I get asked so often how long it takes me to paint a mandala. It’s that “How long is a piece of string?” time again. It totally depends on what size it is, how detailed it is, how much I have going on around its creation and so on…
I decided to share some of my thoughts on this with you in an article because it always helps me to get clarity on the whole process.
First and foremost painting a mandala is a meditation. I always get a sort of ethereal nudge when it’s time to make up a frame and begin the creative process of birthing a mandala. It’s never left up to me to just say – okay today I’m going to paint one. So it’s a sort of cosmic ordering, if you like. I remember the first time a lovely gentleman came up close to my stand and after a few minutes of
admiring my paintings asked me – where do you get the templates from? That really made me smile. What a lovely question. I began to explain to him that I never really know what the paintings are going to look like when I start them. The quicker I get out of my own way and allow everything to flow, the better. That’s when the magic starts.
Many of you will know that I stretch my silk onto the frame, mark the centre and then draw several random concentric circles with a fabric marker and compasses. I then take my bottle of gold gutta, the resist that creates the pattern, and start to draw the pattern, circle by circle, going out from the centre. I allow it all to unfold freehand, so the mandalas have a natural, easy symmetry without being too exact.
There are a few exceptions to this. One or two of my paintings depict specific sacred geometry and so they had to be created using the compasses and ruler. An example of this is my “Stargate” which shows a five and six-pointed star nestled into each other, coccooned in a mandala. With some of my larger mandalas, the process of applying the gold gutta takes on a really meditative tone as some of the outer rings take
one hour at a time. I normally play some of my favourite spiritual music and then completely surrrender to what is happening. There have been times that I have stood back and said – oh, wow, that’s what you look like. It’s only when I stand back and put down my tools that I get the bigger picture.
And during this time the colours just choose themselves. They step forward in an easy and effortless process, so I don’t have to think about it. Knowing that any colour goes with any other one makes everything so simple. 🙂
And to the question of my having a lot of patience to do this kind of artwork, well, it’s all about being in the present moment, the extended now when I paint. Then linear time ceases to exist. It’s a moment and an eternity in one.
These photos here show “Stargate” being created. I painted it in the summer months and so was able to have the patio doors open to let the warm air in to circulate in the room. I lost count of how long this painting was actually on the frame. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. It was a pure joy to paint. The chakra colours run up through the two stars with high-vibrational magenta in the centre.
But one thing is very clear. Painting in this way is a nourishment for the soul. Colour is pure energy. And energy allowed completely free flow is a potent form of healing. So healing the world with these beautiful colours seems a very worth while way to be.