Friday, April 27, 2007


lilac grow lightLilac Glow Light Mandala - (Spring Seasonal Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

One of the deep pleasures in my creative process is taking the photographs that I use for my mandalas. More than that, it is in the witnessing of creation blooming right before my eyes. My intent is to capture the life force I witness and translate it into
lilac my mandalas.

Recently, I received this comment from one of my customers:

"You seem to create images which resonate with those places in myself outside of the symbols of language... seeing the mandalas often creates a sensate experience for me, redefining the idea of a 'touching image', often a deep encouragement, a strengthening of heart and mind." ~Suzanne J.

People have requested that my mandalas be presented in formats for use in meditation. Traditionally mandalas are used in this way, as symbols for healing, prayer and meditation. I have envisioned a DVD with accompanying music. This is a project I would like to see to fruition within the next year.

Please share your thoughts with me and post a comment. I would love to hear what is on your mind.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


ocean of loveOcean of Love Mandala - (Healing in Circle series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

I received notification yesterday that I was accepted into the 10 month focus group for Artists in Business that I applied for earlier this month. This is a program sponsored by our local Small Business Development Center. I have been waiting for a while for this program to open up again, but really, I wasn't ready for it until now anyway. This is exciting news for me, and I am looking forward to participating with a group of creative people, not all of whom are visual artists. It should make for an interesting synthesis.

Today's mandala was created from a photograph of seashells in water. I did not take this particular photograph used for the source image, but have permission to use it from the person who did. Normally I do not like to use other people's images, but it makes me aware under the right circumstances it could be a possibility. I loved the colors and textures in the photograph and was really intrigued by the bubbles in the water as a possible design element. I like the way it turned out.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Joy Mandala -(Healing in Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

What I like best about the art that I make is the privilege of creating such beautywild onion from every day occurrences. Growing up in Minnesota I never saw wild onion growing in the proliferation with which it does here in Northern California, and the flower still delights me as a bringer of spring joy. I took this photograph of wild onion on Easter Day this year; the flower does have a sort of feel of miniature Easter lily, doesn't it? I see it even more in its translation into the mandala.

I do think that part of my calling to my art is in my dedication to beauty. I feel good about what I am doing, proud of my product and honored to use my talents in such a positive way. They are all a reflection of my own journey, but I know from the responses people have shared with me that I touch something deeply profound in them as well. My job is to create the art without expectation and let others find their own meanings. This process is often humbling in ways I would never expect.

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing in my art and my processes. If you would like to share your thoughts with me, I would love to read what's on your mind.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


hey to the cosmos
Key to the Cosmos Mandala - (Earth Mysteries series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

I have been thinking about the mandalas in my Earth Mysteries series the past few days. I am fascinated by the possibilities I think these mandalas present, but I have not as yet been satisfied with the way they have translated into print. Part of what makes them energetic on screen is diminished somewhat on paper. My desire is to showcase and accentuate the energy of the crystals which are the source images for these mandalas.arkansas quart crystal

I have been looking at different printing processes which would allow me to transfer digital prints to glass. I have begun to visualize these mandalas as plaques on a stand with light shining through them. There are many ways that I solve problems, and visualizing what I want even though I don't exactly know how I am going to manage to bring it all through, is just one of many techniques that I use.

This is just the beginning of another creative journey that I want to manifest to reality.

Please share your thoughts with me. I would love to read about your processes too.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


reach for the sun v2
REACH FOR THE SUN MANDALA v2 - (Healing in Circle Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

This is a short post about my creative process. I posted a mandala a couple of days ago , but I didnt quite feel right about it; and so I asked another artist friend of mine, Diane Clancy, to critique my work. From the feedback I got from her Ireach for the sun changed the background back to black (which I had tried but hadn't cared for when I initially created the mandala) and retained the yellow stroke around the frame (which I hadn't tried when I first was playing with the black background.) I like the way it holds the contrast of interior/exterior that I was looking for, but gives the mandala itself center stage.

I do love working digitally in layers and the easy way it gives me to experiment with different approaches to my art.

Please share your opinions with me. I would love to read them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


personal powerPersonal Power Mandala - (Healing in Circles) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2006

Creating this mandala was my first encounter with finding hidden visual messages in the flowers and stones I use as source images for my artwork. People's reactions to it were varied, but I think creating artwork that elicits strong reactions is a good thing. This mandala continues to be one of my favorite pieces.

I see totem figures: warriors, dogs, ducks, rabbits, and lots of teeth. Mirriam-Webster defines a totem as " any entity which watches over or assists a group of people, such as a family,
clan or tribe. " More recently totem figures have also been adopted by individuals as personal spirit helpers which have personal meaning to them. (Wikipedia) .The center of this mandala is the power medicine these totem figures offer those who are attracted to it. In effect it is an enhancement of our own personal power.

The photograph of the flower I used to create this image is no longer on my harddrive, nor have I ever identified it. Right now, it is just part of the mystery, too.

