Latest Posts

Welcome to the Circle

Welcome to and the home of the 100 Mandalas Challenge & Community hosted by Kathryn Costa. If you are interested in drawing, coloring, or working with mandalas, then you’ve arrived at the right place!

Are you new to the 100 Mandalas Challenge?

You may want to start with these links:

Current Workshops & Programs

  • At Kripalu: Creating Mandalas for an Inspired Year – Begin your year feeling inspired, creating mandala art, and nourishing your body, mind and spirit. Kripalu is a world-renowned yoga and health center and perfect setting for a mandala weekend. December 29, 2017 – January 1, 2018
  • Mandalafest – FREE online workshop and party with contests and prizes. October 14 – 22, 2017

Opening My Heart in Hawaii

If you asked me seven weeks ago that I would be traveling to Hawaii, I would’ve scoffed in disbelief.  I had been working really hard these last three years juggling a day job and building my dream job. My vacations were dedicated to writing and promoting my book, trainings on mandalas and marketing, and connecting with my online mandala family. I can’t even remember the last time I even took a “real vacation.”

Seven weeks ago I dumped the day job of 13 years. The following week, my sister-in-law and I were talking on the phone and she said, “You should come with me to Hawaii for a retreat.” In less than 24 hours the arrangements were made and I was heading to the “Open Your Heart in Paradise with Ram Dass Retreat.” What makes this story even more incredible was how the retreat sold out within hours of opening. Since June there had been a very long wait list and here I was going. It was a miracle.

My Hawaii Wound

When I told others of my trip, it felt like I was talking about someone else. Now while I’d never traveled to Hawaii before, I had my own relationship with this place. In my heart, I carried within me what I called my “Hawaii Wound.”

The wound formed when I was about eleven years old. My parents were divorced and my dad had remarried a woman with two daughters – one a year older than me and one a year younger. Each Sunday, my younger brother and I would visit my dad. One year my father was planning a trip and told my mother that she was “not to tell Kathy and Karl.” He wanted to surprise us with a postcard.


I learned in the postcard that my dad traveled to Hawaii with his new family that included his wife, two stepdaughters, and his mother-in-law. When asked why we were not invited, he replied, “There wasn’t enough room in the rental car.”


As you can imagine, I felt crushed. While he learned how hurt I was to be left out, it wasn’t acceptable for me to be mad at my dad. So I did what most kids do and transferred my hate and anger toward Hawaii.

“I hate Hawaii. I’m never going to Hawaii.”


Not Hawaii Again!

Fast forward thirty some odd years and I’m a single mother. Each summer my son would travel 1800 miles from New Hampshire where he lived with me to Colorado to visit his dad. As one summer was approaching, my son’s father called to say that the trip may not happen that year as he didn’t have the money to cover the airfare. Knowing how much my son needed this time with his father, I managed to scrape up the funds to make the trip happen. A day after my son arrived in Colorado, I read on Facebook why his father didn’t have the money – he and his girlfriend had taken a trip to Hawaii.

No!!!! Not Hawaii! Couldn’t it have been Costa Rica or Belize?

There I was broke and feeling my childhood wound long forgotten now reopened. I felt there was no use in getting mad at my ex and I certainly didn’t want my feelings to get in the way of my son’s relationship with him. My 40 something self revised my Hawaii script from “I hate Hawaii,” to an adult version, “Hawaii is so overrated. It’s expensive. There are so many other places I’d prefer to travel in the world like Bali, Costa Rica, the Amalfi Coast… I don’t plan on ever going to Hawaii.” So once again, I transferred the anger, hurt, and disappointment onto the idea of Hawaii.

In the years that followed, I focused on getting healthy in body, mind, spirit, and finances. One author who really helped me was Dr. Wayne Dyer. His books, The Power of Intention and Excuses Begone helped me to shift my thinking from victim to hero; from excuse making to taking responsibility. I went from waiting for someone to “rescue me” to rescuing myself. When it came to vacations, I went from feeling jealous of others who vacationed to planning my own adventures.

As I learned more about Wayne Dyer, I discovered that he lived in Maui and would begin each day swimming in the ocean. I found myself revising my Hawaii script. “Well maybe Hawaii isn’t so bad after all? There are some really cool people who live in Hawaii.” I decided that IF I were to travel to Hawaii, it wouldn’t be a tourist trip but more of a spiritual trip and I imagined having great conversations with Wayne amid the tropical breezes and colorful exotic flowers.

It was about seven years later when Regina, my sister-in-law invited me to come to Hawaii with her for a spiritual retreat. The timing, at the heels of making this BIG life decision of quitting my “secure” day job, seemed perfect.

At the same time, it seemed crazy to quit a job and then take this trip. To my good fortune, the vacation time that I accrued was cashed out and covered the retreat expenses, almost to the penny. Imagine that!

The travel from New Hampshire to Hawaii was long and weary. When we finally landed it was 8:00 p.m. local time and 1:00 a.m. my time. We still had another hour of travel via shuttle to the resort. It was so incredibly dark that it appeared as though the van was driving into a black hole. A woman sitting behind us was so energized and chatty. She eagerly told us how she had been to Maui with her family back in 1979 when she was eleven and this would be her second trip. “Wait, 1979?” I quickly did the math in my head and realized that would have been around the same time as the trip I missed out on when I was a kid. I sat quietly in disbelief that this story that lined up with mine showed up within hours of arriving to Maui.

Waking up in Paradise


When I woke up and stepped out onto the balcony, I was taken by the beauty.


Although it rained and was cooler than expected, I saw so many rainbows. This was the view from breakfast one morning.


