Welcome creators to the very first project of the year 2021! I can not tell how excited I am to get started with this journey, not just for myself, but for YOU!
I’m artist April Small and I am a long time acrylic paint class instructor and certified Master life Coach/Therapeutic Art Life Coach who you can connect with directly on Facebook . I love to bring people and communities together to get creative and particularly LOVE helping individuals like you to find your creative path. Each and every one of us has their own unique creative voice and I feel as though it is my special place her on earth to help others tap into that innate creative being that is often lying dormant deep within you. We as humans have a strong desire to take our ideas and see them into existence, we find so much pleasure and joy in the creative process and build confidence and self-esteem when we see the results of our efforts. Check my business page Odonata Artistic Services for my upcoming in person or virtual classes and workshops or join my group Creating HeART to further develop your creative habit.
🎉LETS DO THIS!🎊
Remember even if you think you cant do it or its not going to come out good, its important to TRY, the process of experimenting and playing around with art is fun and it is not about completing the most perfect amazing creation the world has ever seen. It’s about the journey, it’s about finding out more about yourself and the world around you throughout the process, it’s about connecting to your inner child, that creative being within because when you do (I know for me personally this rings very true) your going to find a place of calming peace and also excited energy at the same time! It is such an amazing feeling and I want to share it with you! REMEMBER I BELIEVE IN YOU!💞
Lets dive in to our first project!
What is Mandala art?🤔
“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground, or, to put it in mythic terms, the divinity incarnate in man.” -Carl Jung
“Mandla is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. In the Eastern religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism it is used as a map representing deities, or specially in the case of Shintoism, paradises, kami or actual shrines.” -Wikipedia
Check out some examples HERE. (since I strayed ((of course I did🙃)) from the normal structured aesthetic of the typical mandala you should take a peek at what they typically look like)
Why do Mandala Art?
Through my years as an artist, art instructor, and training as a Therapeutic Art Life Coach I learned that there was a real healing aspect to the creation of mandala art, along with using that art afterword as a way to positively reinforcing your confidence and self-esteem PLUS a bonus is you can look at it while meditating! I don’t know about you but I have a super hard time sitting still meditating and often find myself wondering off with my thoughts and even my gaze. So a beautiful piece of artwork like this could be a great aid in our meditation practice as well! (I gave it a try and I actually was surprised at my ability to get a little less distracted, having that focal point brought me both comfort and something interesting, and peaceful to look at while I did my breathing.)
I found this project to be so calming. I put on some really nice light music in the background and used this as a little self-care “me” time during Lillian’s nap (my little one). I think having that time to just sit in silence and unwind as a parent and entrepreneur is SO IMPORTANT. I will also say this is a great exercise for when your feeling stressed or stuck on an issue, by stepping away from the problem and centering your attention elsewhere you allow your brain to free up its focus and explore outside the box solutions to your problems! It also allows you to work through some of those difficult feelings that come up from time to time so ENJOY, and I hope you find some happiness on your journey!
What supplies do you need?
As promised in my first (intro) post about Project 52 I have done my research friends and I have looked up and down high and low to find the materials at a REASONABLE price. I don’t know about you but this craft thing gets expensive and I like to find quality products and for the BEST PRICE. So here is what I found and of course links so that you can grab a set too if, NO when! you choose to give this project a whirl, and I hope you share with me your results!
🖼First you will need a surface.
Now I am the type of person that sees opportunity almost anywhere, like literally you can do art everywhere just take a look around and I am sure you can find a number of places you could stick some cute little mandala art. Your coffee mug, a lamp shade, side table, cover of your journal, desk draws or even the tiny little knobs on those draws could have so cute tiny little mandala art, I MEAN ANYWHERE! So get creative if you don’t want to buy a canvas. You can use wood, glass, slate and other surfaces doesn’t really matter (as long as your not going to get in trouble, I can’t tell you how many times I took things I was not suppose to and used them for my creative projects as a kid. I got in trouble for it far to often, haha).
I got my canvas at Michael’s, I would recommend a 6×6 or 8x8 but don’t limit yourself to that, DO WHAT SPEAKS TO YOU! I would keep in mind the bigger the surface the more space to fill and when you’re just starting out it can be super intimidating!!! The last thing you want to do is get yourself all stressed out and then end up never starting the project. Michael’s has these great multi packs and often have sales going on so you can get them relatively cheap, if you don’t have a Michael’s in your area just check the craft section at Walmart or here on Amazon, and last but certainly not least your local craft store which may also have all kinds of magical goodies waiting to be discovered!
🪄Next you need the tools.
I found mine at a great price on Amazon (of course you can check any of the other places I listed above for the canvases as well) BUT because of COVID my local Michael’s was closed at the time so I went with these for only $7.88! Totally worth it, I was not disappointed because they came in the mail super fast (I have a prime membership so free next day shipping) and they seem to be great quality, I was surprised at the weight of them and they felt good in my hands. These are like you magic little wands and once you get them your ready to get started on an amazing journey, lets conquer this mandala art challenge like brave creative worriers!
🎨We need paint!
