Under the influence of the friend I stayed with right after I moved to San Francisco in 1974, I bought a box of crayons and some colored pencils and jumped into mandala-making. The practice involved creating a new one each day. My first efforts were kind of crude, but the intention was to develop self-awareness rather than to create works of art.
Nevertheless, I was dissatisfied with the slapdash approach that seemed to be necessary in order to produce a new mandala every day. I started being more deliberate and spending more than one day working on each one. Right around then, I met RC (my partner of 30 years), who was a very talented artist. He was working with the mandala form on both small and large scales. He had a stash of drafting tools (among other stashes) and showed me how to use them (the drafting tools). We got into the habit of spending hours sitting together at the dining table, each working on our own drawings.
I made a couple dozen mandalas using markers and colored pencils and developed a heavy Prismacolor habit. We framed a few and hung them on the wall. But i stuck them inside a manila folder a decade or two ago and filed it away in such a safe place I haven’t been able to lay my hands on it for years. In the course of looking for it, however, I unearthed a number of other things I’d forgotten I’d kept or had lost track of. So it’s fitting that last week, while looking for something entirely unrelated, I finally found the manila folder containing the mandalas!
The ones I like best are:
All of these were created in 1975 and 1976, before the advent of the personal computer and scanner. It was a different time and place, a different way of life. That’s one of the reasons I’m glad to have found them. They remind me of living at a slower pace, of paying attention to things in a different way, and of the companionable evenings RC and I spent together.
I still enjoy coloring mandalas occasionally, but even though I have that stash (of drafting tools) around here somewhere, I haven’t taken the time to draw my own designs in so long it seems unlikely I’ll ever do it again. But that’s OK. That was then, and this is now.
Is there something you once really got into and enjoyed, but that you no longer do–or maybe no longer even think about?
- Drawing Mandalas: The Mirror of Wholeness (jeremiah2811.wordpress.com)
- Mandala Journal (chandrasherin.wordpress.com)
- Sacred Tibetan Art – The Sand Mandala: Creating a Picture of Universal Compassion (photos.mercurynews.com)