I am taking Heather Plett’s Mandala Discovery e-course this month and it has let me explore my word of the year (artist) in a whole new way. The mandala above and the detail below were my response to the first prompt: play. Play! My boys do it all day long. But me? Play is hard. Well, I don’t know if that is completely true. Play is easy, but unhooking from the ideas in my head of what play should look like, how I should be doing it, and all the other shoulds banging around up there – that is not easy. When I first saw this prompt, I knew I wanted to do something different from the mandalas I had been drawing. I also knew I wanted to up my scale and go from a 5-inch circle to a whopping 12-inch circle. A foot in diameter seemed like an endless wasteland when I first trimmed the paper and drew my outline. (And just as an aside, Tara Mohr has a book all about playing big that has been on my mind lately. This interview she did with Jamie Ridler was excellent.)

I thought about collaging the mandala – which is my first love and honestly the way I tried to create my first-ever mandala. {B.A.D.} And I’m not just talking about aesthetics here – I just could not get my head around how you were supposed to get paper that is essentially made up of straight edges to fit in a circle. The levels at which my mind remains trapped is slightly embarrassing. Anyway, my initial idea for collaging a ‘play’ mandala was to cut up an art catalog and use images of paints and brushes and pastels and such. When I reflected on this later, I realized that would have been a twice-removed facsimilie of what play is – a representation of the very things I would like to be playing with. Thankfully, I didn’t get stuck there and just decided to go for it.

I ripped up a bunch of colorful scrap papers to form a base and then painted on top of that. I still had the idea that I should draw some kind of design, because drawing had become synonymous with mandalas for me. So I took a deep red oil pastel and drew a scalloped design along the outer edge. When I finished the loop around, I realized I hated it. One great thing about oil pastels is that you can wipe them off – especially on a surface slick with paint and mod-podge. As I started wiping, the color started to smear into itself. The hard edges of the scallops disappeared and I was left with a ring of soft red. THIS was a whole new ballgame. I played with every oil pastel I had, creating radiant rings of color, drawing on top of this mess and then taking a bamboo skewer and carving lines and words into the wax that had accumulated.

Hello, Play! Lovely to meet you. IMG_0591

4 thoughts on “Playing

  1. I’m loving this eCourse, too! Thanks for inviting me. Play is a big one…not so easy to disengage from the shoulds. Isn’t it funny that just when we decide to throw something out all together, we discover something new? My play mandala reminded me of being a child – a combination of doodling and coloring with bright colors. While working, I felt truly free and focused. Beautiful.

  2. Pingback: Sure as the World: Year in Review | Sure as the World

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