My Latest Posts

  • Sun, 06 Dec 2020 06:47:00 +0000

    Tutorial- Making a Line Design Star

     

    I was obsessively drew these as a young boy, making all sorts of permutations and complexities. Then, many years later I was creating these in 3 dimensions as kinetic sculptures

    Essentially you are connecting points on graph paper. If there is no graph paper, then you are making it yourself, either measured out in advance, or eyeballed in the moment. The graphic below pretty much sums it up. 

    Create a set of points evenly spaced out on one axis. Then do that for another axis- whether at 90 degrees, as my example has, or any other angle. Connect your points in the manner shown. Extend the axis, make more spaced points and those and then you repeat this process, shifting 90 degrees each time, each subset section contributing to an overall design.


    Here's my sculptural version of it. (You can see more on my website)














  • Thu, 26 Nov 2020 20:41:00 +0000

    Capturing Impermanence 2021 Calendar

    These images are in the calendar I printed in 2020 (order yours here! It is dateless and so never obsolete). 

    Each image below links to a page that discusses the design plus topics that the design brings up for me. Enjoy going deeper into my artwork, I think you'll find the topics as fascinating as I do :-) 

    This page is a work-in-progress, being worked on in the order of the images from the calendar. Currently I am working on the first image (top left).






     

  • Fri, 06 Nov 2020 20:49:00 +0000

    Portal II

     

    This piece was a test of an idea that spurred its further development.

    I made this one during my early years with this large-scale artform. My entry into creating this art was geometry, through which I could achieve such enormous designs in such short time. 

    An issue I faced in the early years was that the geometric designs felt static- motionless and lifeless. So very soon I was looking for ways to enliven the designs. 

    This design used a simple construction method to create these 'molecules'. Their various orientations give a sense of movement and the semi-overlaid circles suggesting depth.



    For my next shot at this design, I shaded in portions and made different sized molecules. The big change was creating a 'mask', an overlay over the design that creates the feeling that an opening is visible to another place where these molecules are floating- hence the name 'Portal'.

    Once I had the drone and could take aerial photos, I decided to take another crack at the design. The drone allows me vantage points for photography that enable me to consider the entire landscape. So instead of having a masking layer, the land form itself would be the mask- the molecules would be contained by the features of this beach. To make this piece I brought in friends who worked in groups to enact the design steps to create these elements. I gave each group a different size cord to make their design with and guided where they would work. This final piece has depth enhanced by the layering of molecules in some places. I feel complete with this line of design.


  • Thu, 05 Nov 2020 20:40:00 +0000

    Mandala
    Filmed by Jonathan Clark, edited by Little Tao.



  • Fri, 09 Oct 2020 19:32:00 +0000

    My Modern Met Interview

    For an interview with My Modern Met 

    How did you start making sand art?

    Before the landscape artwork, I did sculptural work. That work turned out to be highly geometric. In studying about the forms I was creating, I stumbled into looking at methods that our ancient ancestors would have used to design their enormous temples and buildings. Crop circles share many of these techniques, and so my eye as drawn there as well. Then, when on the beach sharing what I had been learning with a friend, it suddenly dawned on me what could be possible with a canvas as large as what the beach could offer.

    Most of your designs focus on patterns. What is your inspiration for these abstract pieces?

    Nature is my ultimate inspiration. For the first few years, the geometric work was my focus as that was my entrance into creating at the large-scale. My studies by this time had turned towards fractals and patterns in nature. My geometric work held a huge issue for me- they felt static, lifeless, whereas these new areas of research felt alive and dynamic. I have always been drawn to nature but could never figure out how to decipher what I was seeing. And then I had an epiphany that in nature there are processes occurring and the pattern we see is the result. For instance, at some temperature threshold the moisture in the atmosphere will precipitate and form a cloud. If the temperature goes up then the water evaporates. If the moisture goes up, rain may occur. Its a dynamic process, which can be appreciated by watching clouds appear, shift, evolve as they float past. The cloud doesn't know what it looks like- it's just appearing as a result of other forces interacting. Think also of ripples in the sand formed by water or wind. Or the way tree growth responds to light- each species in their own way, making their own identifiable yet individually unique profiles in the forest. So I began mimicking this apparent complexity by combining simple processes while working- processes that I could hold together over a large area without having to be specific in any particular way (as I would need to be with the geometric work). In this way the artwork would 'emerge' without specific direction or intent. 

    These days I have been combining these 'geometric' and 'organic' approaches, acknowledging both the order and chaos side of our existence.