The days were filled with morning yoga or qigong, daily dharma lectures, and kirtan (chanting and music) in the evenings. The retreat centered around Ram Dass and included his friends Krishna Das, Jack Kornfield, Trudy Goldman and Mirabai Bush.


My favorite talks were by Jack Kornfield whose gentle spirit told stories with humor and grace and led us in meditation practices centered on loving kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Making Mandalas in Maui



My Blossoming Spiritual Journey

I packed a journal and some assorted art supplies to create some mandalas during the trip. The first mandala pictured here was drawn while on the plane and filled with lots of detail reflecting on the many little and big things that needed my attention before unplugging for two weeks.

After couple of days in Hawaii, I was acclimated to my surroundings and new daily routine and was ready to make time to fill in the mandala with color. I started with the center petals with a dark brown that I typically love. The color brown reminds me of chocolate, coffee, or rich organic soil. Brown goes with so many colors – vibrant, pastel, earthy or jewel toned. After I applied it here, my heart sank. “oh that is way too dark. I don’t want a dark and dreary mandala. I want it to be vibrant and juicy.”

Has that ever happened to you? You pick a color and after using it, you don’t like how it looks? Does it stop you from continuing?

Reluctantly, I continued coloring moving to the next row of petals and alternating between brown and green. I jumped around now focusing on creating a glow of oranges and pinks accented by a light green. I returned to the center and worked in some orange to look like the sun and light green for a bright accent.

As a finishing touch, the graphic designer in me needed to apply the dark brown throughout the outer petals to create balance. As I outlined the shapes and shaded in some areas, my thoughts turned to how we need the shadow moments to fully see and appreciate the vibrant and joyful moments. 

When I finished, a young woman with sparkly eyes and a big smile came bouncing in. “ooooh that is beautiful!” she remarked looking at my mandala. “Would you mind if I join you?” Oh how I appreciated her fresh eyes on my mandala art along with her enthusiasm. It was just what I needed in that moment.

It took a day before I could see the beauty in this mandala. Sometimes, working so closely and noticing all of the “mistakes” it is hard to appreciate how each stroke comes together to create a unique and beautiful mandala. A mandala is much more than any one stroke.

Now when I look at this mandala, I see reflected back how my life is filled with lots of details both dark bits and blossoming parts. My spiritual practices may not be perfect or feel fruitful, but by showing up again and again, I can see that I’m much more than any one moment.


Planting Seeds in Maui with Ram Das

The second mandala is the Seed of Life, a favorite pattern found in sacred geometry where we draw seven circles of the same size. I call this mandala, “Planting Seeds in Maui with Ram Dass.” During a presentation on the practice of chanting by Krishna Dass, he spoke of “planting seeds.” His practice of speaking the names of the gods in the chants is a way of spiritually planting seeds. As I filled in row after row of little seedlings, I imagined each section a garden patch belonging to different participants at the retreat. Many circles of friends old and new gathered for a week of planting seeds of inner peace, joy, and love.

As you look around from section to section in this mandala, you’ll see how perfectly imperfect it is. I didn’t get hung up on making each row exactly the same. I thought of a recent visit at my friend Carol’s house in Pennsylvania. Sitting on her porch I noticed a pumpkin plant that took over and wrapped around the entire side of her charming little home. “All of this is from one seed,” Carol remarked as I took in it’s bounty. When we plant seeds, we can’t predict how the plant will grow. Herein, I imagined my wonky rows of repeating plant like patterns to be like our spiritual journeys – we can’t predict how we’ll grow and blossom – it’s perfectly imperfect.


Flower of Love & Compassion

This mandala is so very special as it was created during the mala ceremony. Each person had the opportunity to receive a mala, a string of beads used in meditation, and have a 1:1 moment with Ram Dass. 350 people queued up for their turn while Krishna Dass and other musicians filled the room with rhythmic beats and chants that resonated deeply within my body.

Typically, I don’t have patience to stand in a line, but I was in good spirits for this occasion. I sang along and took in the smiles of others happy to be gathering together for this special occasion. About a third of the way, I looked around and it reminded me of the last 13 years working for the Catholic Church and the many Masses that I attended where my colleagues lined up to receive the Eucharist. Although I’m not Catholic and the Eucharist doesn’t hold any meaning for me, sitting there not invited to participate felt hurtful at a deep level. Here I was bringing my gifts and talents to serve an organization that was unwelcoming and judgmental.

During the mala ceremony, I stood overwhelmed with emotions as I looked around at the other participants. There were people from so many walks of life – women, men, old, young, religious, spiritual. I appreciated so very much that I didn’t need to believe in any Hindu gods or be a card carrying member of any religion to share in this beautiful ceremony of love and connection. Tears poured down my face as I wept and my heart filled up with gratitude.

I realized in that moment, that this was the beginning of a new healing journey. I had 13 years working in a toxic environment that I need to cleanse from in my body, mind, and soul. My tears were the first step in cleansing.


I managed to dry my eyes before I had my special moment with Ram Dass. I was deeply touched by his presence and left feeling affirmed that I was exactly where I was meant to be in that moment.

As I look at my mandala flower of love and compassion, I see a bright and joyful center flanked by lots of petals representing my growth – how far I’ve already come in this lifetime and the growth yet to come.

It wasn’t until I was retiring for the night when I realized that I was wearing the same colors that I used in the mandala. Does that happen to you? Do you find yourself using, wearing, and surrounding yourself with the same colors? My color palette these days of orange, hot pink, light green, and deep blue reflect how joyful I feel inside.


