When I look at this mandala I see a plate of artfully arranged ginger snaps, and little pink frosted cookies, and some other cookies, as well as cookies broken up to make symmetrical non cookie shapes. Also, I see cream. Or possibly custard. It’s like a very upscale version of one of those mud cakes that are made out of chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreos with a few gummy worms sticking out. You serve it in a plastic bucket with a shovel. But this five sided display of decadence belongs on the dessert table of an autumn themed wedding banquet.
This color palette reminds me of the sour gummies the kids like. Apparently I am too old to understand their appeal. Even though I would not eat the colors in this mandala, I I love its complexity, the combination of circles and triangles, the way the (almost) straight lines intersect. It’s a really successful design.
Today was a pretty emotionally taxing day for me. We thought we would blow off steam with some storm chasing, as towering cumulonimbi surrounded the city in the early afternoon, but they had all dispersed against the mountains, which happens sometimes, so we walked by the river instead, and then ate West African food and then got baklava, and then watched a cute anime called A Letter to Momo. Other than that I have no update.
Yesterday was Monsoon Day, otherwise known as the Dia de San Juan. It’s a local holiday, I guess. Maybe it rains on June 24 in other parts of Arizona, but in 11 years in Tucson, I’ve never known a real storm to come down before the 5th of July. Instead, it just gets really hot and muggy. I went out to lay down some pre-emergent on the front yard to prevent the desert weeds from taking over the property when the rains do come, and I was dripping with sweat when I came in. Still, we haven’t swapped the swamp cooler over for the AC, which means the humidity still isn’t high enough. It’s not yet monsoon.
It was another ineffective day for me; mostly just reading. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my act together.
For your consideration, a brief gallery of potentially enlightening or confusing images.
There is something very pleasing to me about this dragon’s dimensionality and weirdness. I can see her twisting in the wind, like those flying snakes that turn their bodies into sails, except Hissteria is more of a corkscrew. As you squint at her spiraling form, asking your spouse, “What is that thing? Do you see it? What is it?” Hissteria strikes, devouring you headfirst. Or maybe she’s just misunderstood.
Here’s your weekly mandala; this is a fairly regular one, with hints of traditional quilt design along with some of the crystal theme that I examine more later.
A small percentage of the mandalas in this collection were pieces I worked on a bit but never felt satisfied with. I never threw any out, but there are some that certainly feel unfinished, and also at a dead end. This is one of them:
Before the Wacom tablet, when I was just writing novels, an extra four hours a day working on the computer didn’t really affect my brain, because I touch type, fairly accurately, at around 70 words per minute, and didn’t have to actually look at the screen. When I first started learning digital painting, staring at the monitor for hours on end gave me constant headaches. Eventually, my eyes seemed to adjust to the strain (plus, as I improved my control over the stylus, I didn’t have to work on the pixel level with the screen 8 inches from my eyes.
I’m starting to wonder, though, if staying up all night on Photoshop is contributing to my insomnia. It’s been pretty bad for the last couple months.
That is my excuse for not having anything really pithy to say about art, beauty, creativity, or writing at this time.
I do however, have your weekly dose of mandala and fanciful dragon, all rolled into one!
That is a good-looking dragon.
And that is a pretty mandala.
Honestly, I did have some pseudo-pithy words about art, but I put them all into next Monday’s comic, so no need for redundancy. All I need is regular sleep. Which I can’t have.
It’s Friday. I have inadvertently snapped my cherished prescription sunglasses in two. There’s a large blister on my left ankle. The universe continues to aggressively overlook my sublime genius. My husband is blasting pop hits from the ’70s through his speakers. So it’s looking like a 3-mandala kind of day.
These are old mandalas, and I don’t remember drawing then, or what was going through my head when I did, but they’re all pretty exuberant and cheerful. Sort of expansive, as if they wanted to encompass all the generative power of the universe.
They’re also all very free and unrestrained, drawn without the squawking voice of the inner critic complaining about an inherent lack of perfection. If these mandalas were people, they’d be participating in the Body Love Conference.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling much more centered now.
Got 3000 words written today, and hope to get another 1000 before bed. Also finished reading Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, which is among the most delightful instructional manuals I’ve ever read. Eisner had an intricate understanding of not only drawing and writing, but of human psychology, and this last was effective to two ends: it allowed him to tell compelling stories about believable people (even if those people were caricatures of regular people, or more amazing than regular people), and it allowed him to tell those stories in such a way that readers remained interested in the work.
Above is one of my favorite panels from this book, illustrating the contract with the reader: the artist may safely assume that the reader lives in the same reality and shares many of the same basic understandings of the world. This allows the art to work as a form of shorthand: i.e., you don’t need to explain to your reader that a coconut released from a tree will descend in the direction of the earth’s core, or that coconuts grow on trees, or that trees drop seeds.
This book has vast quantities of things to recommend it, and even if you’re not interested in drawing or writing or storytelling or human psychology, some of the reprints will certainly be worth your time: Eisner’s beautiful new ending to Franz Kafka’s bleak The Trial, and an example of “compression” by R. Sikoryak comprising Dante’s Inferno retold in 10 Bazooka Joe comics were my favorites.
If you’re here for my art, and particularly if you’re here for my dragons, never fear. I’ve got a couple of compelling characters for you right here:
Obviously, there need to be as many, if not more, girl dragons than boy dragons.
These lovely ladies certain exude personality.