Paint is easy, you can get it at Walmart super cheap! Acrylic will do for most surfaces (it can be used on canvas, wood, glass and more) BUT I will tell you that
⬇️HELPFUL TIP ALERT⬇️
*Enamel paint is much better if your working with glass or ceramic surfaces, not only will you get a better result but it may/or may not withstand being washed if your decorating a coffee mug, wine glass or something you plan to use regularly.
if you do go with acrylic I do recommend that you get some sort of sealant just to protect the surface from wear. Here are a few options over at Walmart this is one of those topics I could go on and on about, so I will have to make another blog post about this at a later date. You can use modge podge or a matte or gloss finish to keep it short and simple, I used a high gloss for this particular project because I wanted it to shine but it would have looked great with a matte finish as well.
🌈Color combinations oh my!
Selecting your colors is so fun but it can be tricky. When I am selection my color schemes it is usually based off of something I seen and was inspired by. This topic is literally another blog post in itself as well, which I fully intend to get to at a later date, for now with is project we just need to select a few colors that speak to us or maybe match the room you plan to hang it in. Don’t stress to much just pick up to 3 or 4 and you will definitely need/want both white and black paint as well. (Actually I lied, if you are painting on a surface you may not need/want the black, like if you did your mandala art on a lamp shade or journal cover your not going to need to paint it black the surface can stay the way it is.)
Ok now we are ready!😃
-I start by painting my canvas completely black and unlike my other paintings I paint all the way around the edges as well so we get a nice clean finish that can be hung directly on the wall without being framed. Next we let it dry…. I know boring but super necessary.
-Then its time to start working on our design and of course you can be thinking about this while your waiting for it to dry. I knew right away that I wanted to do something different so I strayed from the traditional mandala aesthetic and did something that speaks to me personally so that was a dragonfly shape which if you didn’t already know is what my business name “odonata” means. You can free hand the design you come up with or if your worried about spacing and sticking to the structure of your design they do have these cool stencils that help with creating a circular grid for you to follow and if you use transfer paper once your done and the paint has completely dried you can just wipe off the lines that may still show through or black them out with your background color.
⬇️HELFUL TIP ALERT⬇️
*If you are having trouble coming up with ideas there are tons of images you can look up on Google to get ideas AND if your really looking to make this easy check out the stencils I found on Amazon, you can use them and some transfer paper to make an outline that you can follow, after your done and the paint has completely dried you just wipe off any lines left showing from the transfer paper and there you have it a wonderfully structured creation without the pressure of coming up with a unique design and having to worry about maintaining the structured symmetry.
Once you have an idea of what you want to do it’s time to take the leap!
-Your going to get out your paint and I recommend just putting a small blob off each color on your palette (a paper plate is a great disposable palette that you can just toss out when your done or reuse a few times if your crazy and don’t like to waist like me). You do not need a ton of paint and you want to keep your paint in a sort of thick blob vs spread out so you can get an nice amount on your tool when you are dabbing.
– Then get out your tools and select your size (When your doing your first dots I would use the larger sizes first, then use the smaller sizes later to add more details). Your going to dip in a color and start strategically placing your dots (make sure to try and stick to creating it like a mirror image if you split the surface in half they should mimic/mirror each other). Have a napkin to wipe off the paint EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU SWITCH COLORS and if your dots aren’t coming out good, again clean off the tool and get some fresh paint! It will only last a couple dots so your going to need to replenish the paint on your tool frequently.
Before you get started I have a few more things I would like to share with you!
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT YOU ARE ENJOYING YOURSELF. If you feel like your getting stressed take a little break, no one says you have to start and finish the project in one session. Also shake it off! Stand up wiggle your arms and your whole body, take a few slow, looooonnng, deep breaths and then return to your project with fresh eyes and a relaxed mind!🧘
Changing up your colors and sizes!
By changing up the colors throughout your patterns and then also the sizes of the dots you make your creation so much more interesting. Now you don’t have to! You can keep this as simple or make this as complex as you want to! The one thing that I really recommend is to stay true to the mandala concept, have consistency with the placements of your dots and color combinations, what I mean by this is you should be able to cut your creation in half and one side should mirror the other. I will say I made a couple mistakes on mine and you can hardly tell so do not stress to much over a little mess up here and there. Once your completed the project and step back from it you will see that there is so much going on, when looking at it as a whole, you cant see those little mess ups or even better they become part of what makes your creation unique and BEAUTIFUL!
Layer, layer and layer some more!
*Look back at my photo or feel free to check out the images on Google for what other people have done. You can layer your dots on top of your first dots and this adds cool dimension and color combinations to what you have, not to mention it can be a great way to cover up any mistakes you may have made!!!(🤫no one needs to know)
👉Once you have completed your project I really hope🤞🤞🤞 you share how it went and what you came up with! Please feel free to comment below and/or on Facebook (OdonataByAS) and Instagram (OdonataArtisticServices) I am here if you have an questions or run in to any issues during the process and will get back to you as quickly as I can within my ability to do so.
💓Sending lots of love to you and best wishes on your magical creative journey,
Artist and friend April Small💕