Tag Archives: rainbow

A Digilicious Mandala

My soul isn't perfect; why should my mandalas be?

My soul isn’t perfect; why should my mandalas be?

One of the reasons that crayon mandalas became less prevalent in my day-to-day life is that I felt I was reaching the limits of the abstract form and beginning to repeat myself. The representative ones were still original, but those take a lot more forethought and don’t spill out in the same organic way as the purely geometric ones.

When I did last week’s mandala on the tablet, I had to start over again with the form in some ways. I had to let go, again, of the idea of perfection. Now I start to see more possibilities.

With crayon, what’s done is done. You can stack a little bit of color with Crayolas but not with great detail. You can’t really go past a certain level of detail in crayon, whereas the tablet lets you get down to the pixels, and, of course, to add layers, so that you can always get something on top of whatever you’ve done. So that’s what I’ve been exploring here, and I’m actually much happier with the result than I was with last week’s circles. Something about the dots and lines reminds me of various types of indigenous folk art. I think I can really start to get even more impressive results, and hopefully come up with something T-shirt worthy.

In the real world, I still have a few more days in the cold place, although it has been warming up. Crocuses and snowdrops and narcissus–the first flowers of spring–are just poking their heads through the soil, and everywhere you go, landscapers are trying to untangle the mess of this unreasonable winter. It’s increasingly difficult to function; sleep is elusive here, in a narrow bed, without The Man, without some of the comforts of home that help me sleep. It becomes debilitating very fast. Maybe tonight will be the night that I sleep for 8 hours without interruption.

Mandalas Make Your Mind Go Round

There’s plenty of room for this colorful rainbow mandala in your happy Tuesday, is there not?

I am a little ray of sunshine.

I am a little ray of sunshine.

Love the colors in this one, and the rosace quality of the mandala itself. Without making an effort to wear my crayons down equally, I would most likely compose all drawings as rainbows, or in shades of blue. I do try to explore the full chromatic spectrum, but it takes work, especially when exploring oranges and yellows and neutrals, to which I am not at all drawn.

This is one of the mandalas that might get turned into a T-shirt in the future. And speaking of T-shirts, if you would like to purchase a fine one, RedBubble is still offering a site-wide sale on shirts until midnight tonight. Just visit the QWERTYvsDvorak RedBubble shop, select any of our exquisite merchandise, and use coupon code RBTEES15.

A Rainbow for the Dark

If this onesie looks small to you, don't worry. Rainbird is available in a wide variety of sizes and on many products.

If this onesie looks small to you, don’t worry. Rainbird is available in a wide variety of sizes and on many products.

Throw off the burden of darkness and feast your eyes upon this updated version of my original design. Rainbird still believes you can make your own magic, but it’s more of a tacit message.

The thought still holds true, but the shirt seems better balanced without the text. Live and learn.

As pictured, this onesie cost $18.04. You can buy it here. You can also find it in kid and adult sizes all the way up to 3XL and on tote bags, pillows, phone cases, stickers, of course, and also paper. See all products here.

Getting Centered

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This is a case where drawing a mandala really did serve primarily as a centering exercise.

It’s not easy to get me angry, but when there’s something to get really angry about, my brain gets obsessive. My husband and I received some upsetting news the day before we were scheduled to go down to Florida to visit my grandparents, and we agreed that we wouldn’t talk about it until we got back. Of course, we were both thinking about it the entire time. When we returned, we both had to deal with the situation, which I did by writing a 2000 word email. It took about 2 hours. The words had been brewing and stewing in my brain all week, and by the time I finished, I was in a massive state of agitation. Drawing this mandala helped me regain my composure. I deliberately used rainbow colors to lift my mood, although the skewing of the pattern shows to me how off-kilter I was at the time.

Mandalas Are Magic Part 1

The first of 100 mandalas

The first of 100 mandalas

After my bulletin boards became a regular part of my life, I began to see how visual art made me feel, and how others responded to it. While it was work, it was enjoyable. While I might not be one hundred percent satisfied with the outcome, viewers derived pleasure from it. One day, on a whim, I purchased the Crayola telescoping tower (one hundred fifty colors!) and drew a mandala, something that had interested me in college, but that I had never made a serious study of.

A caddisfly themed mandala for an entomologist friend

A caddisfly themed mandala for an entomologist friend

Mandalas are sort of spiritual maps, or maps of the artist’s soul, if you like. Drawing fast ones had always given me an idea of where I was, balance and focus-wise, and taking more care in creating them helped me see when to take better care of myself, to add more art into my routine.

A monsoon mandala

A monsoon mandala

 

The Breezeway Part 4

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

Spring 2014, Here again I had the idea for the design first and then found an appropriate quote later

It’s important to photograph these images as soon as they’re posted. The colors do fade very quickly, and every once in a while, the kids deface things. This one not only got sun-bleached in a week or two, but also got scribbled on by someone who clearly was too young to hold a magic marker. It’s still very beautiful to me. These letters were all cut out freehand.

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

Spring 2012, the teachers really seem to like the poetry boards

More freehand letters, plus I cut every one of those leaves out by hand. Sort of wish I had planned the layout a little better, but it’s still fairly striking.

And here is my last bulletin board of the 2013-2014 school year. Anyone who lives in southern Arizona has seen the sky like this: during the monsoon, if it rains in the afternoon, sometimes it clearly slightly afterward. The clouds are all lined up like this, with sun tumbling through the breaks and spilling down over the mountains, which glow gold, red, and purple, depending on the time of day.

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

Summer 2014, the monsoon sky

This sampling of a dozen images represents most of my favorite, and maybe about half of the designs I’ve done since 2009, when I first started. Looking back, it’s not an insubstantial body of work!

 

The Breezeway Part 2

Winter 2013. I had the idea for the bird first and found the Maya Angelou quote after I did the image.

Winter 2013. I had the idea for the bird first and found the Maya Angelou quote after I did the image.

For the last four or five years, this bulletin board has been my baby. While the wind has, on more than one occasion, ripped my work from the wall, while a PTA mom has, on more than one occasion, tried to hijack my real estate with badly rendered licensed characters, this space, where I create ephemeral works of art for children, is regarded as mine, and most staff and students seem interested in seeing what comes next.

Winter 2011, One of my favorites. The poem is by a local poet called Ofelia Zepeda. At the time, my husband worked at the same university where she teaches and, unbeknownst to me, forwarded her this image! She wrote back that she found it beautiful. I was a little embarrassed, but 2 years later when I happened to meet Ofelia Zepeda at the Tucson Festival of Books, I was glad to have a funny story to share with her.

Winter 2011, One of my favorites. The poem is by a local poet called Ofelia Zepeda. At the time, my husband worked at the same university where she teaches and, unbeknownst to me, forwarded her this image! She wrote back that she found it beautiful. I was a little embarrassed, but 2 years later when I happened to meet Ofelia Zepeda at the Tucson Festival of Books, I was glad to have a funny story to share with her.

I work almost entirely in cut colored paper, either the butcher type paper that comes in a long roll, or sturdy sheets of construction paper, using rubber cement and staples. Periodically, the work requires other elements (paint pens, string), but generally it’s just the paper, the glue, and the staples. Since these murals are exposed to the elements, the colors fade quickly and need replacement every six or eight weeks. All the letters are hand-drawn and hand-cut. Some of the fonts come from books, others from my own mind. Most bulletin boards take around six or eight hours to complete. The most complicated one (the Tohono O’odham Man in the Maze) took about fourteen hours.

Winter 2014, the Tohono O'odham Man in the Maze

Winter 2014, the Tohono O’odham Man in the Maze