Home » Artwork » Energies Flow: A Self-Drawn Mandala in Oil Pastels

Energies Flow: A Self-Drawn Mandala in Oil Pastels

The past couple days have been much, much better. I really needed Friday to recuperate. Since then I’ve been calmer and more cheerful. I’ve only had a couple moments when I felt overwhelmed by my emotions, and one of them was when I let myself get too hungry. I’d call the past 2 days good days; I’ve enjoyed spending time with my fiance and my best friend and I’ve been able to remain emotionally engaged. Relaxing and playing fun games have helped as well. 🙂

Tonight I felt like drawing and my carbon pencils both need to be sharpened, so I pulled out my oil pastels instead. I created a mandala by making 5 overlapping circles with a purple pastel. This created a flower-like shape where the circles all overlap; I colored the center yellow, the small inner petals purple, and the large outer petals pink.


Next I finished coloring the inner circle clockwise from the upper right: blue, blue green, green, and blue green again – to create a kind of transition from the blue to the green and back again. Come to think of it, that’s kind of like the seasons.

The blue in what remains of the outer four circles represents the sky and freedom. After filling them in, I colored with silver above and below the circles. The red triangle at the top of the page seemed to form on its own and felt kind of ominous. I remembered the “invasion” from the Web Mandala and wondered if impulsiveness and anger were threatening the balanced and beautiful flower I had created below it.

Next I added the purple on either side of the 5 overlapping circles to represent spirituality. It’s holding them up in a way. I colored green at the bottom, providing a nice firm ground to stand on. I thought about green’s connection with growth and recovery, especially as I colored over the silver.

I wanted to color yellow between the top of the flower and the red triangle, but I was concerned about getting the yellow pastel dirty from the darker colors. After debating about it for a short while, I decided it was worth the risk to express what I wanted and needed to express; I could always try and clean the pastel later. (It cleaned quite easily.) As I colored, the yellow mixed with the red to create orange.

So I put yellow – inspiration, intellect, and imagination – as a boundary between the flower and the “invading” impulsiveness and anger (red) and created orange: energy, ambition, joy, courage, and strength. … yeah, that sounds about right.

Finally, what’s the fun in using oil pastels if you don’t smudge them? This was a lot harder than I expected: my tissue fell apart, so I tore out the next page in my sketchbook and used strips of that instead. I tried to follow the flow of energy around the 5 circles and while the colors didn’t blend much, I think I added a nice sense of movement to the image. One of my favorite parts is on the left side where green accidentally got smudged in the middle of the purple area.

There’s always a risk of messing up the image I just created with so much care, so I tend to feel a bit wary of smudging my artwork. But it seems to work out and maybe giving up a little bit of control over the final product – taking that risk – is good for me. In this case, I like the movement and the way different colors mix. No aspect of my experience is “pure.” Everything is mixed with and colored by all my memories, hopes, fears, and simultaneous experiences.


One thought on “Energies Flow: A Self-Drawn Mandala in Oil Pastels

  1. I’m getting tired of typing out “my fiance” and “my best friend” so I’ve decided to give them pseudonyms. My fiance will henceforth be called “Fox” (by request). My best friend is like a twin sister to me and so will henceforth be called “Banji.” Make it so.


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