On the last morning we gathered at the beach for a closing ceremony led by a South African Shaman. At one point he tossed long stemmed roses into the crowd. The first one bounced off the top of my head and landed into my hands. Oh how I chuckled by this unexpected surprise. I have a gift for having flying objects land on my head. It’s why I was the last one picked in gym class – any time a ball was thrown in the air, I would cower to protect my head. The rose bopping my head was a delightful surprise and felt like a cosmic nod for not cowering!

The final highlight of the retreat was a group swim. After the emotional and physically exhausting week, I needed to plunge and soak in Mother Maui’s waters. I had never experienced a group swim where we all rose and sank with each big wave. I lingered longer than most and took my time to float. The water covered my ears muffling the sounds of the distant chanting and accentuating my rhythmic breath. I allowed my body to completely relax. I surrendered all thoughts, feelings, and expectations. As the water gently moved my limp body in and out with each wave, I felt like Mother Maui was giving me watsu therapy. This swim was another step in cleansing my body, mind, and soul.


What’s Next? Serving Love

My final mandala drawing is a tracing of my hand wearing the mala that I received during the ceremony and my renewed intention to keep pouring my heart into all that I do.

I return from this retreat feeling prepared for what’s next. I feel more grounded and confident that this path that I’m on is exactly where I’m meant to be. I see how the meditation and chanting practices that I learned in the retreat complement my mandala practice. Each practice is a vehicle for pausing, quieting the mind, and cultivating loving kindness.

I look forward to sharing this awesome journey with my mandala family in the Sharing Circle, online courses, and upcoming new years program at Kripalu.


Kathryn Costa

PS – Wow! This is a long blog post. If you made it down this far, I’m so impressed. I’d love to hear from you. Did any bits of my story resonate with you? Do you have a “Hawaii Wound?” I’d love to hear about your practices (mandala or otherwise) in the comments below. Thanks for being here!

PSS – I completely forgot about my “Hawaii Wound” once I woke up in paradise. I’m so happy to say that I had my own Hawaii experience and it far exceeded anything I had dreamed up. Many thanks to Regina for inviting me, to Mike the retreat organizer for saying, “yes! I have a spot for you,” and to my wonderful husband Fernando who didn’t hesitate when I told him about this opportunity.





Solstice Mandala Calendar

21 artists from around the world submitted mandalas for this Community Mandala project. It is a count down calendar to the Solstice. Each day starting on December 1st and finishing on December 21st a different mandala is featured.


When I was a child I loved my Advent Calendars that counted down to Christmas. Each day I would eagerly await to see what the next picture would be. There were some years when my brother and I would get those cardboard calendars with the little chocolates behind each window. My brother would invariably gobble up all of his chocolates by day three while I was patient and would enjoy the little treat each day. Inspired by this fun memory, I designed a countdown calendar only in this case we are counting down 21 days to the Solstice.

This mandala project is about creating something beautiful as a community that will light up and inspire all who see it. As we create mandalas during this Solstice season, may we recognize the light within ourselves and the light in each other.


As you can see some assembly is required. I’ve designed the numbers and mandala tags for you to print. All you’ll need is some paper, scissors, a glue stick and ribbon. I used three different scrapbook papers for the tags, white paper for the numbers and the title graphic and two pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper for the background.


Here is a peak at day 8, Patricia Mosca’s mandala. Isn’t it beautiful?


I went with a silver and white theme. You can choose ANY color you like for your calendar. I designed the mandala for the title so you can color it in to match the colors you use in your calendar.

This Solstice Mandala Calendar is a FREE gift from me to you. Feel free to print and make this calendar for your friends and family. Pass the link on to others. Share photos about it and help us to spread the word about the calendar and 



Download the Solstice Mandala Calendar.



Free Mandala Coloring Book

Free Mandala Coloring Book

The 100 Mandalas Challenge Coloring Book is available for download.

Have you noticed that adult coloring books are really popular these days? And it’s for a good reason too! Coloring is known to help reduce stress, ease anxiety, boost creativity, not to mention it’s fun! Why is it so powerful? It is a simple way to change our focus from our worries and responsibilities onto something that is beautiful.

Free Mandala Coloring Book

Every time I color a mandala, whether I create one myself or color another person’s design, I love seeing how the mandala comes to life before my eyes. It is so satisfying.

Mandala Coloring Book

50 Mandalas designed by artists from ten countries

The coloring book includes 50 mandalas from our 100 Mandalas Challenge community, like the mandala above by Jeanette Clawson from Wisconsin.

Mandala Coloring Book

Each one is unique like this one from Irina Artamonova from Russia.

Mandala Coloring Book

This mandala coloring page was designed by Mónica Bedolla Cárdenas from Mexico.

The 100 Mandalas Challenge Coloring Book has 50 mandalas for you to print and color. Download Now.


Gratitude Mandalas

One of my favorite practices is to combine my love for words and journal writing with mandalas. Each year during the holidays, I pull out a Flower of Life mandala and fill the shapes with words of appreciation. This year I designed a new mandala that starts with the Flower of Life in the center and surrounded it with border of interlocking semi-circles.


In the center petals, I wrote down the names of the many people who I’m connected to including family, friends, colleagues, and members of my mandala community. You may include names of your mentors, teachers, authors, and artists who inspire you.

Along the outer edge, record words to describe the qualities that you admire and appreciate.

As you fill in the mandala, consider the many ways that you are connected.


Fill some of the shapes with doodles and little drawings. Here I tucked in hearts under each virtue.

A leaf-like pattern was repeated throughout to add detail.


Pull out your favorite coloring supplies and think about each person as you fill in the shapes with color.

