The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. ~ Albert Einstein
For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to the minute, the magical and the mysterious. As a child I loved to get nose to nose with nature, marveling at shiny rocks and iridescent feathers. I began making art when I was three years old by rubbing closed eyelids with tiny fists and feeling captivated by the colors I created. That was how I created my first mandala. It wasn’t until 2005, with a runaway passion for all things digital, that I had a vision of creating this spiritual art form using a computer as my brush and Photoshop as my box of colors.
Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means whole world or sacred circle. Often referred to as the Circle of Life, mandalas represent wholeness and are used in many forms, in many cultural and spiritual traditions, as symbols for healing, prayer and meditation.
Dancing in the Light Mandala - (Healing in Circles series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
I still find myself nose to nose with the natural world, shooting photos of beauty I find in my surroundings … an iris surviving in a street corner garden, an unexpected passionflower vine growing wild among blackberries, a simple dandelion gone to seed. When I import these images into my computer for mandala making, my intent is to honor the beauty I see everyday that others may not notice. Nature has a story to tell and I am its conduit. The process of mandala making is a mystery, as I let the images guide me. I manipulate the imagery intuitively and let it unfold from the recognizable to the transformed.
To say we live in challenging times is both an understatement and a cliché. I don’t exactly know why the mandala form brings comfort and solace to those who are drawn to it, but I know that it does. May you see whatever you see in these circles of light and wholeness I feel compelled to create.
So this is what it's all about for me. I'm getting really excited to share my intent with the local art community on Saturday at The Ink People in Eureka, CA