Mandalas and Dream Catchers

I’ve been drawing mandalas for many, many years. Once it was a tool that helped focus me and bring me into a quiet and meditative space. Another time mandalas became a way of connecting with and working through my feelings in a troubled time. I kept a book filled with my intricate drawings for years until I felt it was time to let them go as I moved on with life. I thought my time with mandalas was done – I turned instead to doily making, a kind of crochet version of a mandala if you freestyle it and work with form and colour as your heart dictates. A thoroughly satisfying and restful occupation, mainly done during long winter evenings and eventually ending up, not with a book, but a blanket – a more cuddly and useful product formed from many hours of quiet contemplation.

And then recently I fell somehow into the idea of painting little dream catchers – a version filled with doodles and shapes of a repetitive nature emulating the work of a mandala.  Here are some I’ve been working on.  They are not quite finished yet…….

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Then my journal page got a workout with this

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I thought I was painting a mandala – which goes to show you never quite know when you pick up some colours where you might end up ………

The process, if you are interested, was to lay down a mixture of colours over the entire double page spread.  You see them now just as the background of the mandala.  Then I used a circle template to pencil in three circles, the rest is done freehand.  The mandala grew from the centre outwards, with lines and doodles and black, white and gold pens.  When the sixth ring was completed the remaining page was painted black.  When the black paint was dry I continued drawing and doodling the pointy outer shapes and finally the ribbons and feathers – at which point I realised my mandala had become a dream catcher.  I felt the black was too heavy so finally I made lots of squiggly marks all over using a white gel pen.

And here are some details of the piece –

 

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So, even though it’s not quite a mandala and not quite a dream catcher, it was a lot of fun to make!  And it might make nice prints – what do you think?

Finally, for his fans – here is Siddy this morning.  Patiently waiting for Orlando to wake up and accept the toy that is being offered so they can play.

siddywaitsforo

He did wake up and Siddy did his happy dance, but Orlando didn’t want to play – again…….  (sigh)……….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

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98 thoughts on “Mandalas and Dream Catchers

  1. Pauline, I just heard about the earthquake and was worried for you. I hope you and your family are all safe.

    Btw, I thought you had stopped blogging as I hadn’t received any updates. I subscribed again, we’ll see if that fixes the problem but in the meantime I love both dreamcatchers and mandalas. yours are beautiful. You are a very talented artist.

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    • Lois, I’m so sorry I missed seeing this comment for some reason or other and left your kind thoughts hanging in the air. Lots has been going on here but all my folk are safe and well, thank you for asking. I’m being a tardy blogger lately, but hope to be back into the swing before too much longer. I hope you are well.

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      • No apologies necessary I was happy to see from the other comments that you were safe and that was the main reason I came checking up on you.

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  2. Pauline, just read about the earthquake and tsunami in NZ. Are you and your family alright? I am hoping you haven’t been impacted by it all. Please let us know.

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    • We are all safe Maryann, thank you for asking. It was a rough night with evacuation for about three hours just in case – but no tsunami event this far south. Orlando and Siddy were surprisingly compliant about being swooped up in the middle of the night and bundled into the car for three plus hours. 🙂 My daughter in Wellington though was up all night with it, finding friends and dealing with some minor damage. I appreciate all the notes left via various media and will get back to you all when I’m a little more grounded.

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  3. Pauline, those ate Gorgeous!! I think they will suit cards, journal covers or prints, but I was interested to see the suggestion above that they might suit fabrics, too. I’m thinking quilt squares, especially, as they can be sewn onto bags or T-shirts or used to border a long. full skirt. Endless possibilities . . .

    I’m glad to see they will make it to your shop soon, in any case.

    Have to run, now. All the best, as always, to you your companions and your family.
    Big hugs, too 🙂

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    • Hi Linne, I am belatedly catching up on two comments that I missed altogether – one of them being yours. I’m so sorry for my tardy response! Thank you for your enthusiastic support toe the future of my work 🙂 who knows what might happen. I hope you are well and settled in your new home.