Please share your thoughts with me. Are you drawn to or do you feel disturbed by this mandala?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


reach for the sunREACH FOR THE SUN MANDALA - (Healing in Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007

I think of this as a study in contrasts. Interior/exterior. Shadow and light. What is on the inside wanting to be expressed? What is on the outside wanting to be illuminated? This is a common theme in my Healing in Circles series. This particular series tends to be more emotional in content; healing our pain brings us closer to wholeness. As I go through my own journey, I hope to bring forth what others might find helpful in theirs. Almost all of my mandalas have aoregon grape holly recurring theme of light in them.

This image was created from a photograph of a flowering shrub common to the North Coast of California. It has tentatively been identified as Oregon Grape Holly. I love its cheerful yellow blooms.

Please share your thoughts with me. I would love to know what you see or feel from looking at this mandala.

Friday, April 06, 2007


rites of springRite of Spring Mandala - (Circles of Spring Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe

I am applying to be part of a ten month focus group for artists in business. I have been waiting a long time for this group to open up again. Sponsored by the local Small Business Development Center and funded with grant money, this organization offers assistance for artists at all levels of being in business for themselves. One thing that I like is that one of the requirements must be income levels being less than 80% of the county median. It tells me they want to assist those of us who strive to be successful but aren't there yet. They encourage those who are wanting to take their art from hobby level to business level.

The introductory meeting was earlier this week. I felt at ease and comfortable within the group, which was a diverse collection of visual artists, musicians, videographers, and designers.

My hope is that I will receive assistance and insight and practical information for some of the ways I want to take my business, join a community of like minded people, and get out of the solitude of the studio (affectionately known as my computer desk).

Thank you all for sharing my journey and your comments with me.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I am a member of the Eureka Photoshop User's Group. This is the our website. We are having our second group show this Saturday during Eureka's monthly Arts Alive, an artistic event of monthly openings in local shops and galleries. We have a rather eclectic group -- lots of nature photographers;others have a more artistic bent.

Dancing in the Light Mandala -(Circles of Healing series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2006

This is the piece that I am hanging in the show. Created originally as a birthday gift for an online friend in my social blogging network on Xanga, (where I am known as Dancing Sun), this particular image has proven to be a favorite. I use it on my greeting cards, and I have licensed it to a local energy worker for her logo. I love the feeling of play, community, and light, a circle of friends gathering together to dance and hold hands with one another, a vision of peace and mutual cooperation that I hold as a possibility for all of us.

Please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


earth's splendorEarth's Splendor - (Earth Mysteries series) - © Sue O'Kieffe

Creating mandalas from images of gems and minerals has not only been challenging, it has also been educational. I have always loved stones, but I have never really liked science. A by-product of collaborating with my friend dosmangoes has been to learn just a bit more about the earth.

You might be surprised to know that the source image for this mandala is amethyst. I havespirit elestial always associated amethyst with the translucent purple Brazilian amethyst commonly seen in rock shops and jewelry stores. This specimen is from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. I understand that this is not entirely comprised of amethyst; if you look towards the bottom of the photograph, you can see the dense purple colored bands of this mystical stone.

The challenge that I feel in creating imagery from these minerals is translating the energy I feel in these stones into the mandalas. I want to honor the stones. The journey so far has been fun for me.

I am curious to know what you see and feel when you look at Earth's Splendor. Please share your thoughts with me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Sun Salutation SUN SALUTATION -(Summer Circle Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe

Some days I hunger for certain colors, and it definitely influences my creation choices. Maybe it's because I spend many of my best hours creating before sunrise and I need that vibrancy to flood my eyes and my consciousness. Yellow is actually my favorite color. It enlivens me and fills me with optimism. Summer days, goldfinches flitting in the trees, the sounds of meadowlarks filling the air. This is how yellow speaks to me.

What I love about creating from nature is how the most ordinary and almost noxious plantsscotch broom carry beauty in them just waiting for someone to find it. Around here, scotch broom is an invasive weed, but I love its sunny side up, butter yellow blooms.

For those of you who are new readers, I want to point your attention to my mandala portfolio and greeting card portfolio on the right. If you are interested in purchasing any of my art or have questions about it, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment. It helps me feel like I'm not alone.

Sue O'Kieffe

Monday, April 02, 2007


spring passion SPRING PASSION ( Circles of Spring series) - © Sue O'Kieffe

Leptospermum (tea tree plant) is commonly used as shrubbery where I live. Sunday, on my photoshoot, I found a house with four or five different varieties in the front yard. The bright pink blossomed ones are my favorite.

I have enjoyed creating these mandalas to mark this season of rebirth and renewal. If it is true that teachers teach what they need to learn, maybe artists create what they need to experience. It is as if my soul is crying out, "C'mon, c'mon, let's go. Let's live!"

My desire as an artist is to express what is inside in ways that others relate to.

What are your thoughts? Share them with me, if you feel inspired. I'd love to hear what's on your mind.