Electric Mandalas

"As on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes
The sinking stone at first a circle makes;
The trembling surface by the motion stirr'd,
Spreads in a second circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,
Fill all the watery plain, and to the margin dance."
- Alexander Pope, Temple of Fame

I've started to explore mandalas in Photoshop, starting with a photo of a vase of garden roses (below). The first step was to copy the photo into a new file with a transparent background, pasting 4 copies around the page flipping/rotating as necessary. The fun begins. Filters, gradients, color adjustments, etc. The creative constraint: use just one photograph.

Two talented mandala artists inspired me to figure out how to make a digital mandala. I set about in Photoshop to develop an approach of my own. These artists focus on nature as a source and inspiration for art.

Stacy Wills of A Magic Mom and Her Mandalas has begun posting a photograph, a poem, and a mandala digitally designed from the photograph. I love Stacy's mandalas, notably Intact and The Dreamer Prays.

Sue O'Kieffe of Sacred Circle Mandalas  Sue's mandalas are gorgeous, notably Boldness of Being and Fairyland Pentagram. Sue often posts a photograph, a digital mandala created from the photograph and a story about the photo. Sue's Photoshop digital mandala tutorial, looks like a good methodology for building a mandala.

If forced to choose, I prefer tactile art, getting messy, using physical art materials, tangible textures and colors. But exploring digital art is undeniably fun, perhaps because it is so different. Digital art is simply another type of creative endeavor. It's designed with different tools yet many of the same factors, including creativity, design skill, etc.