Sunday, November 30, 2008


I spent Thanksgiving with my friend Lorlyn who lives in Talent, Oregon. She was already Talented, though, before she moved there. These are photos I took in her backyard.

This also concludes 30 days of creating art in November. My my, that time went by quickly. Wow wow. My intent for these past 30 days had been to focus more on my photography. I feel pretty satisfied with every thing I created this month...for the stretches in pushing past some of my comfort zones and just daring to do something new.

I smiled when I saw the holey stone. Whenever I see those rocks, I am reminded what a friend said to me once..."if water can bore through rock, then we can get through anything!"

I am way grateful for Leah who has managed to create such a cohesive community of creative bloggers, and for giving us all an opportunity to get to know each other a little better during these past 30 days. In my travels around the blogosphere I have seen some amazing work. Thanks to all of YOU for enriching my life.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


ancestors mandala
Ancestors' Mandala- (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image- decorative grasses

A patch of ornamental grasses blowing gently in the wind and shimmering in the light caught my eye a couple of weeks ago when I was out shopping for groceries. I circled round the parking lot and pulled out my trusty companion Canon for a quick photoshoot. I lovd the lacey delicacy of the grasses gone to seed.

During one of my recent investigations of the meaning of the word mandala, I discovered another interpretation that I really like ... containing essence. How much more essential could anything be than a plant at the end of its growing cycle, yet producing seeds to insure its continued growth? The alpha and omega, beginning and end, never ceasing....

When I decide to create a mandala, it seems the image tells me how it wants to be created; I have no preconceived idea what the final image will look like. It is fun for me to later look at books on symbolism to search for meanings of the imagery contained within the circle.

Seven (for the seven rays of this mandala) is a holy and mystical number ... seven days, seven planets, seven colors in the rainbow, seven directions (north, south, east, west, up, down and center), seven phases in the alchemical process of turning base material into gold. According to Jung, seven stands for the highest stage of illumination, a passing from base ignorance to golden enlightment. Seven, seven, I'm in heaven!

Because I create in such an abstract manner, I'm never really certain what Im going to create until it has created itself. Reading about the number seven as a number of ancient symbolism, I have decided to designate this mandala as the image for the ancestors' prompt in the Mandalas for Peace Project.

As peaceful as the falling snow...

This will more than likely be my last posting for AEDM as well, since I am going out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope all of you have a blessed four day weekend. Be safe and happy whatever you do in these days to come.

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I have been photographing two banana trees I see on my daily walk for about a year now and have watched them from a point of being trimmed back for winter to growing out again. I would imagine they will be trimmed again soon...the gardener honors the cycle of life!

My intent for AEDM had originally been to experiment more with my camera. It's been challenging with all the rain we've been having lately here on the North Coast of California. Actually Im amazed banana trees even grow here. These trees must like rain!

Oh and hey! Be sure to visit my doodle blog for more Banana Madness!


Friday, November 21, 2008


nature's bounty mandalaNature's Bounty Mandala - (Create Every Day Month) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image - cherry leaf

cherry in autumnThis mandala reminds me of a bowl for all of the blessings and bounty that nature has to offer. It is deep and wide and has room for love and peace and compassion. I am releasing judgments about people around me who I do not agree with and putting them in this bowl for healing. We must be the change we want in the world.

Have you ever noticed the Messages from the Universe that are posted in the sidebar to the right? You have to scroll down a bit. They are there to remind us (me) of the Universal support available all the time.

2 cherry leavesI created this mandala for AEDM. This morning I received a prompt from Cheryl over at Mandala Oasis to create a mandala of Thanksgiving. Talk about synchronicity! Cheryl asked ...if thanksgiving...forgiving/forgiveness....gratitude...or appreciation were a mandala...what would it look like? ...

Words that come up for me center around enough ... big enough, deep enough, always enough ... with an eight pointed golden star(eight being a symbol of the sun as the divine instigator of endless change .. Circlot, Dictionary of Symbols, 1962) right in the center to remind me of this when thoughts might come up that speak contrary to these truths.

3 cherry leavesLeaves in autumn change color and eventually fall from tree branches. I don't suspect they hang on for dear life resisting change. May we all greet life with joy and change with ease.

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I'm excited to announce the release of Sacred Circle Mandalas Calendar, which can be purchased through LULU. COM, a print- on-demand company.
Back again for another year, Sacred Circle Mandalas Calendar is sure to delight the mind and soothe the spirit. The word mandala comes from Sanskrit and roughly translates to mean containing essence. Each mandala in this calendar was created by photographing images from nature and then digitally transforming their essence into magical new patterns. Each image is accompanied by an inspiring quote by writers such as Rumi, Jung, and Thoreau. It is my desire to capture Nature’s stories in beautiful ways within the wholeness of the mandala circle.

During these challenging times, I believe we all need more positive imagery in our lives to ground us in hope. People who have witnessed my art have called it uplifting, ephemeral, powerful and full of joy.

If you have any questions, please be sure to contact me by scrolling down to the email link posted on the right sidebar.

(For those of you viewing my blog through a feed reader or via email, you will need to come to site to view the slide show of calendar pages)


Thursday, November 13, 2008


community creating peace

Community Creating Peace Mandala - (Mandalas for Peace Project) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image - eucalyptus leaves

There can be no vulnerability without risk, there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately, no life, without community ~ M. Scott Peck

When I began to create this mandala, the first image I saw was two hands cradling a seed. As the mandala progressed, it evolved into a circle of hands, each nurturing its own seed, as well as offering it to be planted in the center. What will grow there?