    Do you have an idea in mind before you visit a location or do you create pieces on the spot?

    For the most part I come to the beach without specific preconception. However, once I have begun work on a new piece I know the process I will follow. So I am not making it up as I go- there is a plan of some sort which allows me to keep it all together over such a large scale. Generally when I arrive at a new location I come ready with various possibilities that I have been working on. Then I decide what would be most appropriate given the conditions of the beach- is the beach wide or narrow, sloped or flat, and so forth. Some designs require more space, some work best when there are natural nooks and crannies to fill in. There are times when I may spend several days at one location in which case I can design for that specific circumstance. There can be a dialogue between the artwork and the landscape,. I can never take for granted how a beach may present- they are all changing throughout the month and year so I must be flexible with what I do.

    What is your creative process for each design?

    I am always noting and taking photos of patterns I see when out in the world, both natural and human-made, and puzzle over them to understand what is transpiring and what could I learn that could be applied at the largescale. Sometimes an approach I come upon for working at the landscape level will suggests its own possibilities. I'll explore all this in my sketchbook. When a design has evolved into something that feels mature, it goes into a 'pot' of ideas to select from when I am next at the beach. Once able to assess a location in person, I choose the design the works well with the circumstances on the beach. Each design has its own approach. Sometimes I have a better sense of what that will be before beginning, and sometimes the process breaks down in some unforeseen way.

    How do you view the ephemerality of your art?

    After having done this art for as long as I have, the ephemerality plays less of part in my experience than it did at the beginning. At the start there was a subversive quality to the art. Not that I am special in any way for creating art that isn't meant to last, but as a cultural norm, we view permanence as having more value. But through this art I came to recognize that in the long arc of time, nothing will last- eventually all things I have done and that all humans have ever done will be erased. It had me recognize that at the heart the desire for permanence is a fear of our mortality. How do we choose to spend our time in this limited existence? It is a fundamental question that can be both challenging and inspiring. It took me to the next recognition- what is worth doing other than that which elevates my spirit? That had me allow myself to let the art to take a greater place in my life, investing so much energy in something that almost immediately will begin washing away. My art is a pointer to this larger awareness- to value the life experience as it is happening.

    How has your artistic practice changed over time (if it has)?

    There are a couple of things I appreciate about the development of my work. At the start of my professional art work, over 20 years ago, I was almost always indoors, often in the near dark due to the sculptures  I was constructing, hunched over doing fine, meticulous work. Working outside and at the beach (barefoot!) was a huge and welcome change. And getting physical with my art- using my body as the brush essentially, brought me in much greater connection to my creations. 

    Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why?

    Yes. 'Flow' is my largest piece that works with the specific landscape. My inspiration was Japanese water painting of a river flowing. I designed it on an aerial  photo of the location. Being able to carry through the long curving line as though they were strokes created from way above is quite difficult. For an organic design, I had a specific outcome that looks and feels natural from above, but on the ground its a huge distance and I had to 'feel'.the 'strokes'.

    How do you know when a work is finished?

    Different designs have different endings. Some need to reach a certain completion. Some can go on and on without end and are finished when my canvas runs out, the waves return, or I'm ready to stop. A design may need a few tries before it achieves completion as a concept.. 

    What is the best thing about being an artist?

    I appreciate that I get to be creative for a living, doing it on my terms as expresses who I am. It is gratifying to create work that brings joy, wonder, and inspiration to so many.   

  • Thu, 01 Oct 2020 22:33:00 +0000

    Interview for College Project

     

    You wrote that there is an ‘esoteric fractal’ quality of being within the pattern that is being made. What do you mean by that?

    Fractals are deep and delightful- and powerful. Fractals are at the border between order and chaos- they are equations that yield unpredictable results for infinity. Some fractals are more intricate than others. One way I began connecting to fractals within my art was to approach working as a set of processes or motions that I kept repeating, and in particular ways. That is the subject of my most recent series on 'Coordinated Chaos' which are my most recent posts on IG and FB.

    When I am caught up in a perspective, and for a while I was evolving through new ones frequently, I see the world and my experience through that lens. In this case, the idea of fractals had gotten hold of me. I was seeing myself as an equation that is responding to the world, creating the pattern that is me, which has a form, physical and conceptual that can't be fully known and predicted.

    So I think in that quote I am saying that I am a fractal, inspired by a fractal, creating a fractal.

