Several days ago, N and I had the idea of doing ocean mandalas. I told her about my beloved elementary school art teacher, who once gave me an enormous circle of paper and told me to fill it with whatever I wanted. I filled it with tiny creatures from my imagination. It took me three class periods. Everyone else finished in one, but mine were very small (the teacher insisted that I fill the paper, something I was quite timid about doing). She allowed me to finish in my own time. She praised the finish product extravagantly, but what I remember most was how much fun it was to fill the paper with so many curving shapes. I loved this project. I hung it on my wall when I finally took it home, and had it for a long, long time till it got pretty ragged.
This time I wanted to fill a circle with little fish and other things of the ocean - I'm not sure what put this into my head, but N caught my ocean fever, so yesterday morning we put on some "watery" music ("The Tropical Rain Forest - The Nature of Greatest Sounds," a cd I picked up in Taiwan in 2000; "the one thing in the tropical rain forest of the value is the active diversity") and got out watercolor pencils. We worked on very wet watercolor paper with our pencils.
N chose to work on a strip of paper rather than a circle - as I mentioned earlier, she finds circles too constraining. She began with a lovely little mermaid, and then drew seaweed.
Note the nice, watery "bleed" the pencils-on-water create.
I, meanwhile, began with an octopus in the center, and then added some fish and things in and around it. After a short while, I realized that because of the flowing nature of this mandala, I wasn't going to be able to do the concentric circles thing as strictly, so I went to the outside of the circle and did the mandala in sections: a bit of seaweed & a starfish, or an anemone & a clownfish. In this way, I worked my way around the mandala instead of from the inside out or the outside in.
It was a lot of fun, and I became much more proficient in the use of watercolor pencils. I don't feel that this is one of my more introspective mandalas! but it was a useful exercise in the medium, and a very enjoyable and relaxing couple of hours spent with N.
Toward the end of our session, Z joined us and worked a while on a valentine for a friend. Here is the front of it (she isn't finished with the inside yet):
Cute, isn't it? How she can just come up with these off the top of her head I don't understand, but she does it all the time, in doodling no less. Some time maybe she'll let me post a page from one of her comics, which are really fun.
And while I'm getting caught up, here is something N brought home from school and kindly allowed as how it could be posted because when she was making it she thought that it really was a mandala. I agree. It's a very pretty one, and currently hanging by my computer. She said she told her friends it was a mandala. So mandala-fever is spreading. N is the figure in the center, she says.
Next, here are two paintings C did for his 2-D art class last semester. This first one was his final project, and titled "Angel of Death" - it is a redesign of a classical painting by the same name. All the students were required to work from the same painting and use all primary colors. C was not entirely happy with it. He didn't think it was very interesting.
The second one is certainly very interesting, and I am hoping to hang it soon. This is his own design - I love the colors, too! He went into this class hating painting, and while he hasn't done any more painting just for fun, I think he's decided it's not such a terrible medium after all.
Gorgeous, isn't it?
And R has created a mandala, too. I believe it speaks for itself.
Now you see one of the things I love about my husband.