Mandalas, which evolved from the teachings of ancient Hinduism and Buddhism, are complex representations of spiritual or ritualistic symbols, often representing the totality of the universe. In contemporary times they have become generic terms for any diagram, formation or geometric pattern that can represent the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically which are designed in a geometric, repetitive pattern. In some traditions mandalas were created to focus attention as an aid to meditation and possibly trance induction. They are often used to create a sacred space to contemplate, allow us to search inwards and potentially provide us spiritual guidance.
By choosing mandalas as the guiding design element for this series I am trying to touch on some of these historic precedents. In looking at these works, I hope I can get the viewer to think about nature in a deeper way and take the time to notice, absorb and understand these incredible forms and structures. A number of the works are created with the technique I have used my previous series – pen and ink with layered ink washes. As I have mentioned earlier, my predilection to these materials and the affect they create, is founded in my desire to get the viewer to truly consider the architectural aspects of plants. I had always felt that the intensity of colors found in the plant world had such a powerful hold on the eye that structure was often overlooked as we were seduced by the allure of nature’s color bounty.
But it was time for me to consider pushing myself to new, uncomfortable places, and color was certainly one of those places. I had dabbled very briefly with watercolors previously but had little experience in terms of mixing, manipulating or applying colors. What you see below are my first attempts at taking watercolors on in a serious way. These were efforts which humbled me, reminded me how much I have to learn but also provoked me to avoid resting on laurels and keep on the journey of personal challenge. I was also surprised at how the color gave the plants another life, a level of vibrancy and connection to each other while giving me the opportunity to find additional ways of composing a page.