The drawing is inspired by mandalas and has been drawn landscape on a plain white piece of paper, which highlights the artist’s use of a variety of colours, lines, shapes and symbols used to create balance, pattern and rhythm within a circle. At the centre of a large black circle outline is a small black coloured in circle. Expanding out from this is a cluster of strategically drawn pink and red circles, followed by an arrangement of black lined stars, orange triangles, yellow triangles, light green squares and emerald green diamonds and then light blue diamonds. When moving clockwise around the circle, atop of the light blue diamonds, are blue five-pointed stars followed by purple inspired Hindu shapes made out of a combination of shapes and then larger purple inspired Hindu shapes. Both of these Hindu shapes design sit just outside of the large black circle outline. Preceding this are dark green Ying/Yang symbols and green five-pointed stars embraced in black brackets and drawn atop of these are blue Infinity symbols with small black lined stars either side.
The artist has used many different pencil drawing techniques to complete this art piece e.g. circles, squares, triangles and diamonds and within this piece there is a strong sense of colour where various shapes have been drawn and coloured in either black, red, pink, orange, yellow, light green, emerald green, light blue, purple, dark green or dark blue pencil. A dark and delicate line is used to encompass the whole design of this piece and dark line is also used to outline the shapes featured within it. The repetition of the different colours, various shapes and lines create radial balance within this drawing and highlights the artist’s use of pattern. Furthermore, the repetition of the different colours, various shapes and lines can lead the eye from the centre of the piece out to the edge and vice versa and can also lead the eye around the artwork in a clockwise or anticlockwise motion eliciting a sense of rhythm.
The colour used for the shapes within this piece creates a sense of youthfulness. In addition, the well thought out use of shape, line, pattern and rhythm creates a real sense of symmetry and order, thus, maturity and when combined all elements create one complete ritualistic symbol that is obviously of personal significance to the artist. The contrast of youth merging with maturity evokes feelings of growth, as in personal growth from child (youth) to adult (maturity) and the rhythm of this piece elicits feelings of continuity and timelessness. This sense of growth, continuity and timelessness combined with the symbols featured within the artwork evoke a sense of religion/spirituality and urge many questions like, where did the idea for this piece originate? Does this artwork hold any religious or spiritual meaning? What is the significance of the specific colours, lines and shapes used within this piece?
My previous experience with Mandalas and their spiritual and ritualistic significance influences my perception of this artwork. I love both the spiritual and ritualistic nature of the Hindu and Buddhist Mandalas, which attracts me to this drawing and reflects the sense of religion/spirituality as I previously noted how all the elements of design combined with the symbols used create a sense of growth, continuity and timelessness. This drawing is soft on colour, spacious and yet bold in design and the contrast of the youthful colours used and the maturity within the symmetry and order of this drawing highlight the artists intentions in that this piece reflects her feelings of “knowledge and wisdom throughout the lifespan” (Usher, 2013).
The artist has created a drawing that symbolises her own personal feelings and has intentionally drawn inspiration from Mandalas to do this. Visual metaphor is evident in this drawing where the centre of the piece features simple circles then more complex shapes expand out from here until finally at the very edge of the circle very complex symbols have been drawn, which along with the apparent contrast of youth and maturity metaphorically represent the idea of evolution throughout the life span. Abstract symbolism such as the Yin/Yang, five-pointed star and the Infinity symbol have also been used within this piece and express ones awareness of the universal understanding of these symbols and their meaning and indicate a religious/spiritual connection. Furthermore, the colour green is used for the Yin/Yang and five-pointed star which symbolises contentment, emotional balance, knowledge and faith and the colour blue is used for the Infinity symbol which symbolises coolness, tranquillity as well as faith, which further indicates that religious/spiritual undertones are featured within this drawing. In addition, the visual arrangement of this drawing, especially the effective use of pattern and rhythm, focuses attention and can put one in a light trance. Thus, this piece further illustrates that there are definitely religious/spiritual elements present here and if not through its symbolism then through it’s power to invite meditation, which is also the sole purpose of Mandalas.
Through the reflection of this visual artwork I have developed deeper understanding of the elements of art such as line, colour and shape and the principles of art such as balance, pattern and rhythm. In addition, I have developed the ability to recognise symbolism and visual metaphors within art-works. More importantly, through reflecting on a peer’s visual art-work I have developed my own opinion about a piece of art and thus contributed to my own personal aesthetics, which in turn provides me with the necessary skills required to teach art to students and aid in them in developing their personal aesthetics (Dinham, 2011). For example, I could have Year 5 students draw their own mandalas using line, colour, balance, pattern and rhythm as well as symbols that are meaningful to them and then get them to swap their artworks with other students and do their own 5Rs on the pieces they have. This will aid in students developing their personal aesthetics, as it will provide them with the opportunity to contemplate an artwork and develop their informed views and opinions about art (Dinham, 2011). Furthermore, I could then choose one piece from the class and talk about using the 5Rs with this piece and then as a whole class develop a story from this piece and then get students to perform this story in small groups. This will further aid in students developing their personal aesthetics, as it will provide them with the opportunity to “appreciate and respond to the sensory dimension of their world and engage with art on many different levels” (Dinham, 2011, p. 133).
Dinham, J. (2011). Delivering Authentic Arts Education. Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.
Usher, S. (2013). Scribbles of Suze. Retrieved from: http://scribblesofsuze.weebly.com/