May your heart be filled with joy as you color this gratitude mandala.

Download the Gratitude Mandala Activity

Brightest Blessings,

Kathryn Costa

PS – Print a copy and bring it to your Thanksgiving celebration. Invite guests to add their words of appreciation. Together you can create a group gratitude mandala.

Spreading My Wings

“You’re fired.”

These were the words that were in my head as I was writing my letter of resignation.

It’s a dream that so many have and here I was doing it – firing my employer!

Nine years ago, I started blogging about my creative life. Collage, art journaling, mixed media, photography, Ikebana (Japanese flowering arranging) were some of the mediums that appeared over the years.

More than the creative projects, it was connecting with people from all over the world that changed my life. Readers loved my art but loved even more my words and reflections on life. I found that when I was most vulnerable, others resonated and found comfort in my words. To my amazement, deep, meaningful connections were happening.

I was a 40 year old single mother when I started blogging while working at a day job that barely paid the bills. It’s what I needed at the time. Being a single mom was scary and exhausting and this day job was easy. I needed easy.

Those first blog posts were awkward as I didn’t know what to write. I kept showing up and after thousands of posts, I discovered my voice and writing style.

“What if?”

This was and remains my favorite question. “What if I could make a living out of creating and connecting? I’m having so much fun with this blogging experience.”

“What’s next?”

This is my second favorite question. Over the years, I followed my curiosity which eventually led to where I am today – I’m an author, artist, educator, and community developer.


{{Pinch Me}}

Today, I’m living my dream of working full-time at my dream job, doing what I love – creating and connecting.

“What happened? How did you make this decision?” asked Leslie Sturgeon who runs Women Inspiring Women, an organization in New Hampshire that lives up to its name. Leslie had seen me a couple of weeks earlier at one of her conference days. It had been a couple of years since we had seen each other. When she asked me how I was doing, I felt a huge weight on my shoulders. “I really need to change my day job,” I told her. She beamed a huge, lovely smile and said, “I think it’s time you just quit the day job and work for yourself.” My first impulse was to make an excuse. I smiled still feeling heavy – heavy hearted and heavy in my body. It seemed so easy for Leslie to say “quit your day job” and it felt so hard for me to just do it.

So how did I go from feeling so heavy to making the leap?


Here’s what pushed me forward:

I was tired of my boring 13 year old story.

I hated the sound of this broken record skipping over the words, “I need to drop the day job.” It was a story that I had been telling for way too long. And turning 50 next July was motivating me – I couldn’t fathom hitting that milestone and being stuck in the same place.

I was ready for a new and inspired story.

I was afraid that my body would quit for me.

The last three years have been intense as I worked full on non-stop on my first book project, building an online community, running epic social media events, designing online courses all while punching in to the full time day job. There was little time for self care. The weight has been piling on and the anxiety building up. I felt like a time bomb.

I wanted to deactivate this bomb and what I need to do it is time.


The day job no longer felt like a comfort zone.

For years the day job felt comfortable. I had a 10 minute commute. I learned the culture, lingo, and cycles of events. It was easy to design for the various departments. I was on cruise control which helped me to have the energy to pursue my side projects. Now while I never belonged, I managed to fit in until recently when the landscape shifted and new management came in with a very conservative mission and values that clashed with mine.

It was time to rethink the comfort zone.


My perception shifted and I finally BELIEVED in myself and my dream.

This was perhaps the most important turning point for me. Each year I select a word-for-the-year that will inspire me to stay focused on my life’s purpose. This year I knew I needed to truly BELIEVE in myself, not just say it, but feel it if I were to realize my dream of working for myself. Throughout the year I kept my word BELIEVE in the forefront of my mind and noticed it everywhere. More than noticing it, I took a hard look at my limiting beliefs and I finally recognized the amazing gifts and talents that I have. It became so clear like a light switch was flipped on to illuminate a very dark room. I could see that I was not a right fit anymore for my day job. They were too small for my BIG talent and my even BIGGER ideas. Add to that I didn’t want to bring my gifts to their service any more, I wanted to work on a bigger mission and serve many more people.

Here are some of the signs that led me here…


My 2017 Dream Wheel

Each year I create a vision board only mine is in a circle and I call it a dream wheel.


At the center of my board is a house made of various currencies. This clearly states my central goal to make money from all over the world from home.

In order pursue this goal to work for myself, I needed to commit to it full time. The Statue of Liberty was the sign declaring my independence.

My dream wheel is a visual that helps me to remember my intentions and work with them throughout the year.


My 2017 Vision Journal

I kept a journal made of a recycled catalogue where I gathered inspiration, thoughts, and notes about my dreams and goals as well as quotes relating to my word-for-the-year. This journal helped me to focus and define my action steps and it was a place of inspiration.


My 2017 Word-for-the-Year

I’ve mentioned several times how my word was a key element in my decision. This was the year to finally BELIEVE.


Two of Wands

Over the summer Mindy Tsonas invited me to design a Tarot card for one of her online classes. The two of wands speaks to a decision that I had to make. Was I going to hold onto the wand that was firmly planted where I’ve been all of these years or was I going to reach for and walk in the direction of where the second wand was pointing? The second wand points at an expansive horizon where a new life awaits. There is a range of rugged mountains to climb that may be hard yet lead to new vistas and adventures.

After making the card and reflecting on it, I felt excited to reach for the second wand. Staying with the first wand would keep me stuck and limit my potential.


