Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Mandala Process Continues...

Watercolor Mandala (I don't remember doing this one)

So you've tried making a mandala? Good for you! Advice on creating them? You bet.

First off, don't judge yourself on their quality, because making them isn't about art. If you end up with some cool art, that's merely a bonus. Creating them is an outlet... a meditation. Some people knit, hike, play music - all for the purpose of letting go. This is the same with the mandala process, and the cool thing about them is that you can reflect on them once completed- and sometimes, you might just notice meaningful things amidst all of those lines and doodles.

I always start at the center, (I consider it to be "me" in the center) and then I work outward in concentric circular patterns. It's helpful if you try (at least in the beginning) to go only in direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) as it helps you to develop a rhythm to your pattern-making. It gets much easier once you develop a rhythm to your work.

Develop a small library of shapes and designs to use. Don't over think it. You can do it all with little circles, lines, X's, triangles, or try using letters from the alphabet - M's work well, or an "S" on it's side.

Remember that no line or mark you put on the page needs to be perfect. In fact, they shouldn't be perfect. Because if they are perfect, you are putting too much conscious effort into it. Again I stress, this isn't about creating art - it's a meditative process and you shouldn't overthink it. Do enough of them (I've probably done over 400 of them) and the various patterns and gestures start to come a little easier. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process - resist the urge to judge your creation. I give you full permission to make mistakes and crooked lines and so you should extend the same permission to yourself.

I recommend using some kind of tablet that allows you to easily spin it so you can continuously work in every direction. Select a writing implement that allows you to work effortlessly. If the pen/marker, etc. doesn't move smoothly on the paper in every direction, it may cause frustration and/or hand fatigue.

If like me, you end up sitting and concentrating on a piece for a long period of time, remember to consciously breathe, and stretch yourself out every once in a while. It's easy to get lost in one of these meditations and you don't want to stop and find yourself all cramped up.

But most of all - have fun & just let go!

4 comments:

sophie_lila said...

Thanks for sharing your process, Stephanie. I think I've mentioned my inability to draw these in the past - your post gives me hope and reminds me that it's about the process, not necessarily the end result.

Biffybeans said...

Thank you Sophie! Yes - it's just about giving yourself permission to put lines on paper and not being judgmental about the result. It's a way to drop into and out of your mind when you have the time to put pen to paper. Like when waiting in a doctor's office, or at the airport...

Linda Miller said...

I love your description of mandalas. I love to get into bed early in the evening with my pencils and markers and art pad and books of printed mandalas. It is so fun to choose colors and designs based on how I feel at the moment. It is a form of meditation for me. Thanks for sharing here!

Orice said...

Your mandalas always inspire me. Thanks for sharing the "how" of your process. Think I'll dip into a few more for myself again.

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