Friday, May 13, 2016

Making Mandalas with Stencils

I got a wonderful gift in the mail the other day, a review copy of Kathryn Costa's book, The Mandala Guidebook. Sometimes you just get lucky! Truly. I am not sure the book would have flown onto my radar screen otherwise. I like this book! 
I brought it into the studio the other day, all set to peruse some pages in order to write a review. Now you know StencilGirl Products sells lots of mandala-like stencils, but nothing beats the idea of starting from scratch and creating your own design, so I was excited to learn how to do this.
I became rather engrossed with the book and started reading page by page, as Kathryn covered everything from drawing a mandala freehand to using a grid; painting patterned papers and making collages; even using magazine pages. When I got to page 80, where she was drawing a Grid type mandala on a painted background, it hit me like a ton of bricks - the way the grid structure is formatted looks an awful lot like a Color Wheel! And StencilGirl has Color Wheel stencils, designed by my friend Pam Carriker. 
And, well, since I hate to measure anything, using stencils to trace my format, well it seemed like a bit of simple genius to me. 
I started out by putting a skim coat of acrylic paint on three backgrounds. I decided I would make mandalas using three of my favorite Pam Carriker Color Wheels stencils. I used a pencil to trace the stencil design onto the dry background. 
At first I was thinking I would just use this as my guide and then draw free hand within each space, but heck, I own a stencil company, so you know what I did next.......I grabbed some stencils
I started out by placing a stencil in the center ( Scribble Blooms, the flower in the center). If I were a more precise person, I might have worried about the paint that went outside of the center, however, I am not that person. 

....the photo above shows how I then used painter's tape to tape off a section of the stencil. I thought I would be able to easily fill in the sections this way. I intentionally made the taped off part slightly wider than my pencil lines thinking this would allow the sections to match up to one another (thus compensating for the width of the Mylar during tracing). 
After I stenciled all the sections, I went back with a paint pen and added further embellishment. 
Next up was the Green background and I pulled out some painted collage papers to glue into a few sections, using the stencil (once again) as a tracing guide so the sizes matched up. 
I know I shouldn't play favorites, but this is my fave. I just love how it turned out!!
And finally, the yellow one. Again, I pulled out some collage parts, this time literally scraps from a previous project. 
I've gotta say I was totally inspired by Kathryn's book. It provides specific, hands on, precise information about a variety of ways to make mandalas. I chose to take this in the direction of stencils, but there are lots of other projects I can't wait to explore, such as the Gratitude Mandala and the Labrinth. Anyone with an interest in making their own mandalas will definitely want this book in their library.