31 December 2014

The Mandala: A Self-Exploration Tool

"My mandalas were cryptograms concerning the state of the self which were presented to me anew each day. In them I saw the self - that is, my whole being - actively at work. To be sure, at first I could only dimly understand them; but they seemed to me highly significant, and I guarded them like precious pearls."
Carl Gustav Jung. Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

My love for mandalas started after reading this book in 2000. It is Jung's semi-autobiographical book, recorded, edited and written by Aniela Jaffé, one of his co-workers for many years, following a long series of interviews with him.
Since then I've been reading and learning about mandalas, making, drawing, painting, embroidering them.

From tomorrow I'm committing to a year of self exploration using the mandala as a tool.
I will be working through

You can do it on your own using the book but I know I need a little encouragement so, I enrolled in Julie Gibbons 's online workshop Mandala Magic 2015 starting 20 January. It is based on the book and done through art journaling. Sounds perfect!

I'll also be following the 100Mandalas Challange, where Kathryn and Megan will be starting the Mandala Workbook next week.

If you want to learn about the history and psychology of the mandala, learn a little about how to interpret your personal mandalas and how to use your mandalas as a self-exploration tools,  I suggest you start by reading Creating Mandalas: For Insight, Healing, and Self-Expression also by Susanne F. Fincher. I read this book the first time almost 15 years ago, and after C.G.Jung's writings, this remains as my favorite book on mandalas.

What are your plans for this coming year?

30 December 2014

Eight Fold Star Mandala

The end of the year activities don't let me much time to do my art.
Yesterday I managed to seat down at my table for the whole afternoon to paint this geometric constructed mandala, inspired by the eight fold star found on Islamic art.

Most of you know I don't usually use tools to trace my mandalas, but here I am using a ruler and a compass again, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying it.

After I did the construction, I inked the design, then I colored it in using watercolor, gouache and ink.

Just in case you're wondering, the metallic paints are Winsor and Newton's Designers Gouache gold and silver on the left, in the little mints tin, the other four are Daniel Smith's Antique Iridescent gold, bronze, copper and silver. The little jar is Speedball gold calligraphy ink. 
 In the mandala I used the gold gouache and the gold ink.

23 November 2014

Long Time No See: New Mandala Tutorial

Well, it's been a while since my last post, some of you follow me on Facebook or Instagram where I have been posting these months, but I think is about time for a post on my blog.

I have been busy with my Botanical Art course with the SBA, which is great but takes a lot of time and effort and I've been neglecting a little bit my other art, specially art journaling.

This week  I've been participating in a fabulous online 5 Day Mandala Workshop by Julie Gibbons, which has sparked my inner magic again, I'm very thankful to her for that. From one of her excersises I was inspired to create this mandala.

I never use a template or grid for my mandalas and I don't usually use ruler or a drawing compass, but I did for this one.

First, I drew a grid in graphite so I could easily erase it,  I used it to built my mandala in with graphite as well. For the grid I used a ruler and a compass.
When I was happy with my mandala skeleton I went on top of the lines with Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, using the same colors I was going to use to color in later, I also added some details to the shapes.

Then, I colored my mandala with Dr. PH. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor. These watercolors are liquid, lightfast, archival, artist pigment watercolor, I chose them because they are very intense. 

When the watercolors had dried completely I added a gold outer border using Gold Winsor and Newton Designers Gouache 

Once again I let it dry and I completed my mandala with my usual white ink details, using a dip pen and Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Ink.

I hope you are inspired to create your own mandala!

Drawing, painting, embroidering, making individual mandalas is a very personal activity. This excludes the ones used in established rituals or collective mandalas.
Each mandala show who you are at that very moment, they are always unique as you are.
I encourage you to get inspired but make your own, do not just copy, it does not make any sense that way!

20 July 2014

Embroidery Mode: Embroidered Mandalas

This past days I've been in embroidery mode.
As always mandalas are present in my art even in embroidery.

 I started by doing the mandalas on the first two photos to frame them in these gorgeous mini embroidery hoops made by Dandelyne.
 The one on the right is the first Gold Embroidery I make. They are real gold "threads", which were given to my by two very nice ladies a long time ago and I hadn't use.