What would you plant in the center, within your own community?

This mandala was created for the Mandalas for Peace Project and posted for day 13 of Art Every Day Month.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


november rhodie

November Rhodie - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

A rhododendron bush right outside my apartment generates blooms about two months earlier than others that usually bloom in January. I took a photo last week which I later manipulated in Photoshop. Overall I was pretty pleased with the highlights of color and luminosity derived from some actions I used which were developed by Glenn Mitchell. I'm not really sure what I'm doing when applying these automated scripts to my imagery (shhhh, don't tell, k?), but I have figured them out well enough to add a certain glow to my photos and mandalas.

So today I wondered if I could use this photo as a source image for a mandala.

Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity ~Kahlil Gibran
eclipse mandalaEclipse Mandala - (Create Every Day series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: November Rhodie

third eye mandalaThird Eye Mandala - (Create Every Day Series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image: November Rhodie

I wanted
to create imagery with a dreamy quality. I think of November as the beginning of a journey into dreamtime. Do you notice the quality of your dreams change during the winter months?

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Saturday, November 08, 2008


weaving a dreamWeaving a Dream - (Mandalas for Peace series) - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
source image - spider web

Spiders are nature's mandala makers, and autumn is a perfect time to witness their beauty. When I googled for spider medicine stories, I discovered in many cultures spiders are considered weavers of magic. They weave a web that remind us of the interconnectedness of life. Did you know that the spider web was believed to give the alphabet to man, so that we could communicate with each other, all over the world? And here we are, doing just that.

Someone who has the power of the spider will see enhanced balance, creative energy, and writing skills. Magic and intuition are also all part of this totem’s medicine.

I like having spiders around me, and it takes a lot for me to remove them from my home.

This mandala is my contribution for the Creativity intent for the Mandalas for Peace project. If you do not know about the project, be sure to read about it here.

I'm enjoying Leah's AEDM project and how much fun it is to challenge myself to try something new (nearly) every day.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


The Greatest Gift of All - (AEDM series) - Sue O'Kieffe 2008greatest gift of all
image source - drainage grate

During the month of November I am specifically looking at imagery that I might not normally capture with my camera. Yesterday I had fun with the lines and shadows of a drainage grate I found on the property where I work. I posted a few of the pictures on Wednesday's post. If you didn't see them, please take a look.

After I created this mandala from yesterday's "Greatest" image, I asked what it was trying to say to me. Hmmm... Life isn't always black and white and is often filled with lots of grey? Well, that is part of it, but it's more than that.

As I was making this image I duplicated a layer and transformed it at 92 degrees, which gave it an unexpected blurred and imperfect effect. And I think it is those out of focus greys that speak of our own imperfections which, in my mind, only make us all the more interesting. And that, really is the greatest gift of all, when we are willing to look at and accept the greys in our lives for the gifts they present to us.

What can you do today, just for today, to look at a situation in a different way?

~Sue O'Kieffe
Sacred Circle Mandalas

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


after the stormAfter the Storm - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008
so this guy i know at work walked up to me when i was out taking photos this afternoon.
"you taking pictures of leaves?"
"nope. raindrops."
"raindrops!how come?"
"cuz i've never tried it before"

Monday, November 03, 2008


who's kaw-lingWho's Kaw-ling? - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I love watching ravens. They are such teases. Just about the time you get the camera out and focused, off they fly. I swear they know. This one stuck around until I started to zoom in, then flap flap flap. Have you ever walked down the street with a bag of chips and throw a few on the ground? Within seconds every raven within a three mile radius will be on the street, vying for those cheetos. They look pretty funny with orange beaks, lemme tell you.

Do you have a favorite raven story? (Oh Deb K, where are you?)

Don't forget to come visit me over on my doodle blog. Im playing there too.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


On my daily walk around the block I often study this particular palm tree behind the local laundromat. (Isn't it amazing the gems we find in such mundane places?) ...

and took some photos of the leaves using various shutter speeds.

green mandalaGreen Mandala - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

When I took the bottom photo into Photoshop to be mandalized, I used the same basic technique from the photograph in Saturday's post...Photoshop's Find Edges filter set to Multiply and a wee bit of Gaussian blur which gives it that dreamy look. A strong Curves adjustment added boldness and grounding.

I have been craving green in my imagery lately. Even with most of the blooms faded away with the arrival of autumn, I thank goodness for shrubbery and living in a land of evergreens!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


A year ago I rose to Leah Piken Kolidas' challenge to create every day during the month of November and tried my hand at some non-digital art; out of that came a new found fascination with lines and color. (Hey, did you even know I have another blog, dedicated to doodling? ) Another year has come and gone, and once again Leah is encouraging us to think about new ways to be creative. I re-upped. I would support you all to join us in this no-pressure challenge to try something new. You can do it! Being creative is good for you.

This year I have decided to focus more on new photographic techniques and will be posting my excursions here and there, since I do imagine playing with my camera as another way of doodling.

dancing with flutesDancing with Flutes - © Sue O'Kieffe 2008

I've begun experimenting with new ways of using aperture and shutter speeds. Mostly I'm trying not to rely so much on Photoshop and just use simple digital darkrooom techniques. I did enjoy the watercolory, batik-like results of this image, though. Some habits are too much fun to relinquish altogether.

Stay tuned for further adventures!

~Sue O'Kieffe