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Mandala - A Time-Microcosm of the universe

I am a homemaker, currently isolating is Seattle, WA. With all the travel halted, eat-outs stopped and outdoor entertainment almost nullified, keeping myself positive, sane, and stable became a task. Between a toddler, a very busy husband and multiple kitchen trips a day, I realized, I was lost, completely lost. Finding time for myself was like looking for a needle in the haystack. Nevertheless, it had to be done. To keep me happy and as a ripple effect, ones living with me happy. 

I wondered what is it I can do that is doable, less time consuming, cost-effective and meditative at the same time? After some research, I came across a form of Art called “MANDALA”. The literal meaning of the word Mandala in Sanskrit is Circle. It’s a geometric configuration of symbols. It was used as a map representing deities and an aid to meditation and trance induction. The later stands true even today in my case. With a sketchbook, a geometric compass, a foot-ruler, a pencil, and a black microtip pen I went for it.

The first one took me 25 minutes. At the end of it, I felt like I had won an Olympic medal. The high was addictive. Made me go for it again and again and again. And with every new design, my creativity broke new bounds, my hand got smoother and I started exploring how can I bring more variation in my designs. I leaned towards nature. From birds to flowers to oceans to celestial bodies and humans, I tried my hand at everything and successfully so. I started using more colors, different types of pens, crayons, and geometric tools. It was fun but I needed more.

I read about dotting a Mandala. Now, this is a completely different art. I thought if I can sketch a mandala, why not dot it. Buying dotting tools, canvases, acrylic colors, the varnish will drain your pockets dry but I did it nonetheless. Imagine, an entire canvas, or a drawing or a sketch is made of tiny dots instead of complete lines. It’s an ultimate test of your patience, precision, and fine motor skills. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every artist was first an amateur”. 

After a first few attempts on various surfaces, I felt like I would never get better at it. Getting the color combinations, the size of the dots, the spacing, and the thickness of dots perfect all at the same time was a task. A difficult one. My experience tells me, dotting requires practice. A lot of it. Trust me.  Today, I am working on four 12x12 canvases with the theme of “Panchatatva” or 5 elements of life to put up on my wall. Hopefully, the wall will be an eyecatcher.

In short, with a little bit of technique, a little persistence and practice, you can develop any skill you want. Art is something that can be a hobby, a meditative medium and with more finesse can be monetized as well. In times like these, when we feel stuck and confined, leaning towards a creative avocation within the perimeter of our walls does help. So ask yourself what’s your “Happy Place”, challenge yourself and find peace in whatever form of art you like. IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU. 

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