If you asked me a year ago about art, I would’ve told you that I have no talent but I’m an avid patron. During this time in our history when so many of us have chosen to stay close to home and limit our activity, I too have become more self sustaining; especially when it comes to self entertaining. I mean, how many Netflix marathons can I participate in? (A lot, actually. I'm watching The West Wing again and still love it.)
In January I had the great fortune of joining a group of people in Thailand who gathered outside to draw mandalas a few times a week. We chatted about life, had a few laughs and learned how to draw from a Russian artist. Months later, I was still obsessed with these magic drawings and have added painted rocks and wood to the mix. I even pulled stained t-shirts out of the "gardening" pile and started painting those.
Like learning sourdough, gardening or petting chickens, drawing takes time to master. Beyond that, mandalas take time to imagine and manifest. This time of focus bred patience on my part. In time, I started creating art I actually liked. Soon after, I produced art other people liked. Now I see a canvas everywhere and where there is not, I see inspiration.
BUT...that's not the best part.
The best part of this adventure is that I have shared it with others. When COVID hit in mid March, I was in Arizona visiting friends. We stayed at home and made mandalas together. I shared my limited experience and knowledge and was overjoyed to see how in to it most of them were and still are.
When friends came to visit months later, after self isolating of course, I gave the kids shirts and paint. They had fun, I got a couple of really cool shirts. Friends from Thailand continue to send pictures of the mandalas they draw at home and we have something really cool in common. Heck, with video chatting so free and easy, we can still gather and draw even though many of them are far away.
I intend to keep this journey of self introspection, inspiration and creative outlet as a part of my new norm. My hope is that this article and this website inspires at least one person to do the same.