I wanted to share a commissioned mandala that I finished last week. A group of women are giving this piece to a friend before she moves across the country -- so I thought of this as a "Happy New Life" gift. :)
I love creating custom mandalas. It's my chance to take a peek into someone's heart and mind, and create a piece of art that is a reflection of who they are. I begin by gathering information about the person, and in this case the friends supplied me with tidbits they felt were important, including symbols, loves, and sentiments.
One important symbol that her friends shared with me was a six-pointed star, so that's where I started: it forms the center of the hand-designed mandala.
Here is the initial layer of collage and paint on the 24 x 24 inch canvas. The mandala design is barely visible, and I've just added the first bit of gold leaf. Symbols included here are Hawthorn Tree berries/leaves/blossoms, bees, phases of the moon, and Mistletoe.
Here is the piece a couple of days later with some blueish-green added, more gold leaf, and more white. I knew that I wanted the flowers, berries, and leaves to be an important part of the piece, so I used frisket to mask those images to protect them from the deep color I was using for the background.
I also got really stuck at this point!
When the piece I'm working on starts to look good, I get nervous that I'm going to mess things up. This is when I slow down a bit and stare at it for a loooooong time.
Here it is with a deeper background color, and the frisket rubbed off of the Hawthorn bits. It's a little bit "busy", but almost there.
And finally: the finished piece!
Deeper background color, last bits of gold leaf added, as well as the stag lower right, and a few "surprise" elements on the side and bottom that aren't visible here.
It's so difficult to photograph these pieces accurately, as they change with the light. This mandala glows and radiates so much joy and life, it was very hard for me to wrap it up!
Included with the mandala is a write-up of all the symbolism in the piece. About half of the symbols were intuited by me, and I was thrilled when the feedback on the photos was "It's like you know her!" I hope the lovely lady who I made this for loves it as much as I loved making it.
If you are interested in commissioning a mandala for yourself -- or someone you love -- send me an email and let's talk!