Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour


From little things, big things grow - if you persist

My art journey, Self Developmentphoenixarttally
mandala no 12 arttally

I am finding the sacred geometry in these mandalas rather fascinating.  There is something rather special about placing one circle after another in its series and trusting that it you do that enough times this beautiful floral lattice pattern will appear without you even trying.

There is a lesson in that to be sure.

Small steps made consistently build into something that may not even seem possible when you start out. Each small circle - each step - may not seem like much in and of itself.  But if you persist with those little and seemingly inconsequential steps you find that from little things, big things grow.

Happy New Year.  May 2016 bring you all that you need.

Mandala no 11

My art journeyphoenixarttally

It's hard to believe Christmas has come and gone already. Hope yours was a festive one!

I'm still drawing mandalas and giving a lot of thought to what next month's series should be. Too many choices make for  difficult decisions....

The flower of life

Fascinating facts, My art journeyphoenixarttally
flower of life arttally

I love this pattern - Julie Gibbons showed me this. Circles are so clever. I now have sacred geometry on my list of Things I Would Like to Know More About. Yes. It's a long list.

The pattern in the centre of the mandala is known as the flower of life. It is found in ancient artworks and is present in nature. It is the continuation of  what is known as the seed of life or the Genesis pattern, which is the centre of this mandala from yesterday. If you keep making interlocking circles you end up with this, the flower of life.

I left out the black ink lines today. Went for a more muted effect using a bit of graphite here and there instead of ink. Not sure which is best. Black ink or no black ink? What do you think?

By the way, if you are now curious about sacred geometry and the flower of life check out this short video introduction to the topic. It is fascinating stuff.  If you prefer an even shorter, and word free version, try this.

Don't overthink it

My art journey, Self Developmentphoenixarttally
Mandala-no-8 arttally don't overthink it

I tend to gravitate towards cooler, calming colour schemes. This time I decided to warm things up a bit with happy oranges and yellows.  I also wanted to play with some of the more masculine, angular shapes in contrast to all the feminine curves.

So all in all, far too much thinking.  It always turns out that the mandalas I draw with little or no thought, in a far more random, doodley fashion are the ones I end up liking the best.

I think the lesson for me in today's mandala is don't overthink it. Just do it.

There is always something to be said for having a plan and intentionally trying to incorporate something different. Inevitably you will learn something. But to act from a place of instinct and embrace ease is a considerably more uplifting, soul enriching experience.

If you are a planner, or prone to overthinking, give yourself a day off once in awhile. Let it unfold. It doesn't always have to be so hard.

Mandalas and self discovery

My art journeyphoenixarttally

There are those who believe that the mandala carries messages from your inner most self.  The idea is that drawing mandalas is a way to get in touch with your intuition, a path to self discovery.

Carl Jung believed that a mandala is "the the psychological expression of the totality of the self".  For a period, he himself drew a daily mandala investigating it as a tool for self discovery.  The artwork he created in this process has since been published as The Red Book.  There is also a 'reader's edition', which is considerably less expensive but does not contain all the original artwork.

I find that I usually just draw without thinking too much about it. Sometimes the finished result is just an image to me, sometimes it seems to have more meaning. This one, mandala no 7 is an example of that.  When I had finished the mandala it seemed to make a lot of sense. It says to me that we construct a few external layers to present to the  outside world. Those layers have dark and light, ups and downs. This exterior might be patchy and uneven but it forms a cohesive, recognisable and whole shape nonetheless.  Inside, however... well, that's more complicated. Colourful, but complicated.

Mandalas and symbols

My art journeyphoenixarttally
mandalas no 6 arttally

Drawing mandalas can easily lead to thinking about symbols. The circle itself is a rather fascinating timeless symbol of wholeness and unity. The hand is a symbol of protection. There are many intricate artworks featuring the hand or its more stylised symbol the hamsa - check these out if you are interested.

I chose to draw around my own hand today. That feels good partly because it is the sort of thing you do as a very small child and partly because it makes your mandala very personal, almost like your fingerprint.

Water soluble oil pastels that smell of childhood

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally
water soluble oil pastels arttally

I seem to gravitate towards the cooler colours so this time I opted for a change.  I used my Portfolio water soluble oil pastels by Crayola to add the colour here. There is something delightfully reminiscent of childhood about using a chubby stick of waxy crayon. The fact that it then turns to smooth paint with the addition of a bit of water and a paintbrush is just one of the wonders of modern art supplies. Aren't we lucky to have them.

If you fancy trying them they are not too expensive, good for kids of all ages. The colours are quite glorious and you can use them with or without the addition of water.  Bear in mind though, if you are of the mixed media persuasion that if you try and add some pen lines on top of them you might run in to a spot of trouble.  They are oil based crayons so it is best to do any pen work first otherwise you may not be able to make marks over the top of the pastels.

So much fun. They even smell of childhood.

Meditative mandala making

My art journeyphoenixarttally
mandalas no 2 arttally

The second mandala that I drew in Julie Gibbons wonderful free class taught me just what a meditative experience mandala making can be.

This mandala started out as a series of concentric circles made with a compass. The circles were divided into equal portions to make a rough guide. Just enough planning and preparing to keep the logical analytical part of the brain happy.

Then begins the more creative intuitive part - what could the circles and grid support? A lotus flower finds its form with the addition of soft curves, slightly imperfect - the only way my hand drawn curves ever turn out.

Methodically rotating the page and repeating the shapes is a very calming experience. Round and round, adding colour.

Ah.... bliss...

Magical mystical mandalas

My art journeyphoenixarttally
mandala no 1 arttally

It is hard to believe that it is the final series for the year. I had originally planned to repeat my favourite series theme from the year so far but I have just taken a wonderful free mandala class with Julie Gibbons.  This is the first mandala I drew in the class and now I can't stop so December is going to be all about mandalas.

I have had a big square sketchbook set aside and waiting for mandalas. To be honest I have all sorts of books about mandalas too.  Apparently all I needed was Julie's terrific class to get me to actually do something with them all.

Now it seems all rather perfect for the end of the year.  As the silly season begins in frantic earnest, setting aside some time for some soothing meditative drawing brings a calming balance.  You don't even need to be able to draw.

Why not give it a try?