Mandalas & Art as A Tool for Personal Development
Mandala is a sanskrit word that means circle. Mandalas are ancient spiritual and ritual symbols believed to represent the universe. Some cultures believe that mandalas are important tools for meditation. You might recall having seen monks spend endless hours pouring delicate sand designs into mandalas only to let the sand be carried away by the wind as a reminder of the impermanence of life.
In my life, mandalas have been a helpful tool for gaining insight, clarity, and becoming more authentic. Creating any piece of art is a process. When we quiet down and pay attention to that process we learn a lot about our mind, emotions and creative process. Sometimes the process of creating a piece of art is more important than the finished product itself. I believe that the lessons we learn creating in art can be taken back and applied in our life, business or relationships to help us live life to our highest potential.
For example, I began creating this watercolor mandala several years ago with the intention of paying attention to my tendency towards perfectionism. As I painted delicate designs for hours, I began to know that my creative process was lacking the spontaneity and joy that I desired when making art. I was often tense and focused on making a finished product that other people would enjoy looking at.
After making that realization, I picked up my brush and begin painting dark streaks of what I imagine it might look like in the darkest corners of outer space. The painting might not look like much to a viewer. However, this mandalas hangs on the wall in my studio and serves as a powerful reminder that I can let go, and make art that is imperfect and deeply meaningful. I would say that piece of art marks a very powerful moment in my artistic career.
I often times also use mandalas to teach children mathematical concepts like radial symmetry, angles, division, focus, and proportion. These geometric mandalas have helped to teach me patience, focus and discipline. These geometric designs have informed so much of my current work.
You can learn more about making simple mandalas online at: http://www.art-is-fun.com/how-to-draw-a-mandala.html. I also am hosting several workshops on creating 3D sculptural mandalas from natural materials, as well as geometric watercolor mandalas this spring and summer. You can find out more at www.theaustinartery.com