Creativity at Home: Mandalas
According to Wikipedia, “a mandala ( Sanskrit – literally "circle") is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focussing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.” The imagery is common to many spiritual and artistic practices, across cultures and time. A mandala represents the universe, and the universe within; a personal mandala can be a focus of meditation and a source of understanding.
Daily Artist Judith Taylor writes, “Painting a mandala is a powerful experience — and even though this one is on a wall, while painting it I feel like I'm in a place without walls.” Over the past weeks, Judith began to paint a mandala on a wall in her house using ashes from the wood stove that she sifted and mixed with water. “The grey-brown color and gritty medium makes each brushstroke into a small sculpture. The infinite shades of ashy grey-brown delight me, and now I’ve begun “carving” into the thick layers of dry ash ‘paint’.”
Ashes Mandala by Judith Taylor
According to Carl Jung, the urge to make mandalas emerges during moments of intense personal growth. Their appearance in one’s work indicates a profound re-balancing process is underway in the psyche. An appropriate motif for these trying times!
Making a Mandala is basically easy and a project for all ages. You will need a square surface of your choice (canvas, paper, wall) and your preferred medium (charcoal, paint, collage). Find the center point, then sketch out concentric circles (a compass is great for smaller mandalas) and orientation lines. Using these lines and circles, begin to draw shapes like circles, triangles, loops, etc.
Repetition is a key part of creating a mandala; so, for example, if you draw a circle on one of the lines, repeat that shape on all the lines around that circle. Take it slowly and be mindful of the placement of each shape on its circle, and how it relates to the corresponding shapes.
For more inspiration, please see the work of Paul Heussenstamm below, and at mandalas.com
He works from an Eastern belief that the “painting simply passes through the artist”, and he gives workshops on Art as a Spiritual Practice. He has said, “The mandala, for me, has opened the doorway to the symbolic language of the soul.”
Making mandalas can be a soothing daily practice or develop into a lifelong mindfulness pursuit. What shapes and symbols are you moved to express? What colors will you choose, or will you use color at all? Can you let the design “pass through you”?
Nature Mandalas made by Artistree staff
By Kathleen Dolan
by Karen and Sophia Rodis
By Fiona Davis
By Ben Fox
By Finnie and Maddie Trimpi
By Marie Cross