Botanical Mandalas - A Soul-Filling Way to Connect to Nature

For years I've been experimenting with and studying the therapeutic effects of creating mandalas and I know I will never reach the bottom; there is always going to be more for me to learn. So when Louise Gale approached me about editing and designing her new book, Botanical Mandalas, I had to think about it for about .0000000098 seconds before saying yes!

To be completely accurate, the subject of mandalas was only half the reason for my instant response. The other half was my excitement over getting to work with Louise. I was already familiar with her and her work from two books I had edited in the past, in both of which Louise had been a contributing artist: Paint Mojo—A Mixed-Media Workshop: Creative Layering Techniques for Personal Expression by Tracy Verdugo and Painted Blossoms: Creating Expressive Flower Art with Mixed Media by Carrie Schmitt. I loved her contributions to each book and was thrilled she was considering self-publishing a book that would expand on what I had seen—her deep devotion to nature and her love of making mandala art. 

 Louise's contribution to Paint Mojo by Tracy Verdugo

Louise's contribution to Paint Mojo by Tracy Verdugo

 Louise's contribution to Painted Blossoms by Carrie Schmitt

Louise's contribution to Painted Blossoms by Carrie Schmitt

In the near future, Louise and I are going to post a video discussion of sorts (and when I say post, I mean this will be handled by Louise on her platform) about the self-publishing process, which will be fun and I'm sure helpful to those of you considering this route! Today I mainly wanted to introduce you to this book and I know I'm a bit biased, but it really is a wonderful book and everything Louise shares—art, wisdom and lots of love—is something I believe can enrich your own relationship to nature. First, let me share with you the full cover. This is the format a printed book has when it's submitted to a printer and includes the front, the back and the spine of the book. 

It took us a while to come to a decision about the colors used in this design (Louise polled her followers, too, to see which one they preferred), but we both love the final version. And I can't tell you how much fun I had designing the interior of this book, as well. So I wanted to share just a few of some of my favorite spreads. You can see the rest when you order the book. :-)

 This book is jam-packed with inspiration including a full chapter devoted to ways of getting out and connecting with nature more often; over a dozen step-by-step mandala projects; ideas and instruction for drawing motifs from natural elements you collect and love; and a gallery of lovely mandala art from prior students in Louise's workshops. 

This book is jam-packed with inspiration including a full chapter devoted to ways of getting out and connecting with nature more often; over a dozen step-by-step mandala projects; ideas and instruction for drawing motifs from natural elements you collect and love; and a gallery of lovely mandala art from prior students in Louise's workshops. 

Here are three pieces I've completed in the last six months or so—each inspired by Louise and her book.

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Plus, one more piece that I completed only yesterday. This comes from a section in the book called "Inspiration from a Single Flower" in which we are encouraged to really examine the surprisingly large number of details that exist in a single flower. And while I adore flowers, I am also a huge lover of rocks (as my life partner, David can attest from our numerous hikes together in which I am constantly stopping along the trail to examine rocks!), so I thought it would be cool to try this exercise with a rock—a chunk of amethyst. Louise prompts us to look at the details of a flower (or rock) and come up with individual motifs that can then be combined together to create a beautiful mandala design. I'll walk you through what I did.

 So, here is my rock. I looked at it from every side and if you keep scrolling down, I will show you what I observed as possible motifs.

So, here is my rock. I looked at it from every side and if you keep scrolling down, I will show you what I observed as possible motifs.

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 I drew these five motifs on a piece of card to use as a reference.

I drew these five motifs on a piece of card to use as a reference.

 I created a 12-point framework for my mandala. (Louise shows you how to create a variety of frameworks in the book.) Using my reference sheet of motifs, I then created my mandala!

I created a 12-point framework for my mandala. (Louise shows you how to create a variety of frameworks in the book.) Using my reference sheet of motifs, I then created my mandala!

 Lastly, my favorite part—adding color with watercolor! Can you believe all of this was inspired by a single rock?

Lastly, my favorite part—adding color with watercolor! Can you believe all of this was inspired by a single rock?

Thanks for opening my eyes, Louise, to even more ways of connecting to the natural world!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention this, but if you purchase the book, you are allowed access to Louise's "Book Club," that gives you various downloads and videos as an extension of the content in the book, plus discounts on some of her workshops. OK, I think that's it. I hope you're inspired to give the book a try! 

P.S. Have you been thinking of self-publishing your own book? Maybe you and I could work on it together! xo