Casting Gemstones

My friend Carol Caring recently invited me to toss several gemstones and tell her what I saw in how they were arranged. I first noticed the black stone which represents to me a barrier that is blocking the red stone, my passion, from moving forward. I instantly thought the black stone represented my day job. What struck me was that the black stone was the smallest of the set and yet my experience felt as though it was bigger and heavier. This perspective lifted some of the weight that I was feeling. “Perhaps, I’m giving this day job too much importance,” I thought.

Now doesn’t the yellow stone look like a face? It almost looks like it’s watching to see if I’ll jump past the block to follow my own unique path.

This was a fun activity and one that Carol says you can do with any collection of objects. The stones themselves don’t tell the story, it’s you who tells the story of what is seen by tuning in and listening to your intuition. Cool stuff.

What is even cooler is that I can now post on topics like my Tarot art and casting stones without fear of losing my day job. That’s right, I’ve been censoring all of these years. Watch out folks, I’m coming out of the closet and sharing how alternative I truly am.


It feels so good to finally be here.

What’s Next?

In the short term, I am pouring my heart into two new online courses that open up later this month: Mandala Drawing I and Color I.

I have workshops lined up at The Painted Dog Studio in Brunswick, Maine.


I’ll be at Kripalu for New Years Weekend presenting a mandala program.


I’m the first listing on page five in Kripalu’s winter catalogue.


I’m getting the new {{free}} 100 Mandalas Sharing Circle all set up for January 1st. Pssst…if you haven’t joined already, you are invited!


I’m reshooting some of the videos for the Inspired Vision Retreat and incorporating what I’ve learned in these last few years. One new concept will be great for those of you who come to the online course with a word already selected. I’ll have activities to help you consider the many facets of the word and I’ll also show you inside my vision journal so you can start one for yourself.

Another common mistake I see people make is that they pick a word in response to the moment often revolving around self care and not a word that holds a bigger vision. These days I’m reading Evan Carmichael’s book, “Your One Word” which focuses on your one constant word. My constant companion word is CONNECT and I’ll share more on that in my Inspired Vision Retreat. The word “connect” speaks to my core value and that which excites me and drives my decisions. I found Evan as we both share a connection with the word BELIEVE. Be sure to check out Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel for heaps of inspiration.

I hope you’ll want to play with words and create dream wheels with me in 2018!


I will be heading to Hawaii in a couple of weeks for the 10th Anniversary “Open Your Heart in Paradise” Retreat – Ram Dass

It’s one of those miracles that happened since I gave my notice. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. If you look at my dream wheel above, this trip is right there! If you told me when I designed this board that I was going to Hawaii for a retreat with Ram Dass, I would not have BELIEVED it.


More miracles are on the horizon like an invitation I received from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY where I’ll be teaching next summer. Watch my newsletter and this blog for more details.

And the last nugget that I’ll share is a new website that I plan to launch in April on the occasion of my 10th Blog Anniversary. I’ll be bringing back my True North Arts domain/brand and will be opening up a wider range of projects that will include mandalas and so much more. Think vision journaling, mixed media, collage, SoulCollage, photography…

Wow!!! So as you can see no grass is growing up and around me!

If you made it down this far. I’m impressed. Thanks for sticking with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, a-ha moments. Was there something here you want to learn more about? I’d love to know if you are inspired to follow your dreams. What take-aways are you pulling from this blog post. Mention them in the comments below – not only would I love to hear what is inspiring you, but it will inspire other readers too.

As always thank you for connecting with me here on this blog. The journey is always best when shared with others.

{soul hugs}

~ Kathryn


Color I Course

Do you ever feel stuck and don’t know which colors to choose? Maybe you’ve collected a lot of art supplies and they are collecting dust. Let’s pull out our coloring stash to play and experiment.handouts-colorworkshop

The Color I Course Features

  • 12 Video Lessons on Coloring Techniques and Brand Demos
    • The difference between alcohol versus water based markers; best mediums to use if you want to sell your mandala art
    • Demo: Copic Markers
    • Demo: Spectrum Noir
    • Demo: Sharpies
    • Demo: Winsor & Newton ProMarker and BrushMarker
    • Demo: Faber-Castell PITT Brush Markers
    • Demo: TomBow Brush Markers
    • Demo: Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers
    • Demo: Colored Pencils
    • Demo: Watercolor Pencils and Inktense Pencils
    • Demo: Posca Paint Pens
    • Demo: Mix Media
  • 5 Lessons on Color Harmony
    • Color Inspiration is Everywhere!
    • Color Wheel
    • Color Temperature + Relativity
    • Value + Intensity
    • Five Color Schemes
  • Supplemental Resources and Handouts.

This course is for you if…

  • If you love to color.
  • You don’t know which mediums you want to invest in.
  • You are a beginner and want to learn coloring techniques.
  • You didn’t learn the color wheel and color theory in school or don’t remember it.
  • You keep reaching for the same colors and you’re feeling bored. You want to get some new ideas for color combinations.


  • Opens December 1, 2017
  • Self-paced course
  • Unlimited, lifetime access
  • The Sharing Circle is where participants post their mandala art for this course.

Enroll Today!


What students have to say

After the first demo: 

“Loved this so much! Learning how to blend made it feel like my art supplies just doubled!!” ~ Chel

“So much information in a short space of time!” ~ Sally

“I have ignored Copic so far, mostly because I found the cap color and ink color so different. You have peaked my interest in them now!” ~ Mary-Anne

“I was hoping to find new colouring options and I have on Day 1 with new skills too.” ~ Sallie

Other comments:

“I’m opening up to new and unusual colors shades/tones that I haven’t used before. It is such a eye opener. ” ~ Kayla

“Have to say, I LOVED “painting” with markers to create a color wheel!” ~ Chrysty

“Love all the ideas. Never had thought to use a gel pen with a brush as you did. That technique creates an interesting effect.” ~ Nance

“This video (demonstrating paint pens) really helped me with my perfectionism issues. Kathryn, the fact that you didn’t like something, didn’t make you nuts and you just changed it as you went….man was that freeing for me!” ~ Peg

Enroll Today!

promo-ColorWorkshop-Chippy1200Are you like the chipmunk collecting lots of art supplies and saving them for a rainy day?

