It had been a while since I had created some mandalas – they tend to be pieces I like to focus more time on, and more precious time than I usually have these days. But in getting ready for both the Gelli Print/Zentangle workshop earlier this month as well as starting a 3 part Zentangle Mandala class series in Brattleboro, I knew I needed to create some new pieces.
The challenge for me, when doing mandalas, is that I really prefer to work in larger sizes, but this month I restricted myself to something smaller than an 8 1/2 x 11″ paper. I had a few smaller gelatin print pieces that I hauled out to play with as well as some blank coasters.
This time I decided to make a simple, hand-drawn mandala string and make the center point intentionally OFF-center and trying to keep the tangling fairly simple to let the shape speak more.
The following two mandalas were done on gelatin prints made on smooth writing tablet paper with Golden Open acrylics. These paints are much easier to tangle on, the paint is somewhat transparent and smooth, and doesn’t gum up the pens as much as regular heavy bodied acrylic paint. None the less, to preserve my Micron pens, I chose to do these with a Bic Intensity pen (very similiar porous tip to the Microns). I also used the Pilot V Razor Point Extra Fine Point pens with equal success.
Kirigami is a cut paper art and perfect for making snowflake mandalas. I have an old Kirigami Fold & Cut-A-Day Calendar from 2012 that I am still very slowly making my way through.. it has a different example to fold and cut, and some of them are meant to fit together. The mandala above was made by tracing two of the cut pieces of Kirigami and then connecting some pencil lines while erasing others. This makes for an infinite array of mandala strings just from one (or two, in this case) paper snowflakes. Below are some of the pieces I used recently:
The next piece below was also done on one of the smooth gelatin prints, but this time I used a paper snowflake I cut by hand, that ended up as a square-ish shape. This mandala wanted to be square!
The mandala below was laid out by hand, with no measuring implements, on a page that was brayered with heavier acrylic paints, using a Uni-Ball Signo Broad white gel pen – a wonderful white pen for working on heavy layered surfaces.
I’ve also been staying inspired to keep creating mandalas and break out of the box of just using Zentangle to do them, thanks to a wonderful 100 Mandalas Challenge being led over a series of ongoing blog posts on Kathyrn Costa’s blog… if you are feeling like you might want to go deeper into exploring mandalas, you might want to jump on over there and explore. This year Kathryn and her mandala project partner, Megan Warren are also using Suzanne Fincher’s book on Mandalas, The Mandala Workbook: A Creative Guide for Self-Exploration, Balance, and Well-Being, as a prompt. I was pleased to find I already had this book in my library! And the latest prompt in the 100 Mandala series was to create a digital mandala from a photograph… I used the photo below on the right, which I took in the woods earlier this year, to create my digital mandala on the left below. On the 100 Mandalas post for this week, an interview with mandala artist Sue O’Kieffe, there is a link to the photoshop tutorial I used.