Sunday, March 30, 2008


I do hope that any of you who read my blog might, from time to time, mosey on over to my mandala makers links that are posted on the right. Whenever I find other artists who revel in this art form, I try to acknowledge them both by posting on their blogs and adding a link to their site.
Of course, I must also acknowledge Komra Moriko as the grandmother to many of us who embrace this form, thank her for figuring out how to do it and blessing us with her tutorials, and give her gratitude for keeping her original website online since she put it up in the late 90's. Aho!

Most recently I have discovered two more creatrixes, Angela-Eloise at Blogickal and Thalia at Audacia Muliebris. Thalia even got extra creative and figured out how to do a few more permutations of the form, complete with a tutorial, and I am totally stoked. Thank goodness someone has some math genes here! Give this woman 5 gold pentagrams!

green bugA while back I took some photographs of the gardens located in the town square, and I found a mystery bug resting in what I think is lady's mantle. If I am wrong and someone knows what it really is, won't you please let me know?

Anyway, I thought that this photograph was perfect for some alchemical transformation, and I am marking this mandala as probably the last one I will make from photographs I took with my dear 4 mpx camera. My new 8 mpx Canon A720IS has arrived, but I did not get out this weekend cuz it was pretty cold and very windy. I am taking the manual to bed with me tonight and see if I can figure some of the settings out before sleep takes over.

green bug mandalaGreen Bug Mandala - (Circles of Spring series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I can hardly wait to see what happens next!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Hello Sue,

I have a website about life-limiting illness from diagnosis through bereavement. Pls look at it. my question is may I please use your beautiful mandala picture and of course I will link it to your website? That is what another photography website is letting me do. I would love to put your picture on Donna Belk’s article, “dying, you can’t do it wrong”.

I look forward to your reply.


Please be sure to take a look at Deanna's website. Here is a link to the article.I have great respect for those who work in palliative health care, and I am honored for the request to have my mandalas added to her site.

Conduit of Light Mandala - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2007
source image: bamboo stalks

From my inbox:

I came across the sacred-circle mandalas page quite by chance,
but wanted to let you know how beautiful i think your work is. How can it not bring a touch of warmth and colour to even the greyest of days. Keep it going ! Best regards from Milano, Italy.


Dear Angus,
Thank you for your very kind words about my art. It is moments like these that keep me going.

An audience or "viewer" is necessary to create a mandala.Where there is no you, there is no mandala.
(from: You Are the Eyes of the World, by Longchenpa, translated by Lipman and Peterson).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Blessing of Memories and Dreams

blessingsBlessings Mandala - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

He came to the office inquiring about an apartment.

“My wife and I are looking for a place to live, and I wanted to find out about low income housing.”

I proceeded to explain the guidelines to him…all of our units are filled from a waiting list, one bedroom apartments are reserved for the elderly and handicapped, the waiting list is about three years long right now.


“My wife and I are homeless right now, and living under the 101 bridge. My wife is dying. I’m trying to find something for her.”

I’m uncomfortable, feel helpless. I offered other suggestions of where he might go. “Those folks are a joke, worthless. I’ve been there. They don’t help. And I won’t go to a shelter because we have a dog. We picked him up as a stray and he has been loyal and I won’t abandon him.

But my wife is dying.”
memoriesMemories Mandala - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I knew there would be days like this when I accepted this job, meeting people on the outside of society hoping for something we cannot offer and not finding anywhere else to turn.

“I wish I had something else to suggest,” I murmured. “It’s not your fault. It’s OK,” he replied.

He seemed unwilling to leave. So we shared silence for a while. And in that silence I called to the Universe to assist him in finding what he needed.

This is a true story.