The rainy day has arrived…

I have a confession. I’ve been guilty of collecting art supplies, lots of them, and not using them. Beautiful tins of colored pencils, collections of watercolor markers, gel pens, Copics, TomBows, Winsor Newton, and Posca paint pens fill my home studio.

Do you have lots of art supplies that are going unused too? It’s time to dust them off and start playing.

Join me for a color workshop that I’m hosting in the Sharing Circle. Get inspired, learn new techniques, try out some different color combinations, and connect with mandala enthusiasts from all over the world.

Let’s play with color this season!

~ Kathryn Costa,
Host of Mandalafest, the 100 Mandalas Challenge, and the Sharing Circle, and author of “The Mandala Guidebook: How to Draw, Paint, and Color Expressive Mandala Art.”

Enroll Today!

Mandala Drawing I Course

The Mandala Drawing I Course Features

  • 10 Video Lessons
  • Learn how to draw geometric mandala patterns including:
    • Trinity Knot
    • Hexagons
    • Pentagons
    • Bagua
    • Seed of Life
    • and more!

This course is for you if…

  • You are a beginner and want to learn how to draw a variety of mandala designs.
  • You find it easier to learn from watching a video rather than reading a book.
  • You’ve been creating mandalas for a while and need some inspiration.
  • You love the Zentangle Method and want to create some new “containers” to play with tangles and repeating patterns.
  • You have my book, “The Mandala Guidebook” and you haven’t started yet.


  • Available Now.
  • Self-paced course
  • Unlimited, lifetime access
  • The Sharing Circle is where participants post their mandala art for this course.

Enroll Today!

Student Artwork

Participants of Mandalafest 2017 previewed a sample lesson and learned out to create a hexagon. For a closer look at these mandalas, click on the image.

Life as a Mandala: Discovering that you’ve come full circle

Do you see signs and patterns in your life?

I do.

Last week I discovered that I’ve come full circle.

Over Columbus Day weekend, I traveled over 400 miles down to Pennsylvania to facilitate a mandala workshop. It was just a few days before heading down that I realized that three years ago on the very same weekend, I was in Pennsylvania. My husband and I were driving when I thought up the idea for the 100 Mandalas Challenge and a how-to book for drawing mandalas.

When I think of the anniversary of this occasion, I’ve always focused on when I launched the 100 Mandalas Challenge, not when I thought it up. I mark the occasion with an online celebration called Mandalafest.

It hadn’t dawned on me the significance of the previous weekend until now. Keep in mind that in my adult life, I’ve only been to Pennsylvania three times and this was the third visit. So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed a pattern that I was heading back to Pennsylvania to the “scene of the crime.”

I didn’t plan this incredible weekend, it planned itself.

What makes this occasion even more incredible was that it was originally scheduled for a different weekend and my original purpose for going to Pennsylvania was to take my 81-year old stepmother to visit her family and friends. Scheduling conflicts changed the date and my stepmother backed out of the trip. Even with all of these changes that felt a wee bit chaotic, I was steadfast in my decision to head down for the mandala workshop. There were people who signed up and I wasn’t about to let anyone down.

I’m so glad I continued on this path…

Recognizing this pattern gave me the nod and affirmation that I needed to go as planned. This wasn’t any ordinary mandala workshop, it was a milestone.


It was a milestone that called for a mandala cake.

I contacted my friend who was hosting the workshop and told her the story. I asked her to order a cake and e-mailed her the artwork and instructions for the baker.


The 100 Mandalas Compass Rose was the perfect image.

Even now as I type this I’m in awe as I see all of the pieces falling into place. Back in January, I invite participants of the online January Mandala Retreat to contribute a piece to the annual 100 Mandalas Community Mandala. Each person is e-mailed a piece and asked to use a specific color. They embellish it and write in their word-for-the-year.

Each year the design is different and participants have no idea what it will look like. All they see is their shape. After coloring and embellishing the piece, they scan it and send it back to me.

The Meaning of the Compass Rose

The compass rose has appeared on charts and maps since the 1300’s when the portolan charts first made their appearance. The term “rose” comes from the figure’s compass points resembling the petals of the well-known flower.

Originally, this device was used to indicate the directions of the winds, but the 32 points of the compass rose come from the directions of the eight major winds, the eight half-winds and the sixteen quarter-winds. 

source: The Compass Company

The 100 Mandalas Compass Rose is a navigational tool to help you find your “true north.” Your “true north” is your unique path in life. Humor, acceptance, steadiness, peace, hope, focus, believe are some of the many inspirational words in the 100 Mandalas Compass Rose intended to help the seeker to find their way and know which direction to travel.


New Traditions Are Born

Each year the Community Mandala Project designed in January will be the artwork used for the annual Mandalafest celebration. Pictured above you’ll see the gorgeous mandala printed on two notebooks that are prizes for this year’s event.


Moving forward, I will also host a womens’ retreat on Columbus Day weekend where we’ll create mandalas.


It will be a great opportunity to create art, make friends, and in the quiet moments notice the patterns in our lives.