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  4. Hello dear Pauline, how lovely to visit you after so long, only to find more of your gorgeous artwork. I adore your dreamcatchers…although, not being an artist at all, I am not familiar with ‘mandalas’…but they are beautiful! And of course, dear, sweet Siddy and Orlando…lovely to see them both again! I feel so relaxed after reading your post! 🙂 ❤

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  5. Hello Pauline – I had to learn a bit about mandalas (thank you, Google): something representing the universe or the cosmos. Is that right?
    The green and black colors and detail are great!
    I’ve learned new today, AND had confirmed what I already knew: you are so talented!

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    • Thank you for coming by – it’s always lovely to read your comments 🙂 Have you never seen a proper mandala being made? Here is a link to something on Youtube. https://youtu.be/JdUFqkX2d6I I haven’t watched it yet, I chose it because it took place in North Carolina 🙂 Tibetan Monks create them painstakingly out of coloured sand and as soon as the mandala is complete it is wiped away – symbolic of both the impermanence of life and the practising of non-attachment. I went every day to watch one being built once, many years ago, and closely observed the monks at their work. It nearly broke my heart when the destroyed it……. It was a pivotal experience!

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  6. What beautiful paintings – so soothing just looking at you lovely artwork. Lovely idea about the blanket. I like an end product 🙂 As for Siddy – oh love him! Think it’s time you got him a canine sibling who understands the ball thing. Give him a hug from me. Seems ages since I saw him on your blog xx

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  7. Hello hello Pauline! You’re probably at slumber, soon to wake for our skype session later 😀 Well for you, tommorrow morning. So I shall just tip toe round here for a poke about, LOL.
    Hey! Dream catchers seem to be the thing this week. I also added them to a layout, although not as much work as you’ve done here. The process of painting and layering and drawing and painting more..that’s a real artist. Do you use a heat gun to dry between steps or walk away and come back when it’s dry? The precision in your hand work is outstanding ! Everything is so symmetrical. Honestly, I can’t draw a straight line to save my life. Feathers seem to be all the rage in art right now. I’ve recently bought feather dies, feather stencils and colored feathers too. I find the odd one in the yard that I tuck into a little box. Unsure how they’ll be used, if ever. I just feel like they’re a little treasure I can’t walk by, ha! Snuggles to your babes, they seem to love each other so much. That’s priceless. xo K

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    • I collect feathers too – have a drawer full of them and never do a thing with them….. I think that’s why I was playing around with the idea, they are everywhere at the moment and I was hunting around for inspiration, needing to go somewhere else away from faces or flowers 🙂 My ability to draw freehand is improving, just don’t look too closely. I think being off a bit though is okay, after all art is stuff you make yourself, not a photograph of life. Well, that’s my excuse any way 🙂

      Sometimes I use a heat tool to dry layers, other times I walk away – it depends where I a in the process. I always put my journal or work out on a book stand in the lounge and look at it as I do other things. The unexpected glimpse from a different angle often points the way ahead. Or other folk coming through saying something – very often Danella Joy makes a comment that breaks a stuck point. I find that really valuable.

      I’m lurking around here waiting for our Skype session to start – I think I was an hour too early today for some reason. Or possibly five hours too early – I just checked 😦 Later Tater!!

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  8. Hello Pauline! It’s been a while. I took a moment to browse through some of the posts and found your on the the list. Happy to see that you are still creating. These dreamcatchers mandalas are a great idea. Happy Friday! 🙂 ❤

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  9. Good grief!! I was reading this, liked it, then started thinking about dream catchers and it sent me down a rabbit hole. Your artwork does that to me. I get inspired and start thinking of ideas. I loved the process you went through to create these. I have a small dream catcher I’ve had for years on my wall. I liked the one you included in the dangler. I can see you making cards to catch Christmas dreams. I forgot how old you said Orlando was. I’m sure he is just too mature for the teenage Siddy. 🙂 They are so cute together though. Photos are again in the laptop. Will try to work on them tomorrow. Had a brief period of sunshine today to photograph before the rain returned. I’m easily distracted. Keep playing. It turns out quite well. 🙂

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    • I often go off on tangents when I’m reading blog posts too Marlene – it’s amazing where you end up sometimes 🙂 I’m still constantly forgetting to photograph light catchers before sending them out – it’s crazy really. I have several sitting around waiting to get listed in the shop and haven’t managed to get a decent shot of them either – sometimes it just seems like too much trouble – I really so appreciate my Official Photographer!! 🙂 Orlando is 10 and Siddy is 2 (and a half) It’s a big difference really. But Siddy lives in hope!! Thanks for coming back to comment – it’s always enjoyed!! xo

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  10. What beautiful work, Pauline. I’m always in awe of the way your mind works and the results that unfold. I love the four journal pieces and if prints are forthcoming, would love to order the purple one for a certain sister who loves both dream catchers and those colors. The black background does something magical to that piece. All those vibrant colors swirling about and then the offset. And those feathers! Oh. My. Goodness.

