Mandalas are a picture of internal energies

I have always been drawn to the beauty, order and serenity of mandalas. Whether viewing a simple Zen circle or the tapestry-like complexity of the Tibetan and Hindu paintings, the mandala draws first my eye and then my soul into its heart.

As a child I was always fascinated by geometry and in later life intrigued by the angles and interactions within the astrological horoscope. Although I could not visualize the multi-dimensional layers of a natal birth chart I did recognize that the horoscope was an image of our own personal mandala, a picture of our inner energies at the time of birth.

Designing mandalas

I never plan the design of a mandala before beginning. I suspend my everyday mind and invite my intuition to lead. I use smooth Bristol paper and start the mandala by drawing a circle with a protractor and then marking off the circle in 30 and/or 45 degree segments.

Once the points are placed on the outer rim of the circle, I add lines to create squares, triangles or other geometric figures. These are then divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller areas. Sometimes I use a circle or ellipse template to add new layers of detail and richness to the design. Every line is chosen without thought – although once a degree/line is selected, it is repeated to sustain a symmetrical motif.

Selecting colors for mandalas

When the basic design lines of the mandala are inked in, the colors are added with Prismamarkers or colored pencil. I select the colors randomly and then intuitively select one of the areas of the pattern to color in. I then color in other matching areas to maintain symmetry.

The only thought involved is a desire to vary the light and dark, value/intensity of the colors so that a rhythm emerges in the color application. After all colors are applied, the black lines are again traced with a heavier line for more definition and impact.

Suspend thought to access inner energies

The more complex the design, the more need to focus my attention and I find that these times of drawing become meditative retreats, a time when my restless everyday mind is quieted and my soul refreshed. Rather than ‘thinking’ about what lines to link or designs to create, rather than deciding which colors to select or which areas to leave empty, I step back from decision-making.

There are no mistakes in intuitive art

As long as I can suspend my judgmental thinking mind there is no such thing as a wrong choice. The designs and colors choices that emerge reflect my consciousness at the time of creating the mandala. Rather than seeking perfection in outcome, I enjoy the process of participating.

After a mandala is completed I may see where a line is a shade off center or the balance of color too heavy or too light. But what the ego might have earlier labeled as mistakes I now see as the humanity behind the art; a ‘misstep’ rather than a mistake.

Reflecting upon completed mandalas

After completing a mandala I hang it on my wall to view and look at it often. The design that I might have thought weak or the colors I might have questioned, over the period of a few hours, seem to internally transform. Almost inevitably, a mandala seems to turn in upon itself, find coherence and ‘bloom’ in some mysterious way.

The unique process of creation as well as the inner energies of an individual mandala guarantees that each one is one of a kind. In fact, I have been unable to duplicate either the design or the color choices of a mandala in a new work.


Click on Mandalas tab and view the drop down menu to see examples of the Folk Mandalas and the Madonna Gallery.



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