I have an idea for a location for the next anniversary mandala retreat that will be on Columbus Day Weekend (October 5, 6, and 7, 2018). I will scout it out and announce the date and location in November in my e-mail newsletter. Watch for it!


Turning Towards the Journey

I’m noticing even more pieces to this puzzle story. During Mandalafest, the featured lesson from the Great Round course is about “Turning Towards the Journey.” It’s a great theme for anyone who feels like they are about to embark on something new. It may be a new project, career, relationship, or stage in life.

For me the long drive home from Pennsylvania gave me time to ponder what’s next. I came back feeling renewed and excited. I have a BIG announcement as I “turn towards the journey.” The announcement is one that my mandala family has been asking me about over the last three years. I can’t spill it just yet. I hope you’ll be able to join me for the Mandalafest Finale on October 22, 2017. I have lots of prizes to giveaway and this is when I’ll make the announcement.

I’ve missed blogging.

One final piece to my full circle story is that I will resume sharing my stories and reflections in blog posts. Before I started the 100 Mandalas Challenge, I was a creative and active blogger for six years. These last three years have pulled me in the direction of supporting the 100 Mandalas Community that included the weekly newsletter, online courses and the Sharing Circle. I poured hours into writing and marketing my book, “The Mandala Guidebook.” I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed getting up early for my “morning retreats” to write about life.

Now feels like the right time to come home to blogging.

This is the first blog post. I’m not sure how frequently I’ll post but at a minimum it will be monthly. My blog posts will be about my creative and artful life and my philosophical take on it all.

I want to hear from you.

In the comments below, let me know if you found a nugget of inspiration in this post. Do you have a question you’d like to ask? Ask away! I may use it as the topic for my next blog post.

As always, it is a pleasure to connect with you in this digital space.

It feels good to come home.

{soul hugs}


PS – Mandalafest begins this weekend and runs all week. And, don’t worry if you can’t participate every day or in every contest. Show up when you can. Who knows, you may discover a piece to your “coming full circle story.”

PSS – If you want a closer look at all of the pieces in the 100 Mandalas Compass Rose, you can see them here.

At Kripalu: Creating Mandalas for an Inspired Year

Imagine beginning the new year with a weekend focused entirely on you, creating mandala art, reflecting on where you’re at in life, connecting with your body through gentle movement and nourishing food – and all of this set in a gorgeous natural setting.


Join Kathryn Costa on New Year’s Eve weekend at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the breathtaking Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to mean “circle” or “center.” Creating mandala art is a powerful practice that fosters self expression, balance, and well-being.

Creating Mandalas for an Inspired Year

In this program, you’ll:

  • Learn techniques for constructing a variety of mandala styles based on sacred geometry, labyrinths, and nature.
  • Honor 2017 reflecting on the joys, challenges, and a-ha moments from the year.
  • Explore what you want to say “yes” to and set intentions for 2018.
  • Nourish your body, mind, and spirit.
  • Create beautiful mandala art that is as unique as you.
  • Start your year feeling centered and connected to yourself and your purpose.
  • Return home with completed artwork and practical tips for continuing your mandala practice long after this retreat.

December 29, 2017–January 1, 2018
Friday–Monday: 3 nights

For everyone, no art experience required.
Art supplies included.
View schedule.

Learn More and Register

Inspired Vision Retreat

What is calling you?
What do you desire for this next year?

It’s January 1st, and you’re full of ideas about things you want to do differently this year. You may make an ambitious list of goals and New Year’s resolutions. But in the back of your mind, you also know that
you’ll forget all about them by next week, or next month.

You’re not alone.

Let’s toss out the New Year’s resolutions and set an intention for 2018.

A single word is powerful.

They can set us back, slow us down, and even stop us dead in our tracks.
Or, they can inspire us to forge ahead, make healthy choices, and
focus on the positive.


As you consider the year ahead, what needs your attention right now?

What word will you select to inspire and guide you?

Let’s discover this together.


The Inspired Vision Retreat:
a nourishing and playful approach to finding clarity

Course Begins: Sunday, January 7, 2018
Course Ends: Sunday, January 20, 2018
NEW DATE! Webinar: Saturday, January 27, 2018

“A retreat is a time to step back and take a new look at our lives. It is not so much a time to learn new things as to remember and feel again some of the things we have forgotten. It is a time to be lovingly attentive to the needs of the soul.”

~ Macrina Wiederkehr, “The Song of the Seed”

In this unique two-week online class you’ll:

  • Discover your word-for-the-year that resonates with your deepest desire for 2018.
  • Transform any ordinary moment into a nourishing “retreat moment.”
  • Find clarity and focus. You can use these activities again and again any time you’re feeling blocked on a project or seeking direction in life.
  • Meet Inspired Seekers from all over the world who are taking this course.
  • Begin 2018 feeling focused and inspired.



Week 1:
5 Lessons to Discover Your Word & Vision for 2018

Each lesson begins with a video introduction and includes
gorgeous worksheets and fun downloads.

You’ll relax and color in the mandala art found in the worksheets. The mandalas (lovely circular designs) are perfect containers for writing in the words that you’ll collect. Now, if you love to draw your own mandalas, you’re encouraged to pull out your drawing supplies and create your own designs to complete the activities. Please know that this isn’t a how-to-draw-mandalas course, it’s more of a how-to-use-mandalas course.

While there are many “find your word-for-the-year” resources on the web, these are often published by writers and appeal to thinker/wordy types. This course, designed by an artist + writer, offers you a selection of playful activities that incorporate inspiring words, thoughtful prompts, and gorgeous visuals.

