Mondo Mandala Post

Click on the title of this post to see some neat things one woman does with mandalas!

Yesterday & today the girls & I went a little nuts with mandalas, so this will be a long post! Yesterday, N & I tried mixing gesso with white glue to see what would happen. She loves to paint, and whipped out a couple of pieces she didn't much like while I did the same. When she saw that I was willing to throw out a circle and start over, she seemed comfortable doing that as well, and soon became engrossed in this one:
"It's a game board, because mandalas should be fun!" she enthused. I should mention that this time we were listening to an eclectic mix of music the whole family had made a year ago - quite upbeat - and it certainly affected her mood. She insisted that her hand be in the picture "because it's my artwork!" She knows that I am posting these on my blog, and is very proud of that.

While she worked on this, I made some swooshes in an attempt to free myself from the anxiety of working with paint (a medium that makes me feel quite incompetent and not-in-control). Then I decided they needed arrows; and then I added a dot for the bindu. At which point I realized that I'd missed the exact center, so I added a few other randomly-placed dots & thought, I wonder why the bindu has to be at the center? So I call this "Where's the Bindu?" Where is the bindu, after all? How does one find one's bindu?
N's second mandala of yesterday she explained was a globe. I had told her that a mandala sometimes depicts the way the world really is, so that's what she drew. She placed it on a stand, because her globe is on a stand. She drew clouds covering part of it. And again, her hand needed to be in the picture, this time showing the peace sign because she wants peace in the world.
My second gesso mandala began with the bindu again, this time the Chinese character for "heart." I was thinking about Chinese calligraphy, since I noticed that the gesso - at least when mixed with glue - paints strokes very much the way writing brushes do, leaving a trail at the end. After painting some wavy lines (what is it with me & borders?), I added the Chinese character for "water" four times, and a few dots, and came out with this:

I'm not particularly excited by my gesso mandalas, but it was a useful exercise in the medium.

Today was different! Z joined N & me, as she's on break this week, and we worked through an exercise I'd downloaded from the Mandala Project's website. The plan was to use watercolors (high quality ones, not one of N's many $1 sets) and watercolor paper to create a color wheel mandala in a particular way. N put on some quiet music (I don't even remember what it was, we were all so busy with the project!), Z got out her good brushes - and let me say right here what a HUGE difference it makes, having really good brushes instead of the crappy little kids' brushes N&I used yesterday!!! - and we got to work with the compass, making sets of three interlocking circles.

All was fine until we discovered that many of our good watercolor paints, which have been sitting unused for about a year now, had dried up completely in the tubes. So we settled on "primary" colors of red, yellow and green instead. Each of us did her own mixing, so the colors came out slightly differently, and N did not leave her center white. We used different concentrations of paint as well. Here is Z's. She titled it "Tulip".
Isn't it pretty? She sprinkled a bit of salt on it for sparkles. You can tell she is very comfortable with paint in general and watercolors in particular.

N used less water, as she likes more concentrated color (no surprise there!). At the end, she took a paper towel and stroked downwards to create stripes. She was the first to come up with a title for her mandala - it's called "Striped," in two syllables. ;-)
I like the way she stroked in three different directions - it adds to the texture of the design. I really like this mandala a lot, and she was very happy with it.

Mine was fun to make. I call it "Traffic Light Colorwheel," for obvious reasons!
I tried coarse kosher salt on mine, but it didn't work as well as regular table salt. Next time I will know better! I also played around with the feathering at the places where the two colors met, and you can see this better if you click on the image to get a giant version of it. It was a lot of fun.

Some time in the next couple of weeks, we plan to get more watercolors so we can do more with them, since we still have plenty of paper. But there are several other media we have yet to experiment with.

I wanted to post one more mandala that N drew last night. We'd been talking about mandalas also being a way to work through ideas about God, or things we were worried about or wondering about, several days ago. Last night while I was working on the computer, she drew this:
She explained that the figure on the right is God, the one in the middle is a little flowerchild who is praying to God because she is afraid of dying, and the one outside the mandala circle is the flowermother who is also praying. God is explaining to the flowerchild that it's all right, everyone dies eventually and it isn't anything to be afraid of, because when you die your body just becomes part of the earth and then your spirit stays alive forever. I asked why the mother is outside the mandala door & she said because "the flowerchild is talking just to God just the two of them right now." I asked why the two flowers are crying, and she said they aren't, their eyes are starry.

I think it's a marvelous picture, all the more so since she's labeled herself and me.


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