    By extension, in the real world, people come together to create much larger than any single person's capacity. The largescale beach art is a metaphorical creating of the next level of the fractal that we ourselves are a part of making in myriad and singular ways, unable to fully comprehend, but can sense exists. Climate change is an example of this in action- it is the higher level of the fractal in which we are all woven together, too large to be comprehended in its totality, but glimpsed through the places where we can bring clarity through science.


    You describe creating your art in a spiritual way – it flows through you and makes you feel energized – why is that? Can you explain this a bit more?

    This is where my spirit drew me. I say 'spirit' to mean the force that animates my body and seems to be distinct from the other spirits around me but yet which is ultimately connected to all other spirits in some much deeper way. At a point in my life I made the conscious decision to follow the things that elevated my spirit and to move away from the things that dampened it. Movement, self-expression and later art all elevated me, as did eating right, choosing where I lived based on how it had me feel, choosing a partner who was a constant source of spirit elevation.

    I was only able to maintain the energy for the artwork to have gotten to the place I am with it technically, artistically, and professionally because the act of engaging it- whether designing, planning or executing- brings me energy. Its fun! :-) Its challenging. It's impressive. I'm at the beach, barefoot!

    Another side that this brings up is that the making of art is, at its core, a transmission of an experience and a process of the creator. While depth may be present at various levels in any particular artistic creation, the finished product is generally not the ultimate goal (unless it is a commission- that's another story!). The exploration of a process is the true instigator of the journey.


    You mention using your dice guide when you want creativity or don’t have too much time. Have you had to use the dice often? Does it work?

    Hmm, if I said that then I meant that I use them for workshops often- to give folks ideas if they are in need of inspiration. They are a great tool- offering structure but complete flexibility. A great creativity stretcher. I've made my own drawings based on it, but not one of my own on the beach.

    On a different side, I *have* been using a random number generator - essentially a dice app on my iPad. My latest works in the 'coordinated chaos' series are guided by the output of the app. In the app I can quickly change the number to randomly select among. I might have 4 design elements possible in one design but only 2 in another. Or the possibilities might shift within an emerging piece depending on the evolving design.

    What I love about the approach of using randomness to determine how a preselected set of design elements will interact is that the result is so much more interesting and 'real' feeling than I could make on my own (yet, perhaps...!). It has a warmth that, on the opposite spectrum, my mandalas tend not to have, particularly the ones that are 'perfect'.

    I am coming to art from a background in science and tech. My degree is environmental studies. My path in the beach art began with art most akin to crop circles. It was through reverse designing some crop circles to study their creation- on paper- that I could see how I could use my sudden awareness of the beach as a canvas. All my art in the early years based in geometry. It was about getting everything pretty much perfectly. That was very stifling and didn't leave room for much creativity in the moment.

    Then I uncovered ways to connect to patterns in nature in which I could work unhindered by schematics or prior consideration beyond, perhaps, what movement or process I would be repeating in the art-making. In these creations something new was emerging in that very moment that could never be duplicated (unlike the geometric ones which would look the same no matter where they were placed- the design anyway, even if the photo might be gorgeous!).

    So my journey has been about, among many other things, moving away from perfection and precision and embracing the unknown potential of...the absurd and delightful unpredictability of life?...the revealing of one's self?...the spontaneity of life in motion.

    It's an elusive goal, as my logic-oriented mind has a hard time initiating an artwork without a way determined before-hand of how I am approaching it. Each stroke becomes scrutinized and agonized over unless I am following a plan, however loose. Then each stroke is judged solely against the plan and envisioned result, and based on how real life is playing out I adjust the process in whatever ways. Sometimes this is to the benefit of an artwork, sometimes this becomes second guessing the plan and might throw things off ultimately. This tension came up in my most recent artwork. I was finding the emerging results of my process, based on randomness, to be dull and repetitive. My drawing I was basing my work on wasn't dull, so I now wonder if I was being overly critical. Might that, perhaps simple, design been totally adequate and maybe even great within the overall landscape? Well, I changed course and just did whatever came to me to do- organically- within a framework and parameters already laid out. I'm happy with the result! The lesson I'm learning is that if I have some structure to work within, I can invite my own internal spontaneity. I've come to this lesson before, now I am having a better languaging of the concept. I've done many artworks based on this concept.

    I'm trying to figure out how to introduce 'jitter' in my moments in ways that can be random so that I can bring that in without needing to think about any particular stroke. In general people are repetitive in their actions. The expressive chaos of life is very hard to capture, and when it is, that feeling of life happening in the moment is transmitted. Connected to your first question, when doing these artworks,  repeating an action of some sort in an organic, responsive way,  there is a feeling of being within the fractal.