Then I found the "circles" and Creative Stitching by Sue Spargo which inspired me to make these little felt squares with circles full of different fun stitches.
I used 100% wool felt from Cloud Craft Shop and calico which I painted in various colours, DMC stranded cotton, some variegated threads and glass seed beads.

Just in case you are wondering, I don't know yet what I will do with the little squares.

24 June 2014

Another Mehndi Inspired Mandala Tutorial

For this tutorial I'm using:

 Using the STABILO Pen 68 Mini or any water based felt tip pen, start your mandala in the center, and work outwards. I don't use a compass or any template.

Now, using the ZIG-Watercolor BrusH20 Detailer, go carefully over the outline of each shape you want to color, try not to go outside the line otherwise the ink will spread where the paper is wet. You can leave some white uncolored shapes.

When your mandala is completely dry use the
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 334 to draw the details and tidy up the borders.

For more detail step-by-step instructions of how to draw a Mehndi Inspired Mandala have a look at this post here. There you'll find a sheet with some forms you can use for your mandala.

18 June 2014

Kolam Inspired Simple Knot Tutorial

The inspiration for this knot came from several KOLAM designs I've seen on the web.
I have use it as a center in some of my latest mandalas.

For this tutorial I've used
Step 1
Start drawing a cross.

Step 2
Add perpendicular lines to each arm of the cross.

Step 3.
Draw three lines on each space following the direction os the external line. Its easier to add one in the middle and then one on each side

Fill the four spaces. It should look like this.

Step 4.
Start drawing the curved lines' start with the one closest to the middle.

Continue drawing the four curved lines, one for each straight line. The last one should start at the external line you drew in step 2.

Continue drawing the curved lines on each side of the square, following the same order.

Here's you finished simple knot.

Mandalas where I used this knot as center.

You can also watch the video where I draw the knot in real time

28 May 2014

New Style Mandala Painted Pebbles

Yesterday while having my morning shower I had this idea of making colored mandalas on pebbles.
 Completely out of my comfort zone, well a little bit, I pulled out some supplies and some pebbles. 

Hours later this is what I got.

The techniques and inspiration came from two of my projects published in MAKE YOUR MARK: Creative ideas using markers, paint pens, bleach pens & more.

20 May 2014

Mehndi Inspired Mandala Tutorial

MANDALA: Sanskrit, means circle. In religion and philosophy represents the whole, the universe. In Analytical Psychology represents the Self (C.G. Jung)
 MEHNDI: Hindi, the art of temporary henna tattoos, from the Sanskrit Menhika or henna plant.

For this tutorial I'm using:

This little page with the basic shapes I like using

Copyright © 2014 Maria Mercedes Trujillo A. All rights reserved.

The Process:
1. First I choose the colors I'm going to use (Lavender and Delft Blue don't come in the set pictured above, can be replaced by Dark Mauve Pink and Silver Gray)

2. I start always in the center, that way I can keep my mandala even, I don't use a compass or any template. Using my basic shapes page I choose to start with a spiral.

3. Now I add one of the borders.

4. Then I add petal shapes around the border.

5. I add some filling to the petal shapes. I start adding leaves.

6. Fill the leaves.

7. Add an outer adornment to the leaves and some circles on the spaces between them.

8. Add a border again.

 9. More leaves or petals, add fillings.

10. Outer adornment and little circles in the spaces between petals/leaves.

You can keep repeating from step 3, adding more elements from the basic shapes page or your own, making your mandala as big and complex as you want.

When you feel you have finished your mandala write the date.
It is perfectly fine if it doesn't turn up completely round and symmetrical, you will get there with practice.
It is a process to relax and have fun regardless of the end result.
Look at your mandala with love, you just made it and it is precious!
Keep all your mandalas even if you don't like them much, you can follow how they change with time.

If you have any question you can ask on the comments , send me an e-mail or through the contact form on the left of this blog.

Have fun!!!

Note: If you want to see how I draw a very similar mandala on a pebble, have a look at this video.

Please if you share about this tutorial link back to my site!!!

Some examples done following the steps on this tutorial.