Natural Symmetry

Natural Symmetry, 10 x 14", ink & goache on paper

Natural Symmetry, 10 x 14″, ink & goache on paper

I’ve been thinking about incorporating colour into my mandalas for months. This is my first attempt at combining mandala and painting. The mediums used here are ink and goache on watercolour paper. Next time I’d like to try using coloured pencils with a mandala to see what’s possible with textures.

This piece considers symmetry found in nature alongside the symmetry of geometry and mathematics. I used the air plants here because of their unfurling nature and the markings on the geometric centre were inspired by the markings of butterfly wings.

A sneaky puppy

A sneaky puppy

 

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The Messenger

The Messenger, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30"

The Messenger, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30″

This turtle has been wanting to be painted for a while. I started this piece a little over a month ago. As some of you may know, I had an accident around that time. I was walking my dog on a pedestrian trail near my house when I slipped on a patch of ice and broke my ankle. This is why I haven’t posted in a while.

Source images of red sea turtles have been taped up on my art room wall well before my accident. I’ve had a long time to think about him. When I first filled in his outline on the canvas I felt like I was in over my head, but I got into a great painting zone and after half the night, I was happy with how he turned out. I’m really enjoying a totemic approach to animals these days.

In terms of process, as an experiment while making this piece, I took progress photos every time I took a break. This turned out to be a great technique for me, since I changed my mind a few times about the way I painted the sky as well as the peak. It was by looking back at previous images that I was able to determine what I really wanted.

It’s kind of amazing how many hours went into this piece. In the past I might have been more frustrated at the time it took to create. Now however, with more experience, I am no longer as impatient with my work. That’s something great that’s come to me through this accident – patience. I hope I don’t lose sight of it when I’m walking again.

Hope you enjoy.

Bird’s Eye View

Pen & ink, 10 x 14

Pen & ink, 10 x 14

This is my first mandala of 2014. It’s called Bird’s Eye View. It was snowing steadily all day today. Even though it was a fairly warm day in comparison to recent days, I couldn’t bring myself to walk to the art store for more canvas. Instead, I spent the afternoon drawing at the dining table.

Recently, I’ve been watching a documentary series called Through the Wormhole. One episode  I saw last week looked at near death experiences. In that episode, there was a snippet of footage of a butterfly flying through a forest. Since then the idea of flying with an animals eyes has stuck with me. One of the ideas discussed involved the notion that at the moment of death, our minds might latch on to the consciousness of other being in a quantum like transfer of awareness. That’s the best way I can restate it – non technical as I am.

This mandala explores that idea – of reaching out beyond human form and seeing life through another’s eyes.

Hope you enjoy the mandala, and as always thanks for being interested in my work.

Crow

There is something going on with the crows in this neighborhood. You don’t expect to hear or see birds in the winter, but there is a really large flock of them living in the trees around here. The flock covers the bare branches like some strange fruit. I like the sound of them though and they’re kind of fascinating, especially as I’ve never seen so many at once. 

This mandala came to me all in one go when I was sketching the other night. I had the idea in my sketchbook for a few days before I put it on paper and then I drew it all in one night. I think that it is one of my favorites so far. I didn’t really intend on it being a crow. I’ve called it Crow more because I spent a little time this afternoon taking pictures of them in the trees.

The photo at the bottom is one of the pictures I took. The birds cover more trees than the ones shown in the photo, just to give you an impression of how bizarre it is to see so many of them.

 

Image

 

Image

Unfurling

First Mandala of the year. I have been wanting to draw since the beginning of the year but I packed while recovering from the stomach flu and left most of my art stuff behind. This last weekend I went out and got the basics for my mandalas. Whenever I start drawing after some time away I rediscover aspects about this creative process that become second nature with practice. With this mandala I had some trouble deciphering what I wanted to do because I was afraid I would ruin it.

In my experience so far, I find that the work that I enjoy most is always fresh and almost stream of consciousness. There are exceptions obviously, but I’ve hardly ever been successful going about paintings and drawings by planning, doing studies and eventually executing in paint as most training tells you to do. For me it’s all about the immediacy of the process. I love dripping paint and in-between discoveries that come out of circumstance. With my mandalas, I sometimes start out with an idea of a shape, but the geometry that I form and the textures and symbols that go into it invariably happen as the piece evolves. Making those kinds of decisions are scarier in ink. And also when I am out of practice my hands are less sure of themselves.

Overall I like the sense of depth in this piece. I find it feels like an optical illusion when I look at it.

Also at some point this year a new digital camera will come into my life and rid me of my image quality issues. Until then, bear with me.