    After all the effort that you’ve put in, do you not find it frustrating that your creation disappears? Is capturing your art in a photo enough of a permanent reminder?

    The photo is a wrinkle in the 'its all about the experience' shpiel. If I didn't have my camera, or my drone, or it was raining, i wouldn't likely do the artwork. That tells me I want to have my work live on in some form. Definitely I want to document my creations to reflect upon and appreciate, but I also wish to share them. As for the physical creation, the accomplishment is sufficient. I feel no bond to them once I have completed a work.

    Of course, I loved living across the street from a great beach. I would go out just to doodle, with no larger goals, which is generally now how it is when I live away from the beach, as has mostly been the case. Currently I live 3-4 hours from the beach :-(, so each outing has pressure to 'be worth it'.

    What can be frustrating is not being able to complete a piece before the tide returns, especially when it was a challenging one and the conditions are perfect and the problem is me and my insufficient prior consideration of the design and its process. One of the downsides of not having closer access to beaches is that there is more pressure for a visit to yield amazing results. That deadens the sense of exploration and play. Makes things too serious. The coordinated chaos series has been a good offset to this- bringing in the experience of unfolding mystery.

     
    In your video you mention that you’ve ‘left the stream’ and are now doing creative work that you really enjoy. What inspired you to make this change? Was it a hard decision to give up a secure, ‘regular’ job?

    Security is an illusion.

    Doing anything in life where 'security' is the decision-making influence will, I feel, lead to a constrained life. My decision to step away came when I was offered a permanent job for a position I had been temping for, being extended each month for 6 months. I hated every moment there, but the money was really good (for me at that time!). Some time prior the Enron scandal had happened.  In that there were retirees who had spent decades of service whose pensions were wiped out in the stock market. I decided that my experience in the moment was more important than my fear of the future (in this case a future in which I ended up in the gutter). This decision would later be crystallized into the perspective that guides my life of doing that which has my spirit shine more brightly. That is why I have a career in art and why my art is good- my spirit shines more brightly when I do it, and so it will invariably have high returns and be highly received. It's not just I who receive the benefit of this arrangement- you receive a bit of my spirit and the spirit that was running through me in seeing my work. As it is with any artist. And anyone who does anything when their spirit is elevated by the doing of the thing (even if they are bad at it! it may simply be a pleasure to be around their joy in what they are doing- or not! but at least you won't begrudge them for that)

     
    As your work is temporary do you consider yourself an artist?

    What is an artist? Someone who creates art? What is art? A self-expressive creation?  An aesthetic transmission from one person to another? I have tended to be uneasy with the title of artist for it implies that everyone else isn't, which isn't the case. My life work is awakening in others the interest and capacity for self-expression.

    Anyhow, simply by creating one is an artist- at least you are 'the' artist of that particular creation. How long the art lasts, or even if anyone else sees it, is beside the point.


    Who do you create your art for and why? Is it your own self-expression, is it an escape, is it for others i.e. commission work?

    Commission work pays the bills.

    I have been delighted that people from all backgrounds find wonder and appreciation in my work.

    The real joy comes from when I am doing it for myself and I am out on the beach in the elements, perhaps alone, the sound of the waves....The joy comes from endless hours of meditative designing.  The joy comes from the satisfaction of an artwork successfully accomplished

     
    Finally, do you think artists are born or made?

    I have had a judgement that I am not an artist because my art expression has pretty well-defined boundaries. My vision of an artist is someone for whom all things they touch feel transformed, as though they can't help it. I think these people are born this way. I have several friends who I see as this way- the true artists- art as a way of being.

    But all of us are expressive and wish for our spirit to be seen in the world- however that way is for that person. Artists abound all around us who might never be considered as such due to how the title is used currently.

    A few years back I was working on a program series called "Capturing Impermanence". In it we filmed ephemeral artists making an artwork and interviewing them about their thoughts on impermanence. As I conceptualized that program, trying to define the parameters for inclusion, I came to realize that we are saturated with impermanent art: music performances, a fine meal, an boutique ice cream or chocolate, dance performances, and so forth. These people are artists- transmitting an aesthetic experience. Similarly there are endless people who are creating in an expressive way who we don't look at as artists. But I feel they meet the qualifications
  • Wed, 13 May 2020 23:20:00 +0000

    Imperfection

     
     
     
    One of the things I am really appreciating about pouring sand is its imprecision. I have spent so much of my artist efforts in getting things done perfectly. I can't escape the impulse- it is hard-wired into me. This particular sand artwork is done on a precise grid and I'm doing my best to keep everything tight. However, my lack of practice in this medium, meaning lack of muscle control, lack of best positioning to keep my arm or hand from quavering just slightly, combined with the spillage and inherent sloppiness of sand come together to create a whole lotta "errors". I have to pour at a certain rate or else sand piles up. My eyes constantly fixate on the lack of uniformity or straightness in the lines, the variability of the negative space. And yet, I am finding this to be the part I love best about this medium- my mind is forced to free itself of the tyranny of perfection. 
     
