All posts filed under: Practice


Your Mandalas Tell a Story…Discover Yours

Did you know that the mandalas that you create have a story to tell? The lines, shapes, symbols, colors, and arrangements in your mandala art reflects your unconscious at a particular moment in your life. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words your feelings or what’s troubling you. The expressive arts is a way of creating a visual representation that aids you in unlocking those words. When those stories are unlocked, there’s a feeling of release and relief. There are 12 psychological stages that we all go through in life. In fact, we experience these stages over and over again. In this series called, “The Great Round,” we explore these stages by coloring, drawing, painting, collaging, and crafting mandalas. No art experience necessary. What do those psychological stages look like? Here are a few that you’ll recognize: Milestones in Life: birth, adolescence, graduation, leaving home, marriage, parenting, caring for aging parents, retirement, etc. Creativity Cycles: feeling creatively low versus highly productive and energized; unfocused versus focused periods Life’s Challenges: Loss, grieving, falling apart, health issues Embracing …


Blessings Jar

I was a single mother for many years. My son and I had a nightly routine that began with four familiar words, “It’s time for bed.” As soon as I would begin to utter this announcement, we’d race headlong to my bed. The first person to get there would exclaim, “Name three things that made you happy today.” We’d take turns recounting good things from our day but the last person to get there had to go first. Here’s what we discovered: We started looking for good things in our day. We knew we were going to report on it later in the day, so we collected good things to bring back home. We noticed patterns in our expressions of gratitude. Often they involved connecting with other people, accomplishing a goal, finishing a project, or learning something new. The blessings were not always big things, but were more often something really small like smiling and being kind to a store clerk and noticing how it would brighten their day or the smell of coffee and …


A Gratitude Mandala Exercise for Those Challenging Times

It is easy to count our blessings when everything is sunny and cheery, when the kids are behaving, and the bank account is flush. We need our gratitude practice the most during challenging times. In this exercise, think about an area in your life where you are struggling. Maybe you are having a difficult time at work or with a specific person? As you work on this mandala design, think of eight things you are grateful for about this challenging situation or person. When you are done, I guarantee you’ll feel a greater appreciation for the situation, and you’ll have had fun making this mandala. Bloom Where You Are Planted Step 1: To create this mandala, I drew two circles and divided the outer ring into eight equal segments using a protractor and ruler. (45 degree increments) Step 2: Fill each segment with doodled patterns using a black fine liner pen. Be sure to leave spaces for writing words and short phrases. Step 3: Fill the shapes using bright juicy colors. Color has a way …


DIY Gifts to Lift the Spirit

This last year I had been contributing mandala art for the Heart to Heart column in Parable Magazine. When the editor of the magazine saw my book, “The Mandala Guidebook” she approached me about contributing a project for a new column. I came up with the name “Prayerful Projects” for the column to tie in with Mae Edwards’ new focus for her Heart to Heart column about making time for one self in the form of a personal retreat. Pictured above you can see the layout and how our columns face each other. The first project in this series is a journal project designed for the non-artist who wants to create a special place to record their thoughts, ideas, inspirational quotes, and prayers. A plain notebook is transformed into a lovely space with the addition of a mandala colored, cut out and glued on the cover. My mandala practice – creating and coloring mandalas – as well as journal writing offer me a quiet time to relax, reflect, and renew. In this weary world, we need …


Gratitude Mandalas

42 gratitudes. Pictured above is the Flower of Life pattern made up of 42 petals filled with declarations of people, accomplishments, and gifts that I’m grateful for. At the center is my “inner circle” including my devoted husband, son, colleagues and dear friends. In the white petals are words that describe the qualities that I’m grateful for within this circle. The other circles in this design cover a variety of gratitudes: Family Friends 100 Mandalas Community Accomplishments Gifts and Talents that I’ve nurtured in myself Authors and Artists who I admire If you look closely at my mandala you’ll find some keywords that repeat: friendship, connection, creativity, curiosity, support, love, sharing, and caring. I see each of these words as invitations. Invitations that point to what to focus on in 2017. Last year I did this exercise and it is interesting to look back on how I filled in the design with color and gratitudes. I didn’t look at last year’s mandala before working on my gratitude mandala for this year until now as I post them here in this …

