When I first started creating mandalas I used whatever images I had in my library. I didn’t always like the first attempts but it was helping me learn the process. After a while I could see what types of images yielded interesting mandalas (for me) and which didn’t (usually … I qualify that statement because you truly never know). I began to notice that the ones created from images of trees were ones that particularly appealed to me. I began seeing and photographing trees specifically for the purpose of creating mandalas. The majority of my mandalas over the last year were drawn from tree images. I would purposely head out when the light was interesting and photograph those spreading branches with light painting the sky beyond in unusual colors. The first 3 images in the gallery show some of my early mandalas created with images of trees.
Lately, though, I’ve been looking for different ways of seeing and envisioning the mandalas. The beach at Lake Ontario last weekend provided some possibilities that I hadn’t previously considered. When I say beach, do not think of a white sandy expanse calling you to lounge in the warm sun with a good book and a nice cool drink. This beach was a mile long expanse of nothing but rocks, beautiful rocks that had been tossed and rolled and washed over thousands of times to create smooth rounded surfaces, rocks anywhere from the size of a robin’s egg to that of a basketball. It was tough walking, as the rocks would roll under your feet as you stepped on them. I love rocks, and in fact collect a few everywhere I travel. I picked up some great rocks to add to my collection and took some interesting shots of the rocks. Very occasionally there would be small pockets of dirt/sand that had sifted down from the eroding cliff above the beach. The image I used for the mandalas this week is what I called a Beach Still Life, one of those small pockets that had a bit of sand as well as an assortment of rocks, leaves, and sticks. It’s a very different sort of image than I usually use to create mandalas but then the resulting mandalas are very different than what I usually create. It’s fun to occasionally change something in your work and see where it leads.