calmer and more outgoing in social situations; the depressed person who acts as if  he or she is not depressed behaves in ways that can dispel depression; and so on. Faking it till you make it applies even on the bodily level. Willing ourselves to smile even when it seems as if everything inside wants to frown creates the same physiological response as spontaneous smiling, and that physiological response can improve our mood and our outlook. (Try it now!)

A tool I use with therapy clients to counteract the Spell is the Personal Craziness Index (PCI). Borrowed from the book A Gentle Path Through the Twelve Steps, by Patrick J. Carnes, the PCI provides a way to catalog, in each of ten major life areas, three indicators that remind us how we act when we are Spell-free. Then we track the most significant seven every day. If we are seven-out-of-seven, all is well. If we notice we are slipping back into Spell-influenced behaviors, chances are good our Spell is setting us up for another assault.

The preventive is built into the PCI. For instance, suppose that in the “Health” category we wrote that when we are doing well, we go to the gym three times a week, cook our own meals, and sleep at least seven hours per night. When we notice we are skipping the gym, or picking up junk food, or skimping on sleep, we become aware we are drifting out of the behaviors that helped us break our Spells. At this point, we’ve given up only a little ground, and getting back on track is easy: we will ourselves to go back to the gym, cook our meals, make sure we get enough sleep, and the downward slide reverses. By themselves, each of these neglectful acts may mean very little, but as early warning signs, they invaluable.

Catching the Spell before it gathers enough strength to pull us under is much easier than breaking through again once we have dipped below the  Spell ceiling. The Personal Craziness Index lets us “fake it till we make it” at a fine level of granularity, where the amount of will needed to get back on track is minimal, and the results are evident, often within minutes.

As the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Use your will. Take the way.

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page
Flower Mandalas blog on Beliefnet.com: Flower Mandalas blog
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Text and images © 2014, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved.
Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing.
flowermandalas.org

Posted in art, Copyright, essay, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower, flower mandala, mandala, Publication, Quotation, request | Leave a comment

Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: “Uniqueness: Blooming”

NOTE: This is the first draft of the “Uniqueness” essay in my forthcoming book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas. Responses and comments welcome, no matter how brief.

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Uniqueness: Blooming

Copyright 2014 David J. Bookbinder

Recently, I had the relatively rare experience of having a movie introduce me to a new way of looking at things. The central idea of Martin Scorcese’s Hugo explicitly emerges midway through the film, but it’s implicit in every frame: Just as, in a machine, there are no “extra” parts, parts without a function, so in the world there are no “extra” people, with no purpose. Each person, like machine component, has a unique place. The trick – because with people it is not as obvious as it is with machines – is to discover it.

In my own life, discovering who I uniquely am has been a long and  circumambulating journey. I started out feeling as if I were a misfit, the Ugly Duckling who was different from, and therefore inferior to, those around me. I was the shy and introverted one surrounded by extraverts, the would-be intellectual surrounded by would-be athletes, the Jew among Christians. As a boy I avidly read science fiction, and chief among the stories I sought were the ones about mutants. In these fanciful tales, mutants were always persecuted by those around them, but ultimately they turned out to be the next step in human evolution. I hid out in that world, preoccupying myself with fictional explorations of the universe and private science studies, first of rocks, bugs, magnets, and electricity, then later of chemistry, electronics, and rocketry. By 12, I was doing high school science on my own. By high school, I was researching personal projects in the science and engineering library of the University at Buffalo. I knew I was smart in that way, and like the mutants, I vacillated between devastatingly low self-esteem and a fragile grandiosity.

Thankfully, beginning at the end of high school, the humanist in me began to emerge, and my focus shifted to the realms of people, literature, and visual art. My adult life has been a gradual and uneven unfolding of talents that were mostly disregarded during childhood.

During my late 20s, I lived in a house on the edge of Bedford-Stuyvesant, near Pratt Institute, a school for the arts and architecture. Rick, one of my housemates, was a few years older than I was. He’d been self-sufficient since he was 17 and had walked many walks in his 35 years – the Navy, business, construction, short-order cook, and an assortment of other jobs. When we lived together, he was an architecture student at Pratt. One day, as we sat at the kitchen table, I lamented how disconnected my career seemed. I was a kid scientist turned English major. I was writing, taking pictures, teaching kids art and carpentry, and helping to renovate the house we lived in. It all seemed makeshift and fragmented. Rick had been showing me an architectural model of a conference center he had designed. It was a beautifully executed architectural sculpture. He tapped one of the wooden panels into place. “I felt the same way you did until I found architecture,” he said. “Then, everything came together.” He smiled and clapped me on the shoulder. “You’ll figure it out,” he said.

Rick found architecture at 35, and decades later he’s still practicing. It took me an additional 15 years to find my way into psychotherapy, at 50. But in this profession, like Rick, I have found that the meandering threads of my varied careers have come together into a tapestry. Now I see that I’m not the Ugly Duckling, not the mutant, and that my history is not a series of false starts. Instead, I am a late bloomer.

In his New Yorker article “Late Bloomers,” Malcolm Gladwell contrasts artists such as Pablo Picasso, whose genius was acknowledged early in his career, with those like Cézanne, who did his best work late in life and only then received widespread recognition. “On the road to great achievement,” Gladstone wrote, “the late bloomer will resemble a failure: while the late bloomer is revising and despairing and changing course and slashing canvases to ribbons after months or years, what he or she produces will look like the kind of thing produced by the artist who will never bloom at all.” Early bloomers hit the ground running, but late bloomers seem to need support as, through trial and error, they discover how to realize their talent. Gladwell describes assistance Cézanne received from other artists and from his father, without which he could never have succeeded. “Prodigies are easy,” he explains. “They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith.”

Late blooming is a phenomenon that occurs not only with artists, but with anyone whose nature is to discover their purpose through trial and error. As a therapist I often encounter late bloomers. They are men and women who have the potential to achieve much more in their lives than they have been able to, not because they lack the ability, but because their potential was not seen and encouraged. Societal and familial conditions squeeze many of us into shapes convenient for shipping and packaging, but not for optimal growth. Without support, these late bloomers, too, may never bloom.

Providing support for blooming, late or early, is one of the chief missions of psychotherapy. Because I have also bloomed late, I turn out to have a set of experiences that is well-suited to fostering the uniqueness of others and to finding the right soil and set of conditions for them not only to blossom, but to thrive.

In Scorcese’s film, young Hugo Cabret is the catalyst who helps each of the other main characters find, or re-find, their way. In doing so, he discovers his unique talent. Like Hugo, my lifelong trial-and-error struggle to find the right vocation has equipped me to recognize the uniqueness of others and to help them find their place in the cosmic machine. Although I know little about botany (I resorted to a plant-identification forum in British Columbia to learn the names of the common flowers I made into mandalas), in another sense I have found my vocation as a gardener.

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page
Flower Mandalas blog on Beliefnet.com: Flower Mandalas blog
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list
Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas

Text and images © 2014, David J. Bookbinder. All rights reserved.
Permission required for publication. Images available for licensing.
flowermandalas.org

Posted in art, Copyright, essay, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower, flower mandala, mandala, Publication, Quotation, request | Leave a comment