Mandala 25 December 2022

I’ve spent the few waking hours of this morning adding colour to the mandala design in my previous post.

I found some contentment and peace when I got into the flow, that meditative state. Contentment and peace are very much needed at this time, and not just by myself, but so many around the world. And if my art gives one person a little smile, a lift in their heart and spirits, then it’s done a good job.

This mandala has been unconsciously inspired by the work of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement artists and artisans. Medieval illuminated manuscripts inspired the colour palette. These are huge sources of inspiration and wonder and joy to me, and have been for a long time. Only recently, I realised how much they influence my artistic style. I’m embracing this, as well as combining other sources of inspiration and my own particular twist.

I still find myself bothered by wanting to do things the ‘right’ way when it comes to adding colour or putting a design together. But slowly I’m figuring out that the only ‘right way’ is to do it my way. In this mandala, you get a little snapshot of what has fascinated me in the past three or so months, if not for the whole of my life! Sometimes you have to circle around and around and around until the blinding obvious is, well, obvious!

I say just about my whole life. Since I was nearly six years old, I’ve lived a few miles away from Castell Coch, a Victorian castle in a fanciful medieval and arts and crafts style that lies on Cardiff’s outskirts. The Third Marquis of Bute engaged William Burges. He designed and built the castle, built upon the foundations of a 13th Century medieval castle built by the ruthless Marcher Lord Gilbert de Clare. Burges had free reign to design the castle as he wished and to decorate and furnish it too. Money was no object for the Marquis of Bute.

It is an imaginative, romantic view of what medieval castles were like, but it is absolutely glorious! Burges was one of a number of artists who heralded the birth of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

As a child, I remember many Sunday afternoons spent wandering the castle in awe of its structure, the decorations and more. Although I don’t often visit now, it is always a wondrous time for me.

Angel – Finished

12″ x 8″.  Sakura Glaze pen for outline (grey used), Inktense pencils and water wash for colours, Cosmic Shimmer gold and silver watercolour paints for various bits and bobs.

Just finished this experiment.  The photo isn’t really all that good (I’ve said before, often, photography isn’t one of my skills, and the painting/drawing is too big to fit in my scanner).  The outlines are glossy and so have reflected the flash too much, and there are places where the metallic highlights haven’t shown up well, but you’ll get the idea.

I’m actually fairly pleased with this, especially when it is shrunk in size as all the imperfections I perceive disappear.


Angel – Work in progress

Well, it’s another grey, damp day here; the kind of day that is best spent pottering around the home, lost in art or creativity of some kind or other methinks!

A friend gifted me a set of three books all about Romanesque, medieval and Gothic art.  Browsing through them reminded me of how much I love architecture, especially Romanesque.  It also reminded me of the wonderful angels to be seen at Malmesbury Abbey and Kilpeck Church, and I woke up this morning with an idea in my head to sketch and draw and create.  I want to do this work in a simple, stylised form – influenced by Romanesque and by Art Nouveau, and possibly stained glass.

Here is the work so far.

Around 12″ x 8″ in size, it has been outlined using a grey Sakura Glaze pen, which gives it that ‘stained glass’ feel.  I want to use jewel-bright colours to complete the work, the kinds of colours seen in medieval manuscripts.