Saturday, September 27, 2008


The past few days I have enjoyed walking through the neighborhoods witnessing the change of color. Even though our autumn leaves are not as brilliant as what you might see in the Midwest or New England, coming upon the maples overhanging the boulevards with the sun shining through their leaves is simply breathtaking. Cherry trees that early displayed sweet pink flowers now vibrate with red and gold foliage. Wise gingko shimmers yellow. And the pumpkin spiders hanging out in their exquisitely woven webs harken the approaching cooler nights.

I do love showing off the beauty of where I live.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


sunflower mandalaSunflower Salutation Mandala - (Autumn Circle series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: sunflower

Glowing like a sun
Warming everyone
Will you walk with me?
Rain and winter snow
Only help you grow
Won’t you walk with me?
~Al Jarreau

Over at the Mandala Oasis we have been creating autumn- inspired mandalas. More than one of us has used the cheerful sunflower as a source of inspiration. Who is not drawn to this joyous fall bloom? This flower reminds me of a great big hug, warm, open and inviting.

When I feel into this mandala, I am aware of the radiating nurturing energies of the last days before winter. Here on the North Coast of California September and October are our glory days. Socked in by damp grey fog in the summer, we hunger for light and an end to summer bouts of Seasonal Affective Disorder. September arrives, temperatures rise, the air is still and we bask in heat like lizards on a rock in the desert.

I am grateful for these days, interspersed with early rains. I love watching pumpkin spiders in their webs and preparing for those days when the veil grows thin between the worlds of matter and spirit.

May your days ahead be heartwarming and filled with joy.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Bamboo stalk

hollow reed mandalaHollow Reed Mandala -(Autumn Circle series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: bamboo stalks and leaves

When the interior of a reed is empty and free from all matter, it will produce beautiful melodies; and as the sound and melodies do not come from the reed, but from the flute player who blows upon it, so the sanctified heart of that blessed Being is free and emptied from all save God, pure and exempt from the attachments of all human conditions, and is the companion of the Divine Spirit. Whatever He utters is not from Himself, but from the real flute player, and it is a divine inspiration ~ Abdu'l Baha

Every day I walk past a patch of bamboo. The color of the leaves and the stalks is now a sort of antiqued bronze. Last week I noticed lady bugs on many leaves, and I wondered what was on the bamboo that the lady bugs were loving. Recently whoever takes care of the bamboo trees trimmed off the branches overhanging the driveway, revealing many hollow reeds. This time of year I am noticing more of the patterns of nature -- stems and leaves -- now that they aren't competing with show-offy flowers for recognition.

While creating this mandala today I thought about the joy I feel when I am able to step aside and make room for the Creator's energy to flow through me. I love it when art seems to make angst, no struggle, just ease...

Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others....

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Many people have never learned to see the beauty of flowers, especially those that grow unnoticed. For instance, when you walk outside and look down at your feet, you may see tiny flowers nestled in the moss and clover hiding under a curled fern. Most people just step on them. I paint them. ~Erica Just

Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding. ~ Marc Chagall

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her . . . . I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. ~ Claude Monet

Saturday, September 06, 2008


tree mandalaTree Mandala -(Seasonal Circle series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: bare tree branches

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green things that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.
~William Blake, The Letters 1799

Autumn is definitely my favorite season. Right around my birthday the light begins to change to a rosy golden hue. On the North Coast of California days begin to warm up a bit. The days are less windy, and people put on their summer clothes. Funny, huh? Even though I've lived on the coast for over twenty years, writing about where I live and describing it to others makes me aware of what a unique place where I live really is. The next six weeks or so will be autumnal bliss.

This mandala was created from a photograph of dead tree limbs. spooky tree branchesThere was something about the configuration that really appealed to me. Inspired by Chewy Sweetwater, I created the background from a selection of the pattern within the mandala, created a pattern, and created a layer style using pattern overlay. I am currently obsessed with how I use the space surrounding my mandalas.

I so love the creative process.

Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas