- Slides: 31
Learning Goal To apply our knowledge of the Art Principles of Balance and Unity into creating Mandala paintings.
Mandalas: A Brief History A Mandala is an art form usually created in the form of a circle or polygon, that is often used as a tool for reflection and centering. Mandalas are made out of sand, and other mediums, such as paint, chalk, stones, collage materials, etc.
Mandalas often become more than the balance and unity that are the foundation of their designs. The colors and shapes interweave and create new energies and new forms to be appreciated and experienced. They often represent the stillness and the order of the universe.
Mandalas are a very ancient art form. They are round or square images with elements repeating around a central core, this in turn creates Unity and Balance.
Mandalas are used all over the world. 3 of the countries most well known for their Mandala designs are… Ireland India Tibet
According to Tibetan monks, the making and releasing of patterned sand mandalas represents the impermanence of life. The corresponding tradition from India focuses on the use of the mandala as an aid to contemplation. In Ireland Christianity forms of mandalas that are prevalent are the celtic cross, the halo, the Crown of Thorns, rose windows and the labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral.
Mandala means “sacred circle" in Sanskrit. They originated in India and now can be found on all continents and in nearly all cultures. In India and other Eastern cultures, it is believed that working with mandalas can help one to obtain spiritual enlightenment. The design of the mandala is meant to be visually appealing so it can be sort of hypnotic, letting the creative hemisphere of our mind run a little more free while our analytical mind takes a little nap.
The Mandala has 3 layers of meaning…. . Outer – what is noticed or seen on the surface at face value. Inner - the inner meaning is found within the intentions that the person creating it has used. Whether this is in the colors, symbols, balance etc. For example you may choose green as a color in your mandala to symbolize nature, or use the number 5 to represent the members of your family…a mandala is a very individual. Hidden – this is the layer that has not been revealed or known at the time of creation. Sometimes it takes the creator awhile to understand the deeper messages of their mandalas. (What it has potential to mean).
Mandalas are also found all over in nature.
Mandalas symbolize the cyclical nature of the universe, and people often use Mandalas to focus themselves during meditation, no matter their culture or religion.
One of natures most famous Mandalas…a snowflake!
There are multiple ways to create Mandalas, this usually depends on where in the world it’s being made and who is making it.
Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandalas. . . Throughout its creation, Tibetan monks pour millions of grains of sand from traditional metal funnels called chakpur, to create their mandalas. The finished Mandala is approximately five feet by five feet in size, and takes at least three to five days and many, many workers.
Sand Mandalas are unique to Tibetan Buddhism, which dates to the 7 th century. Sand mandalas are believed to promote purification and healing by “transmitting positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them. ”
As a meditation on impermanence (a central teaching of Buddhism), after days or weeks of creating the intricate pattern of a sand mandala, the sand is then brushed together.
After all of the sand is brushed & mixed together, it’s either distributed to the audience or blown out to sea. This symbolizes the impermanence of all that exists. Another reason it’s put in water is so that the blessings are spread naturally.
Mandalas from India and Hindu Symbols
Traditional Indian Mandala.
All around India Mandalas are drawn outside entrances to homes…
…for blessing and protection…
…and to welcome guests.
The 9/11 attacks and the Tibetan Mandalas in New York City…. After the 9/11 attacks, 20 Tibetan Buddhist monks came to the Smithsonian to help America heal by making a sand mandala. For days they created colorful lines and intricate patterns by putting down sand a few grains at a time, in many bright hues, on a large wood platform in the Sackler Gallery. The result was an astonishingly beautiful sand painting. After 2 weeks, expressing their belief that material life is transitory, the monks swept up the sand poured it into the Potomac River. They did however create a more permanent exhibit/painting as remembrance.
When finished, the painting was seven-feet-square, one of the largest ever created in the West. It took 20 monks working in shifts two weeks to complete the painting offered to America for healing and protection. It is very similar to this one…….
How Mandalas are Used Today Mandalas are used as a healing tool in hospitals, support groups, art therapy, retreats, etc… For overall spiritual and intellectual balance and well-being.
Mandalas as Public Street Art… Street Artist Dean Edward Mulroy has been creating stone mandalas throughout Scotland, England Ireland. His artworks evoke the best of many famous street painters.
More of how Mandalas are used today… Bruce Conner 1933 -2008 was a famous San Francisco artist and videographer. He’s known for having a huge part in inventing the music video, he also loved to make mandalas. He made intricate blackand-white mandala-like drawings (many of which he lithographed into prints).
A Mandala inspired by an urban park called pocket park. A pocket park is a little park (often as small as one residential lot) nestled in the middle of an urban area, This artist was inspired by a small area of peace found in a city of chaos.
Cousin to the Mandala: The Labrynth
2 great examples of Mandalas and how they use Balance and Unity in their designs.
You will be creating your own personal mandalas. The 2 principles we want to focus on are Balance and Unity. They are going to be drawn and then painted using watercolors. Please be brainstorming ideas for design, colors and personalization over the next few days. I will demo the process of creating one in our classroom.