Welcome back to our 100 Mandalas Challenge hosted by Kathryn Costa and Megan Warren. If you are new here, you can get an overview of the challenge over on this page, HERE. The challenge is to create 100 mandalas in 100 days. Basically a mandala is a design within a circle. Each week we offer a theme and art technique as a point of inspiration. You are welcome to play with the theme or experiment with any materials or styles that catch your interest. You can start your 100 Mandalas Challenge at any time.
by Kathryn Costa
Meet Claudia Gray one of my dear friends. We are photo buddies - we've shared many outings together with cameras in hand, taken photography classes, and enjoy getting together to play. Over the years Claudia has made beautiful cards for her family, friends, and colleagues where she takes her photography and alters it using a program called Kaleidoscope Kreator. The first image in this post is the card she made for me and my husband Fernando on the occasion of our wedding.
When I started this 100 Mandalas challenge, I knew I wanted to get together with Claudia to play. I packed with me some photos from some of our outings and photography classes. I was so curious to see what I could do with this program.
While hanging out together Claudia pulled out some of her buttons and made this mandala.
Later in the week she surprised me with these gorgeous and unique mandalas.
The program works by taking a section of the photo based on a shape that you select. It is a rather spontaneous and playful process.
Claudia gets creative and photographs the bottom of a bowl. You'll never predict what will happen with this image.
Amazing, isn't it?
In a recent visit, Claudia's 9 year old grandson Evan, played with the program. In this example he started with one of his drawings.
Voila! Mandala a la Evan.
I heard that Evan was so hooked on the program that he made around 58 images in that one weekend. I think we can now call Evan a mandala making machine.
Many of Claudia's cards over the years use photographs of flowers but she warned me that they become a tricky subject often resulting in mandalas filled with aliens or insect-like creatures. I found that to be the case and in fact, didn't like a single mandala using the photos I had of flowers.
For my first successful attempt, I pulled out a photo of bowling shoes that I had taken for a class assignment. Claudia was eager to see what was going to happen with this photo as it is so very different than any of the subjects she had tried before.
Now how cool is this? It looks like I stitched this mandala. Although the program creates some interesting mandalas, often the entire composition is lacking in interest. Claudia showed me how she takes several mandalas and puts them together in Adobe Photoshop Elements. I did that with this bowling shoe mandala only I use the full version of Adobe Photoshop. If you look closely, you'll see that some of the layers are repeated and resized. I like the layered look. I also didn't like the corners of the original image so I applied a black to transparent gradient to hide the corners and give the piece some added depth.
Here is another image I took one day when Claudia and I were in a shop where they sell sea shells. Are you ready to see what will happen with this one?
Crazy, isn't it?
Here a photo of an architectural element was used to create several images. All of these examples are straight from the program and not altered. There are hundreds of options and endless hours of play...if only we had that kind of time!
A wall covered with grafitti was the subject for my next mandala.
It really was exciting to see these unique mandalas appearing before the screen with a push of a button. In this example, I worked it a bit and brought in a couple of pieces from several files. It looks like I spray painted this mandala.
"Serendipity" the name of a shop in Portsmouth, NH is a fitting sign to use for this exercise - don't you agree? Here I played with a few different sections capturing the elements of the striped awning, the window frame, and a couple of details from the logo.
Leave it to my co-host Megan to find a free Windows based program called "Pattern Pie". She started with scribbling some lines on the computer and then created the mandalas you see pictured above. From chaos, order was created.
Here Megan started with one of her photos taken from her trip this last year to Phuket Province, Thailand. When we look at the final designs, no one would have any clue the source image of the design.
Claudia, Evan, Megan, and I all agreed that creating mandalas using programs like Kaleidoscope Kreator and Pattern Pie is a lot of fun. Even so, I still love and prefer creating my mandalas by hand. Although I'm a whiz on Photoshop, I find unplugging and drawing or painting to be far more relaxing and rewarding.
Each week we select a 100 Mandalas participant to spotlight here, on Facebook, and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Have you seen our daily posts on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram? We've been highlighting the mandalas that were submitted for our Solstice Mandala Calendar. It seems only fitting to lift them up here in the participant spotlight. I am so grateful to each one of them for saying yes to this project. Be sure to visit their websites and tell them that you saw them in the Solstice Calendar!
We have more collaborative "Community Mandala" projects planned for 2015. Watch my newsletter for details.
Show and Tell
We love show and tell! We hope you'll get excited about your mandalas and want to share what you've done with our community. There are several ways you can play along:
Mr. Linky: At the bottom of each weekly theme there is a place for posting the link to your blog posts. Please be sure to link to your mandala and not just a general link to your website. Thank you!
Facebook: Like the 100 Mandalas Challenge community page on Facebook and post your mandalas.
Instagram: Post your mandalas and tag @100Mandalas
Pinterest: Like the 100 Mandalas Challenge board on Pinterest and you'll get access to pin your mandalas. I've just made some of the other True North Arts boards on Pinterest public. Follow any of these boards and I'll make you a pinner: Mandalas, Doodles, Zentangle, Rock Mandalas, Danmalas, and Found Object Mandalas.
Hashtag: Wherever you post, don't forget to include the hashtag #100Mandalas
Use this badge on your blogs.
Link to this page: http://www.100mandalas.org
Each week (either on Sunday or Monday) a new theme and/or art technique will be shared. Think of these as a weekly vitamin, a dose of inspiration to get your creativity fired up. You may like what you see and want to try it out, or you may be groovin' with a particular medium and want to go deeper with it. We love exploring and diving deep and encourage you to follow what interests you.
So you don't forget to take your vitamin, sign up to receive Kathryn's e-mail newsletter. You'll get a weekly update with a link to the current theme.
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Support 100 Mandalas
Kathryn has teamed up with her husband Fernando to offer these wood mandala tiles for sale. Choose from 6 designs. Paint them with your favorite colors and design styles. Purchase of these tiles helps to support our work here at 100mandalas.org and ensures that we keep offering great mandala posts, ideas, interviews, and loads of inspiration coming your way at no charge.
Following the 100 Mandalas Challenge is like getting a FREE online class.
Whether you play on the computer to create your mandalas or work them by hand, I hope to see what you are up to in your mandala practice.
Kathryn Costa, Collage Diva and Creative Dabbler