I’m so excited to tell you about a new mixed-media art bundle that’s going to change your life. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Personal Mandalas Watercolor Kit is special, and let me tell you why.
The centerpiece of this kit is the new book Creating Personal Mandalas: Story Circle Techniques in Watercolor and Mixed Media by Cassia Cogger. I’ve made mandalas in a variety of media, and I love creating them. But this book blew me away with its approach to the art of mandalas, and the symbolism of circles. Cassia had me at the second sentence: “Does it sometimes seem like life swirls around you, leaving you feeling increasingly lost and slightly disconnected? As if you’re not fully or even partially expressed? What if you could be? You can!”
While making art usually helps center me and get me in the zone, I sometimes become so caught up in the daily marathon of life—as we all do—that when I do find time to create, I sometimes don’t feel focused or connected. Her words spoke to me, and I read on: “This process is about so much more than just making a pretty picture. It is about connecting with a deeper part of yourself and working toward fuller self-expression. It is about experience and journey, not outcome. It is about reconnecting to your voice, exploring your own unique forms of creative expression and relaxing your spirit.”
The book delves into materials (with an emphasis on watercolor and water media) and elements of design such as line, shape, form, value texture, contrast, and pattern. The exercises and projects are for all levels, and Cassia encourages you to explore as far as you want to go.
Among the projects that appeal to me is the lotus mandala. “The lotus symbolizes enlightenment,” she says, “the rising up from the muck and the mud to blossom into something beautiful.” Can’t we all relate to that?
The project is a charted mandala, but just think of all the ways you can interpret the idea of blossoming—with watercolor, as shown, or collage, or even stitch.
A favorite chapter is The Circle as a Story Slice. “Just as the slice of a tree trunk captures and shares the history of time, I love the idea that we can create circular artworks that do the same,” Cassia says. “Even more exciting than the capturing of the life history of something is the possibility of using the circle like a magnifying lens or a two-dimensional snow globe where we are able to capture a static scene to celebrate, commemorate or explore a moment.”
I believe we should tell stories through our art. As I read that Story Circles are a way to document, discover, and process an experience, I was nodding my head. I love the idea of using a circle as a form to share an experience, whether it’s expressed abstractly or realistically. This got my creative wheels in high gear.
Creating Personal Mandalas is the kind of book you’ll pick up again and again, and always find something artistically challenging that will help you focus and create with joy. And to give that creativity a little boost, this kit also includes a 12-color Watercolor Confections palette from Prima Marketing Inc. in Pastel Dreams. I have one of these, and I can’t say enough good things about it. The sturdy metal palette is small enough to fit in a travel case, so you can take it with you and paint anywhere. The half-pan colors are rich and beautiful, and you can mix colors right in the container.
This kit is available only while supplies last, so I recommend following your instincts and getting it now, because at $34.99 this is quite the deal. Make this a gift to yourself, and take the book and the palette with you on your summer adventures. I can’t think of any better way to enjoy the season ahead.