2021 Topic 6 - Mandala Mix
Hi everyone, Keren here talking about mandalas- something that artists and doodlers alike have a soft spot for. Looking at its origins, the word mandala in the old Sanskrit language means 'circle' that holds much symbolism in the Buddhist and Hindu cultures. It is seen by some as an outward representation of the universe and also as a reflective guide for some spiritual practices. They can be used as prayer symbols, used for meditation and although heavy in symbolism for many, they also are an artistic starting point for some wonderful pieces of reflective art. There is so much symbolism in the shapes, colours, lines and images, that if you want to explore more about mandalas, check out this fascinating article. In the piece was this picture below of a Tibetan Mandala.
How do you start to draw a mandala? Well in light of the fact that it is essentially a geometric shape using symmetry to create the detail, you can start with a simple shape and 'grid' lines radiating out from the centre to help give you structure in planning your design.
You can buy grid paper similar to this, stencils and more to help you get started. It takes the hassle out of working out the dimensions!
We don't have to look far for PaperArtsy inspiration. One of the first designers I think of is Tracy Scott, as she is a big fan of the style and has some amazing examples. Check out some of her stencils too, as they'd be a great starting place for embellishing your own mandalas.
The other designer that I think of is Gwen Lafleur who actually has a Mandala stamp set. Nikki Acton did a wonderful underwater scape using her set.
Can a dreamcatcher be a mandala? Probably not, but they have a similar visual vibe and Darcy created a dreamy one using some JOFY stamps.
Before we bolt from the PaperArtsy stable in pursuit of pasture new, I thought I'd include one last example. As the Mandala can represent the cosmos or deities in different heavenly worlds, it reminded me a little of the newest set of Hot Pick stamps, and Dounia Large's 'Astral goddess'.
I guess one of our first considerations is to the substrate and the medium for creating our mandala art. If we wanted to be historically sensitive, we could consider sand. For centuries Tibetan monks have created amazing pieces of art using coloured sand. They place each grain of sand medatively and once finished (which can take days or weeks), they destroy it demonstrating the impermanence of everything.
Asmahan A Mosleh is a Yemeni artist based in the UK who can take up to 80 hours on one stunning painting and uses acrylic paint and gold leaf.
Baz Furnell's pencil drawings trick your eye into thinking they are 3 dimensional, but are in fact flat as a pancake. There's some beautiful artistry and it has a historical yet modern feel to it.
Perhaps your initial foray into creating mandalas is to start small. Take your cue from Lina West who does these miniature works of art of pebbles. Some of these pieces have over 2000 dots!
This next image is a wonderful mixed media canvas. It's a good reminder that mandalas don't have to involve complex images.
This amazing papercut version, gives some more ideas of how to embellish a mandala.
Whilst many mandala examples are circular, I thought this was a lovely example of another shape but still using geometric shapes.
If stitching takes your fancy, maybe you could try a little cross stitch like this one.
If you're looking to redecorate sometime soon, how about a largescale mandala covering a section of your wall?
We talked about symmetry in mandalas before, but rules are made to be broken right?! This is a clever example and looks as if the top is being peeled away to reveal the mandala underneath.
How about incorporating a mandala as a portion of your art, like this intriguing piece?
Layers all stacked together produce superb dimension. This one is made of wood and the contrasting colours add to the effect.
Going back to more unusual shapes; stretch the circle and add more geometric shapes.
Whether you're cutting out, layering, doodling or dotting, this mandala project has bound to have something that piques your interest. Go on, create something wonderful!
If you want to create along with us while we explore this topic, please share your makes on our social feeds so we can follow along. Instagram @paperartsy or why not join us and post in the PaperArtsy People Group on Facebook. Make sure you tag us in your contributions, we love to see what you get up to in your creative world!