Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Largest Mandala I've Ever Made!

The inspiration for this piece was based on an earlier sketch I had done in my sketch book a while back... I posted it on my Facebook page here and here and after one of my friends saw it, she commissioned me for a VERY large scale version of it spanning 5ft x 5ft for her living room... :)

This is the original sketch....
Below is the beginning of the background
The grid and underdrawing - barely visible (some small scale colour comps are taped to the canvas on the left...helped a little but the mandala ended up taking on a mind of it's own as usual anyway!)
Below: painting the underdrawing
Elaborating, thickening of the lines in places
 Adding blue to the "water element"
 Adding moonlight throughout the water and shading
At this stage, I was stuck deciding what to do with the remaining "rocks" making up the outer circle... In the original sketch, I had envisioned the outer circle as earth and stones however the person who commissioned me wanted a "fire" element/aspect added to the painting. So while shading the water, I was listening to a documentary on volcanoes and thought why not lava! It's definitely a strong part of the forces of nature and elements of the earth and the colours are amazing!
So...below is the beginning of the lava circle - shading in the "rocks" with a dark grey/charcoal. I actually really love it in this stage - I was tempted to just leave it as was with the yellows and oranges of the background showing through but no...I decided to learn how to paint "lava"! And I'm glad I did!  :D
 Below is the first layer of "lava", just an overall dark red
 Then I added some oranges and yellows in between the rocks for a molten effect of sorts...I also added a really dark reddish brown layer over the rocks to make it more realistic and pop a bit more...
 And alas, the finished product... my apologies for the poor quality photo... a better quality shot is to come and I will update this post as well as the Facebook page with it asap! But you get the gist of it... I had to share, this was an amazing learning experience for me, I would not have tackled a 5'x5' mandala out of my own sheer will thats for sure! As intimidating as it was, I'm very happy I did it! :)
For now, I think I will move on to something a little smaller again... there's a 3'x1.5' canvas on my easle at the moment so we'll see what transpires! 

 Below: My favourite part of this mandala where the water meets the lava :)

Have a good night everyone and happy creating!


  1. It's beautiful! Looking forward to more pics.

  2. How in heavens name did I miss this spectacular artwork. You have floored me Cindy. I would love to be able to paint Mandalas like you. Thanks so much for the progress shots, it is certainly a journey to see where it started and how it ended up. I am sure your friend will be thrilled, I would be

  3. Thank you so much Lee! Glad you liked the progress shots! I love seeing them with other peoples work as well... gives a bit of a different perspective for sure! Thanks again!

  4. Hi Cindy,
    Oh goshhh! This piece is fabulous and whoa, sooo big!
    You've done a great job and I'd be thrilled if I were you're friend that commisioned you!
    Creative hugs,

  5. Thank you Anna! So nice to hear the feedback! :) Makes my day!

  6. Wow, what a beautiful and dynamic piece!! It really draws me in. Amazing!!!! Wini xo


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