Mandalas, cut paper and more

ART-A-DAY for June 2013

June was  a month to concentrate on the mandala form once again. With a deadline of the Minnesota State Fair entry due on July 1 I needed to make something that fit in the new rules. Plus, I have a show coming up in the fall at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. The curator, Sheila Asato, is interested in my mandalas for that show and I may need more work than I have. So I decided to work on mandalas for this and the fair entry. I finished two mandalas and started some others. I also experimented in monotype and cut paper mandalas. This continues to be a work in progress as I am figuring out how the methods work together. And printing and cut paper is very different from drawing and painting.

I have a system for the drawn mandalas. The system allows me to make the work automatic and random (as much as a system can do that). I take all my colored pencils and pigment ink pens and dump them in a bin and mix them up. I make a large square paper and find the center and place a dot there. I reach into the bin and whatever pencil or pen comes out is what I use. First I make outlines of all the shapes, starting at the center and moving out in concentric but overlapping rings of shapes. Then I go back and fill in the outlines with colors, much like a coloring book, still picking colors randomly from the bin. After this I go back over with textures and shading to create depth and contrast. This stage requires more deliberate color and material choices to help unify the whole. When it is all finished, I cut the circle out from the square paper. The edge of the artwork is irregular, not a perfect circle. When framed, this becomes a feature. I like the ragged edges. Each mandala takes about 15-20 hours.

For the printed mandalas, I have been cutting the printing paper into stencils. I draw the design and cut with an x-acto knife. My hand gets very sore from the cutting. When the papers are cut, I then monotype print on them. With monotype printing, inks are rolled or brushed onto a thin sheet of plexiglass and printed to the paper on an etching press. A stencil can be used to block colors. I use the stencil as part of the artwork too since it is also inked. These stencils and prints from the stencils will then be layered. I have not yet determined how to layer or present them. Stay tuned for the outcome of that.

Cut paper is a growing interest to me. I am interested in the stencil effect but also the dimensional aspects that arise and the way light can interact with layers of cut paper. My next posting should present some progress on this front. Stay tuned.

Here are my art-a-day June entries.