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    • Thank you Alys – I am tempted to do a ‘proper’ painting version of the feathers, but am looking into postcard sized prints in the meantime. The four little dream catchers were a first go at something on A5 size paper – and I was disappointed in them. I used spray inks that are water soluble, so every time I added something wet on top of them they moved or diluted themselves. I have become a fan of permanent colours – any product is fine as long as it is permanent! My intention is to try those again and use proper paints! Maybe something will eventually emerge for the sister who remains nameless just in case……… 🙂

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  11. These are your best yet Pauline – I love them! They’d make great prints or I could see them as cards, fabric designs…their possibilities are endless. You should market them.

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  12. I like the process and time you take to create these gorgeous mandalas transformed into dream catchers, Pauline. The last one really demonstrates how details make a difference. Just translucent in the watercolors, soft feathers and intertwined ties with the squiggles so . 🙂
    I like the sweet look on Siddy, pleading for some attention. He seems to be patient with Orlando. Does he ever get right up next to him with his wiggly body? I remember when they slept in a photo.

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    • I think it’s more a case of Orlando being patient and forbearing with Siddy Robin. They sleep together quite often and sit on the back of my big chair to keep watch out the window in case anything untoward happens in the street……… Siddy loves his kitty, but he kitty just tolerates the puppy. Now and again there is a moment when O forgets himself and pats at him, this drives Siddy wild with delight and he dashes around in ever decreasing circles to entice the cat to do it again. The cat usually declines. If Orlando ever decided to play with him, Siddy would simply bounce to the ceiling with excitement. I do get a lot of laughs just watching them at their antics. It did take a while to complete this piece Robin, it just kept going and going and there always seemed to be something else to add in. It is a slow and meditative process. I’m glad you like it, thank you!

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      • I was happy you wrote out the antics of Siddy and Orlando. I thought O wasn’t keen on S but might warm up over time. The ever decreasing circles makes me smile very wide, Pauline! I shall read this to my Mom sometime next week.
        Friday, I ho in for cataract surgery and then next day, after Dr inspects patch I will be heading in the far right lane to Mom’s which will take about 2 1/2 hours on Saturday. She doesn’t have her shih-tzu with her, my brother takes care of Nikki. Sending you another dose of hurray’s and great job for the most complicated last one, but lovely for all which you made. Your slow and meditative process (may be even tedious?) really creates beautiful art! ❤

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        • I’m sending you warm best wishes for your cataract surgery Robin – and a slow and happy drive to see your lovely mama……… Please give her best wishes from New Zealand and a very bouncy happy puppy 🙂 ❤

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          • Pauline, I appreciate the warm best wishes, since even though its routine, I still haven’t had too many surgeries in my life!
            My Mom will be happy to hear my reading this message. She is so funny, probably have shared she tells people I’m a writer or I’m a blogger. 🙂
            Best wishes for you, Orlando, Siddy and your daughters, too. 🙂

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            • I haven’t had any surgeries Robin – so I think anything that requires a scalpel needs lots of good thoughts being poured in! Glad to hear it is ‘routine’ however 🙂 Yes, you have shared that your mom tells folk you are a writer – Isn’t it lovely that she is so proud of you! Thank you for the good wishes sent our way – always received with gratitude xo

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          • I should have listened to the world news, Pauline. I am trying to recuperate from our presidential election. So, only have listened to “local” news.
            What I am getting at is my distress to have heard about the New Zealand earthquake today! I was behind in this news. . .
            I feel relief reading your responses to others, now knowing you, Siddy, Orlando and your daughters are “fine and and dandy.” Thank God or Mother Nature!

