Do by all means be sure to click on the title link, select "foto galerie" and scroll down to see the marvelous mandalas created by the members of the Nederlandse Mandala Vereniging, or Dutch Mandala Association, even if you can't read the text. Notice the counted cross stitch pieces, which were created "free-hand" - that is, without patterns.
I learned of this organization, and the practice of free-hand counted cross stitch mandalas, from Anneke Huyser's Mandala Workbook For Inner Self-Discovery. It's an absolute gem, the best book I have yet read on mandalas. In just 112 pages, Huyser presents a brief cross-cultural history of mandalas, a beginner's guide to their creation (in the widest variety of media I have ever seen anywhere), and a selective but thorough annotated resource list (including inspirational music).
Because it is translated from Dutch and a foreign import, Huyser's book is rather pricey for such a slim volume, but every page is packed with information and inspiration. Where larger, flashier books offer many big color plates that may only serve to intimidate, Mandala Workbook gives comfortable, informative text and plenty of b&w illustrations (as well as a few color plates). Huyser's instructions for beginners are particularly clear and appealing.
In short, if you're only going to buy one mandala book, this is the one to invest in. It's a great introductory text, and it will continue to serve you well as a reference text when you become more proficient in your mandala endeavors.
It's been a few days since I last updated my mandala work. I am plugging away on my painting homework, and feeling somewhat intimidated by the assignments - every piece I work on seems to scream "RANK AMATEUR!" But I am having fun with it, and I keep reminding myself that it is the act that counts, not the product.
In addition to painting (and to the pre-painting sketching), however, I have continued to create mandalas. I am one day behind, but here are the mandalas I have done so far. I made this one on some scrapbooking paper I bought at Michael's because I wanted to see what the swirls would look like when incorporated into the design. It did not turn out at all the way I wanted it to, and I had to white-out some mistakes. Ah, well, here it is, anyway:
This one began as a stylized Star of David but very quickly turned into a simple yantra pattern. So it's both - Stars of yantras. I enjoyed making it very much.
This third one I made today. It is actually blue and purple (and a bit of silver & red) on black, but I could not get the colors right with the camera.
I am in the middle of yet another one, but too tired to finish it tonight. I painted and sketched a great deal during today's D&D game, run by nephew C.
Here are two pieces that Z did in her Drawing I class, one last Thurs.:
and one last night:
Incredible, eh? I bow to her superior ability to reproduce reality. She and C are amazing in that regard. I stumble along wretchedly, doing my own funky thang. ;-)