When the waves of life get a little too rough, there is this one colourful way of sinking down into a meditative, relaxing state: drawing and painting Mandylas.
All it takes is a little colour and a piece of paper…
I’ve been drawing mandala’s for as long as I can remember, but somewhere along the line I forgot about them.
That is to say…from time to time I digitally created Mandylas from illustrations and artwork I’d done.
“Hearts” © Mandy van Goeije
And perhaps I did the odd mandala scribble over the past few years. But it wasn’t until the work of MagaMerlina passed by on my facebook timeline that every pen and every pencil I picked up became Mandyla machines again…
I don’t think that for me there’s another drawing style that offers the same possibilities to become quiet and relax. And it offers so many possibilities…
Like Machi Tawara said: “Freedom lies in the limitaion of the form.” Whether it is in the form of haiku or tanka in words, or in the round, often geometrical shape of the circle…I truly find freedom within the limitations I have to work in.
These limitations form a border around my focus which feels like a liberation from all the thoughts that rush through my mind all day long.
The geometrical shape and patterns require a precision and focus that silence the mind.
Mandylas even found their way into my journal…I find myself drawing more than one a day.
Starting work from the  centre of the mandala, draws you straight into your own centre…
…where all is quiet, calm and in this meditative state of mind.
When life gets a bit rough, the roundness of the mandalas polish away the sharp edges of the days. Life will still be a bit rough in the month to come, so I suspect this post won’t be the last featuring Mandylas…
In my mandala madness I tried every pen I could find…the coloured mandalas at the top were done with fineliners. These unicolour mandalas were done with a metallic gel pen.
I drew freehand mandala’s like the ones above and more geometrical ones like the metallic mandalas that were mostly done with the use of a compass.
I love the look of golden, silver and copper gel pen. But the gel ink dries ever so slowly.
So when working in circles, it takes a lotta ‘taking care’ not to touch previously drawn lines and shapes.
And the pages require quite some time to dry before they can be turned…although I shortened that time with a hair dryer and a protective sheet of paper between pages so that I could move on to the next.
Mandalas grow under my hands. I don’t know what patterns I’m going to make when I start. I draw a few lines with the compass as a reference and let these metallic Mandylas grow from there.
More stages of work are required for these watercolour mandalas, which I love very much…white ink lines on watercolour are spellbindingly fabulous!
Of course, I tested which inks looked best on which watercolour paint. I’ve got loads of mandalas with accompanying notes like these on test papers.
I love how each Mandyla looks so totally different. I love the sun and the flowy lines in the Mandyla above. Reminds me so much of sun and sea.
Gold ink on watercolour is really fab as well. So much more beautiful in reality than I can ever show you here on a photo or a scan of the real deal…
Like doodling or tangling or zentangling, drawing mandalas can be an endless repetition of lines and patterns.
Kaleidoscopes of lines and patterns. When you draw freehand instead of forming geometric patterns, it’s fascinating to see that little changes in the base pattern grows totally different mandalas.
For the two mandalas below I used fluid waterbased inks. As you can see, colours lay down a little more flat than in watercolour.
And white ink won’t take too well on this ink. It takes about four layers of it to get the lines somewhat opaque, which is why I left out any ornamentation. The Mandyla below shows a watercolour centre and a waterbased ink outer circle…seems more lively, don’t you think?
And then, to conclude this image of Mandylas, I want to end with a designated mandala. A little over a week ago a very special and inspiring man, father and grandfather of dear friends of ours, died. The mandala below was my goodbye to him. It was incredibly special and intense to create a mandala for this purpose. It took me all day. The meditative state brings you close to memories, to meaning and to the emotions that whirl inside. I used sad, but beautiful colours and drew a tree of life as a symbol for the circle of life. It’s on a lotus with a sun coloured core, to wish the lovely people he leaves behind strength and love. A lotus is born from the mud. And as this special man was very much aware of the circle of life, the mandala needed a bit of sunlight that I wish to his beloved to feel again…
Did you enjoy this gallery of Mandylas? 
After having seen this humongous list of them…which one do you like best?