Welcome to 100 Mandalas

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: What is a mandala? Videos on how-to draw and color mandalas. About the 100 Mandalas Challenge. Get my book, “The Mandala Guidebook.” PLUS two free thank you gifts! Free Coloring Book Join Our Community Have fun exploring the many pages on this site. Each week there is something new to inspire your mandala practice. Don’t miss out! Subscribe to the weekly e-mail newsletter.

2016 Inspired Year Mandala

2016 Inspired Year Mandala

Fifty participants of the Inspired Year Mandala Retreat were invited to contribute a piece to this group mandala project. Each person was given a piece and assigned a color. They printed the piece, filled it with color and form and incorporated their word-for-the-year into their design. When I started creating these “community mandalas” it was to bring our group closer together and illustrate how there is a place for everyone. I love that you don’t have to be an “artist” or believe that you are creative to fit into this project. The mandala was designed with a sense of movement to convey how our positive intentions and inspiring words-for-the-year inspire us to take action. The round circles are seeds and the flower aspect is the opening up and our becoming in 2016. I chose soft colors that reinforce how important it is to be gentle with ourselves as we takes the steps we need to realize our dreams. Compassion, self-care, and nurturing are all woven into the color choices. This is a powerful symbol of love …


Coloring Contest | Mandalafest 2016

When I designed the logo for Mandalafest 2016, I intentionally kept the shapes large to give you some creative latitude for the coloring contest. To inspire you to think outside of the “circle,” I embellished and colored the Mandalafest 2016 coloring page. Let’s start by looking at the coloring page before I embellished it. I kept seeing angel wings in this design. Do you see them? What else do you see within this mandala? As you can see, I filled in the shapes with various repeating lines. I started with the “wings” and then worked my way around and around the circle focusing on a different shape at a time. Would you like a closer look? Ahhhh I thought so. Now I could stop here, but I love color too much. Add to that this is a coloring contest. I scanned my coloring page with all of the new details and printed up a copy. I feel more relaxed knowing that I can always print another page if I feel like I wrecked the mandala. …


Mandalafest 2016

Mandalafest 2016 is an event to celebrate the joys of creating and coloring mandalas. Participants are encouraged to share their love for mandalas by hosting a mandala party for their friends and families. Gather with mandala enthusiasts from around the world online and enter in one or more of the seven contests for a chance to win 20+ prizes! What is a mandala? Mandala is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates as “circle” or “center.” The circular designs often have shapes and colors repeating around the center. While mandalas have been around throughout the ages and in many cultures, they have reached a new popularity in coloring books. Learn More “Creating and coloring mandalas is a deeply relaxing and satisfying activity. It is exciting to see a mandala come to life as you build the design, one stroke at a time, and fill it with color. In this weary world, we need more places of peaceful refuge. The mandala is one such refuge accessible to everyone of all ages and backgrounds.” ~ Kathryn Costa, host of Mandalafest and …


Product Review: Art-n-Fly Gel Pens

I recently received a complimentary set of Art-n-Fly gel pens to review. The set of 40 gel pens comes in a plastic container that makes it easy for storage. You’ll see on the right how I store my pens upside down so the ink will flow and collect on the end where the pen tip is. This ensures that the ink will flow smoothly. There were a few pens that needed some encouragement to get the ink flowing but for the post part I was pleased with how the ink flowed in these pens. Note while this canister is convenient for storing the pens in your studio, it isn’t sturdy enough for throwing into your bag. The lid will fly off and the pens will empty out into the bottom of your bag. If you want to travel with these pens, I would put them into another pen case or bag. The set comes with a variety of colors and styles including: metallic, classic, pastel, neon, and glitter. I thought I would give the pastels a …