I created this suite of mandalas as an honoring and a blessing to this anonymous man and his family. Like the man, I could not bring myself to break up this grouping. They all belong together. A Blessing of Memories and Dreams.

dreamsDreams Mandala - (Circles of Light series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008


magnolia mandalaMagnolia Mandala - (Circles of Spring) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: magnolia blooms

kissing heartsKissing Hearts Mandala - (Circles of Spring) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: oxalis

Magnolias are blooming and signs of spring are everywhere. I am excitedly awaiting my new camera, which is due to arrive on Wednesday.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I know nothing about weaving or spinning, but I sure know I love the colors of Connie Rose's handspun yarns. Connie was kind enough to give me permission to use some of the photographs from her blog, and I must say I love love love these yarn burst mandalas I created from her yarn photos! Wow- eeeeeee!!

Don't you just want to wear these?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Spring Garden Mandala - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

Playing with sweet purple petals. Im not really sure of the flower. I discovered them growing in a planter box in front of a store in my neighborhood. I did not end up with the effect I was trying to achieve, but I do like the watercolor-y effect I did achieve. I've been creating a lot of purple and green images this late winter and early spring. Vibrationally these colors open up my heart and my spirit. I hope they do for you, my viewers, as well.

Be sure and take a look at John Mora's post today. Cool collaborating.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Heaven's Embrace - (Healing in Circles) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2006
source image: echavaria

Come out of the circle of time and into the circle of love ~ Rumi

Andrea asked me if I had ever posted my earlier work on this blog. Most of these images were created in 2006 and were used on a calendar I had published at for 2007. The image above was on the cover and is one of my favorites. I also use it on one of my greeting cards with the above quote by Rumi. The card sells well, and I believe this is one of my strongest images.

Here and here are links to my greeting card galleries and all of mandala images, if you want to take a peek at my full body of work.

An audience or "viewer" is necessary to create a mandala.Where there is no you, there is no mandala.
(from: You Are the Eyes of the World, by Longchenpa, translated by Lipman and Peterson).

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Last week, while perusing the blogosphere, I came upon James Delaney's website that showed how to use this fun Photoshop feature I wanted to share. This feature is only available in the CS versions of Photoshop and was created to match a series of photographs with each other.
But look at what else you can do.
mad river

I started with this ho-hum photograph of the Mad River, which flows parallel to the Pacific not far from where I live

sailing under the rain

I found this painting online, Sailing Under the Rain, by Yoiche Tanabe. I liked it for its mood and colors.

Here are the steps:
  • Make sure both images are the same dimension
  • Make sure the image of River is active by clicking on it
  • Go to Image>Adjustments>Match Color
  • Under Image Statistics, choose Sailing Under the Rain as the source image
match color

  • Fiddle with Luminance and Color Intensity sliders

sailing river

More experiments:

from the lake

Georgia O'Keeffe From the Lake

okeeffe river

One of my mandalas, cropped.

camelia cropping

camelia river

Have fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Not too long ago I found this banana tree which had been pruned to make way for new growth. I found the patterns fascinating. Im all about patterns and new growth!

I am especially drawn to the hidden, the unexpected and the mysterious.

Untitled 1 - (Circles of Wonder) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I used a Photoshop technique I discovered recently ( which I will share on Sunday in a tutorial) to create these images .
Untitled 2 - (Circles of Wonder) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I have been mulling over this question ever since the SBDC art show a couple of weeks ago. The feedback I received in the art I showed in that exhibition has led me to believe people were more drawn to my earlier work than work that is more recent. Do you, as artists, create for yourself and hope to draw an audience towards you, or do you find what the audience wants and create for them? Or both? This is mostly directed towards those of you who are selling your art, but I'd love to hear everyone's opinion on this.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Invitation to Spring - (Circles of Fun collaborations) - Sue O'Kieffe/John Mora 2008
It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

This past week on the North Coast of California brought with it a great burst of flowering energy and color, and I am feeling the effects of spring fever. Last week after work I went to the town plaza for ice cream and ended up spending an hour taking photos instead during that delicious hour of golden light before sunset. It far surpassed any sugary vanilla sweet I have ever tasted.

I offered John Mora a photo of a palm treeI took on my shooting spree. Those palm trees are full of nesting starlings, and walking underneath them can be a little dangerous. Don't look up. Plop!Splat!