Lesson 1: Retreat Moments
Learn how to create your own personal retreats

Lesson 2: Word Audition
It’s hard to pick just one word and you don’t have to, just yet. This fun activity gets you collecting words and considering what you truly desire. Let the audition begin!

Lesson 3: Scavenger Hunt
Do you notice signs and patterns in your life? This activity opens you up to see and read the signs.

Lesson 4: A Thinker’s Approach
There is nothing like a good question to carry with you for the day. This activity offers a variety of prompts to reflect on as you consider what’s next.

Lesson 5: Dream Wheel Collages
Think vision board only in a circle. The circular shape transforms the vision board collage into a work of art with a sense of balance and centeredness. Kathryn shares her process for creating beautiful collages. Watch her work in the video and you’ll learn the elements of design and how they can be used to not only create a vision board but a work of art you’ll love to hang in your home or office.

Week 2:
Time to Uncover Your Word

You get all of the lessons and activities in Week 1. Week 2 is reserved for you to complete the activities that interest you most. You may choose to do all of the activities or do one or two.

We’ll check in a couple of times and wrap up with some tips on
how to stay inspired by your word throughout the year.

Finale Webinar

Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 3:00 p.m., EST

During the interactive webinar, participants will show their favorite project and declare their word-for-the-year. It is a great celebration and way to kick-off 2018. If you can’t make it to the live event, it will be recorded.


Be a Part of the 2018 Community Mandala Project

Inspired Vision Retreat participants get an exclusive invitation to participant in the annual 100 Mandalas Community Mandala.  Each participant is given a piece of a mandala to color, doodle, and record their word-for-the-year. Participants scan and return their piece that is worked into the final design. The final mandala is a powerful symbol of love and inspiration. Participants feel like they are part of a global community when they see their piece alongside the pieces from other mandala enthusiasts around the world. Pictured above are the group mandalas from previous years.


You are an Inspired Seeker if…

  • You don’t like New Year’s resolutions and you want to find a playful alternative to starting your year inspired.
  • You love words and find inspiration in them.
  • You want a plan for creating nourishing personal retreats that you can take when life gets stressful.
  • Participating in a two-week course fits in your busy schedule.

What You’ll Need

  1. Computer or mobile device with internet access.
  2. Computer or mobile device with a video camera and mic. Most computers and mobile devices have these features. (Required to participate in the interactive webinar.)
  3. Printer to print the worksheets and fun downloads.
  4. Notebook or journal and pen.
  5. Magazines, large poster board or piece of cardboard or paper (18″ or greater), scissors, glue stick.
  6. Your favorite coloring supplies: colored pencils, markers, gel pens…
  7. An open mind and curiosity.

Other Details

  • Unlimited access to the course materials for the year. Don’t worry if you haven’t completed the activities within the timeframe of the course. You’ll have access to all of the videos, worksheets, and downloads after the course is over.
  • The online classroom is easy to navigate and check off the lessons as you complete them.
  • Participants can post photos of their projects and comments similar the way we post photos and comments on Facebook. Note this is not a Facebook group.



Word Audition Mandalas Gallery

It can be hard to pick just one word. In the Word Audition activity, participants have fun collecting words before settling on “the” word for the year. Here are some examples of how participants played with this exercise.

Here’s what participants said about this activity:

“I love this mandala. This just makes me feel amazed how powerful a Mandala can be, when you dive deep into the process.” ~ Kate Stimson

“I loved doing this activity! I have been thinking about choosing a word for 2018 for some time now. This exercise made me narrow it down to three.” ~ Janny Haack

“I couldn’t believe how much fun I had with this project. I’m so happy with the way it turned out.” ~ Emanuela Chihaia

“Very relaxing.  I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed myself and am looking forward to learning and doing more.” Tina Jastrzemski

Click on the images below for a closer look. You may just find your word for the year!



About the Course Creator

Kathryn CostaHi I’m Kathryn Costa, the host of the 100 Mandalas Challenge and the author of “The Mandala Guidebook: How to Draw, Paint, and Color Expressive Mandala Art.”

I’ve been selecting a word-for-the-year for many years. Sometimes it is just a single word and other times it is a phrase. It amazes me how my chosen word shows up and guides me.

In 2015, my word was “commitment” and the phrase, “commit, you’ll find a way to do it” appeared in a photo I saw on Facebook of some random person wearing a t-shirt with these words. My goal for 2015 was to get a book proposal written and submitted and maybe land a signed contract. By March I reached that goal and my book project has been on a fast track!

My watchword and phrase have encouraged and supported me to meet some really crazy deadlines.

In addition to writing my first book, I’ve launched a new website, and Youtube channel. And, I have my first podcast series in the works. It has taken a “commitment” to focus and see these projects through.

Every time a new BIG and SCARY opportunity showed up this year, I remembered my watchword and phrase, “commit, you’ll find a way to do it.”

Not all years have been this productive. In fact, one year, I dreaded the start of the New Year. I was in a creative slump and feeling depressed. The thought of making a New Year to-do list made me feel nauseous. I still did some, not all, of the activities that you’ll find in the course. When I look back on that word and that year…it really was prophetic. When you join the course, I’ll tell you more about that story and how my words from other years played out.

Note that every year the word was different and every year offered new lessons and it was always just what I needed.

As with all of my projects, I pour a lot of love, creativity, and experience into them. I love these activities and have personally used them over the last 7 years. I’m excited to finally offer them to you.

If you enjoy words and beautiful mandalas to color, you’ll have fun uncovering your inspired word-for-the-year.

Here’s to a new adventure in 2018!

~ Kathryn Costa