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            • Hello Robin 🙂 It’s great not listening to the news isn’t it. I never listen, yet find myself informed on all the things I need to know about, without all the endless sound bites and fear mongering that goes on. Your election was an unbelievable event wasn’t it – It left us all with our mouths open asking how a bankrupt, megalomaniac celebrity with no political experience managed to do THAT!! I’m sending lots of wishes for peace and safety your way.

              Yes we are all fine and I am most grateful to be able to say that. The quake aftershocks continued on for three days coming every two minutes and with every hour holding about three moderates and two rattlers it was hard for those who bore the brunt. Some major roads are still impassable and one area is still cut off from the rest of the country. There was a US ship off shore somewhere and they came in and helped transport food and medical care into the Kaikoura area. Their help was much appreciated.

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  13. I love your mandalas, Pauline. I say go for it you have such a creative talent and are so fortunate to be able to share it in so many unique and different ways. Your style is so you. I love seeing what you were up to. Thank you for sharing such detailed photos. They’re very enjoyable. Beautiful!!

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  14. I am now enthralled with your dream catchers and the way you used acrylics or watercolors underneath.The way the colors melt into each other, blend and change seem to be the perfect background as a place to catch dreams.
    I enjoyed studying them.
    Ginene

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    • Thank you Ginene, I am so glad you had a close look. I use acrylics to paint with – I use my fingers quite often these days, or sponges sometimes. I think I did this background half brushes, half fingers. Fingers allow me to really understand how the paint is behaving on the paper and how it is mixing with other colours – it is a fun process and I never have any idea when I start, where it will end!

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  15. I love these, Pauline. They have the outdoors shining through them, like a microcosm of the world. And the colors are so inviting. I like the detail on the feathers, too. Yes, make prints!

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  16. I love the journal piece especially Ms Pauline. There is something dynamic but wistful at the same time about it. Lovely work.

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  17. That one in the journal….a daydream dandala, is what I call it…lovely, lovely, lovely. You dreamt upon it, and now I can dream upon it as I wander in and out of the spirit intricacies of color and shape. Put some on notecards, woman!

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  18. Love the mandalas and dream catchers. I think they would make wonderful prints. Siddy is such a happy baby. You can see it in his little face. The picture of him and Orlando is precious.

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  19. What a gorgeous combination of mandalas and dream catchers! I love the greens, blues and yellows over the black background, and also how you detailed it with the white gel pen and those tiny bows. Outstanding work, Pauline..and yes, they would make lovely prints.

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  20. Ha, i would call them Mandalalala’s…in honor of being in Lalaland. Because thats where I go when I look at these beautiful dreamy, soothing and yet so colorful images. Gorgeous work Pauline! xo Johanna

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  21. What a great thing to do – drawing or painting dreamcatcher mandalas. (I see you need to invent your own word to describe these too.) How inventive and creative you are. I particularly love the last one. The detail is amazing. I love its vibrant colours, and the movement in its tails and feathers. It is the embodiment of energy and joy. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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  22. I like these a lot! I like everything about them–the shapes and colors, and the way they sound like such a pleasant exercise in losing oneself in the process. With this whole fad of adult coloring books, I have wondered why those same adults don’t just doodle and unleash their creativity. That’s what you’re doing and look at the fab results!

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    • That is so true Kerry! Though for a short time I did colour in a book [I was given one last Christmas] and quite enjoyed doing so for a while before I got bored. I think it was that step that took me back to painting interestingly enough. So maybe they have their uses. I read someone’s thoughts recently about the colouring books being a step up from the paint by numbers thing that was around for many years – and still may be for all I know. At least the books give the person freedom of choice with colours 🙂 And they are a nice relaxing activity. I just really enjoyed the process I went through making this page and am sorry I didn’t stop to take photos of each stage as each one was so intriguing. Thank you for your enthusiastic response! ❤

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      • I have several coloring books now, many of them gifts, but find that I too am easily bored. I keep one in the car, and was glad to have it last week when I forgot to bring a book and was bored with the options on my phone. It can be mindless and soothing to move your pencil about, but if I had your skills, I would be doing what you’re doing, making beautiful art.

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  23. These are beautiful mandalas/dream catchers, Pauline! Can totally relate when you said that you never know what’s going to happen next with color on hand. 😀 With colors there is a world of difference and that colorful dream catcher is LOVE! They all remind me of the sparkling catchers you lovingly create.

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