John returned the favor by sending me this rendering(it's blog premiere, I believe):

which I played with, altering orientation and adding a little more texture

What is an invitation but an open window with lace curtains blowing from wind? Im not sure what this flowering plant is, but I knew it would make an inviting light- filled overlay to the earthy sturdiness of palm trees on the Arcata Plaza.

I'm also involved with a little spring cleaning. My external hard drive arrived on Friday. Im looking forward to getting my files in order there, freeing up more space on my C drive, and giving Photoshop a little more breathing room for increased performance. I can hardly wait to order my new camera and look for a class in digital photography. Im really looking to improve my craft.

So those of you who still see slush and snow, please know that spring and all that is glorious about it is certainly on the way.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Friday, March 07, 2008




pen and ink, crayon
© Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I believe I channeled this rendering from the spirit of an ancient Mayan. Doodled before and after my art show, focused on colors and textures of the dry gritty piercing visionary questing. These doodle structures have appeared before on my meanderings on paper. A river runs through it.

I really don't think new crayons are for children anymore. My box of colors has names like wild strawberry, mauvelous, hot magenta, purple pizzazz, shocking pink. Granny smith apple, inchworm, timberwolf, robin's egg blue, dandelion. Im so relieved they didn't rename periwinkle, my favorite color as a child, as some mean-spirited rumor I read somewhere had led me to believe. It's good to retain those sentimental favorites too. Oh, yes, and of course there is still red.

Do you have a favorite crayon color?

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas
(for the Create Every Day 2008 Challenge)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


In her book The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron suggests an exercise to do when artists are between projects -- sharpen your pencils. It's sort of like priming the pump, getting ready for the water to flow again. So I have been reviewing my wishlist for new toys to assist me in my art. Over the weekend I ordered a 500gb external hard drive. When I bought my computer 3 years ago, I never thought an 80 gig hard drive would be insufficient. Hahahaha. Within the next couple of weeks I plan to order a new camera. I'm excited to think how double the megapixels in my photography will change my art. It will definitely create a need for more storage space.
Photoshop gets cranky when I get around 6 gigs of space left on my hard drive. Right now I am considering this Canon PowerShot A720. I've found a good price online but want to hold it before I buy it. I've read good reviews online, but I need to check out the design before I make a final decision.

Eventually I will need another gig of RAM as well.

One of my next goals is finding a better way to print my greeting cards. I've been reading just a little bit about companies using Indigo digital printing presses that will do short run print jobs. Anyone out there have any info or leads on good printers like this that specialize in artists' work?

I also got some feedback about seeing my art printed really big. This summer I saw a digital artist Chalda Maloff from San Antonio exhibiting locally. Her art was printed on canvas, varnished, and wrapped around wood frames. I found out from her that she prints herself, but the printer came in around $5K. Maybe I could find a group of digital artists that would be interested in going in together on a printer. Big sounds soooo good.

What kind of dreams do you have about your art or your life?

Sunday, March 02, 2008


mandala displaySaturday night was the gala opening of the Artists in Business Art show at The Ink People in Eureka, CA. I am both high as a kite and pleasantly pooped, and grateful to Connie Rose for taking photographs. I had my camera with me, but didn't feel like fussing with it.

I was happy with the level of conversation I had with visitors who came to the show, and I have word of interest in one my pieces as well. Nothing like the thought of sales to make the night even more memorable for me.

sue, joan, connie
Here I am enjoying a glass of red with fellow artists Joan Gold and Connie Rose. The three of us are continuing to meet once a month to talk about art/biz related topics after our business group ends this week. I'm really pleased to be continuing on the journey with them. Hard to believe those ten months have gone by so quickly, and it's so amazing to think about all that has changed in my life and my art during this time.

But today, Sunday, I am just basking. I wish you all could have been there to share in our accomplishments. There was a remarkable pool of talented artists in this group.

Many thanks to the Northcoast Small Business Development Center, -- and specifically Connie Lorenzo (for coordinating our group) and Mike Nerat (for being a patient and informative business coach to me) -- for putting this much needed service together for artists in our community.

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas