Welcome to the Naturehood Mandala Blog!
Developing this series of mandala paintings is made possible through the Artists for Conservation Rob and Sharon Butler Art Explorers Project Grant. I am thrilled and grateful to be the 2022 recipient of this generous award! This grant will allow me to focus on a series of paintings that I have been thinking of for quite some time. Thank you, Rob, Sharon and AFC!
About the Project
The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to reevaluate the value of nature and the emotional balance it provides us. It was a reminder that our communities include not just human residents, but all species that reside beside us. These “naturehoods” hold astonishing biodiversity that thrives, regardless of the human condition.
Mandalas are symbols of wholeness, characterized by concentric layers of shapes and images. They are tools to focus attention and contemplation. Creating nature mandala art is healing/transformative and helps people regain their sense of self by reconnecting with the natural environment.
The goal of this project is to create a series of mandalas showcasing communities within four different ecosystems found throughout Metro Vancouver: Wetlands, Forest, River and Marine. Each mandala will include endangered species and species at risk. I will be documenting my journey, discoveries and process for the project on this blog -- starting with visits to various ecosystems throughout Metro Vancouver. It’s quite a large area!
The Metro Vancouver Regional Park system holds incredible diversity and protects diverse natural landscapes and habitats. Park staff also host several informative, educational programs and various activities throughout the year (see calendar here). These parks are part of a larger system that includes regional park reserves, ecological conservancy areas and greenways. All of these places are located on the shared territories of many Indigenous peoples, including 10 local First Nations: Katzie, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem, Matsqui, Musqueam, Qayqayt, Semiahmoo, Squamish, Tsawwassen, and Tsleil-Waututh.
Wetlands will be the first ecosystem mandala I focus on, followed closely by the Forest. Not only will I be searching for species in each environment to sketch and photograph for reference, but I will also be looking for shapes and patterns that will work well for mandala designs. After I create sketches and a “short list” of species to portray in each mandala, the design and painting process begins!