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Big Mandala 47 done take 2

This is the large (for me 30″x30″) mandala that I have been working on all summer. There are a lot of layers and I took some pictures of the process. I really became fascinated with layers of acrylic glazes and am making a partner piece to this one that is more focused on that technique.

draw the circle wide mandala in progress

I started with collaged dictionary and other book pages onto the gessoboard. I also included some stamps. Then I did about a week’s worth of journaling on the board and stenciled a quote from a song that we sang at the Unitarian Fellowship I attend. This song has really resonated with me and really captures some of what I feel about my mandalas.

draw the circle wide mandala iris layer

I already shared this layer with you earlier in the summer.

Draw the circle wide collage mandala layer 1

At this point what I was envisioning for the mandala started to change. There were a number of intermediate layers that didn’t really work for me. So I got started on the mandala pieces. I’m still learning about layers in collage and what kinds of paint play well together. I used some gouache paint and that left wrinkles in some of the pieces, but I decided to incorporate some Wabi Sabi into the finished piece. I may add some more gold accents, but I think it is done.


I played with a lot of different papers including navigation maps, dictionary pages, pages from a Chinese Poetry textbook and tissue. I continue to love how tissue paper works in collage. I used an old Vogue pattern for one of the pieces and decorated it with a Zentangle® pattern. Each of the pieces had some Zentangle® patterns.Big Mandala 47

I really toyed with leaving the layers show through in this point in the mandala but it was too much of a contrast from the other parts.

Big Mandala 47 done

Here is the fully assembled piece, but it needed some more Wabi Sabi so I added gold paint in a few of the joints. You can see it in these close up pictures of the details.

big big mandala 47 detail 2

big mandala 47 detail

The finished piece will be on exhibit at the Alhamra Art Center in September and October and is available for purchase through the Center. This is mandala 47 of 100. To join the 100 Mandala challenge check out Kathryn Costa’s website.