    I have had a few accusations of PhotoShopping my beach artworks- people disbelieving their material reality. My intensely physical large beach artworks lost their physicality when seen on print or on screen.
     
    I love traditional tribal art. Often there is a geometric component, frequently done in an imprecise manner. What this speaks to me is that there is an acknowledgement of a conceptual perfection (of geometry, in this case), but an imperfect human is allowed to be seen as the artist. It is saying that the artist matters- the final form is not the priority, not the true aim. My work is a human creation, not made by a robot or computer. By virtue of being human it will have errors. It's the errors that say "a human made this". And actually, by virtue of being in the actual world, errors will occur- human or not. It's  the errors that say "this was built in the real world." This aspect of imprecise renderings of otherwise precise forms brings a warmth, they are more relatable.
     
    In contrast, precisely rendered art can often feel outside of this world, accounting for geometric forms being such an integral part of most religions from the start of humanity. The shapes speak to a  transcendence of 'reality'- something beyond the world of our material form but also at its core.
     
    Life, and our species, evolved within chaotic natural systems. We resonate most deeply with that which connects us to this primitive recognition. Hence the therapeutic qualities of being in nature. And geometric perfection presences our awareness to truths that transcend all circumstance. 

    I'm finding my path both in art and life is to be unwinding my efforts at control, allowing life to reveal itself in it's unpredictable ways.
  • Tue, 24 Mar 2020 06:06:00 +0000

    We are Creation Creating


    We are Creation Creating


    I just had a thought, one of those that recurs to me occasionally when something brings my attention to it.










    I was in the process of chasing a moth (we are infested with a small, clothes eating variety). Its flight pattern was erratic, making it challenging to swat. The flight pattern of a mosquito is also erratic. Both are programmed genetically to fly in a way that will make it hard for them to be swatted- or more likely to avoid being eaten by a bat.


    This ability is part of why they are alive, the ancestors of this moth took on the ability to be this way as a fundamental part of who they are, genetically. This helped them thrive. And when conditions invariably change (as they always will, eventually) inherent in the dna transfer process are small aberrations in the code, which may, but mostly won’t, be the thing that offers greater survival in some other circumstance. The species as a whole may move in a new direction in what they look like, how they behave and what they are capable of, a long, shifting process, with no true end because the goal posts are constantly changing.


    I was considering these moths and what their goal is- essentially to mate and lay eggs. There’s no finding those eggs- they are very well hidden. And the moths are tricky, suddenly landing and blending in or walking into crevices.


    I am trying to kill it, but clearly many have escaped me because new moths keep showing up. The upshot is that they are ‘winning' the opportunity to release their next generation into the world.


    My thought: Life always finds a way. All these forms around us in the world - life finding a way to exist. As a colony, as an individual, as a species. Life finds a way into existence.


    The ways that life has found to express itself are as many as the uncountable fellow inhabitants on this planet.


    I see a fundamental force driving this process. A force whose goal is its own existence. It is generative, it is forwarding moving, intent-ful. It is self-organization- the opposite of chaos.


    .......


    Here's where that takes me when I consider the idea relative to my own life...


    At our essence you and I are expressions of a Force that is fundamentally about creating itself and keeping itself alive long enough to keep the process moving.


    Poetically speaking, You and I are expressions of life creating itself.


    When I lead my workshops the most spoken words I hear are ‘I am not an artist’, followed by ‘I am not creative’. These words create division simply by their existence- as though they are things that you either *are* or *aren’t*. But it is a false dichotomy. We are all creators simply though the fact of our existence. At a basic level, our hearts are beating, our eyes are blinking, I am eating- my body and me are keeping me alive.


    I envision his creative force as a stream that is passing through me. When the blocks to accessing it soften I find that it was always present.


    Bringing this perspective of us being connected to this force of creation, I see that we are all wielding the capacity to tap into the Creative Force, to be energized towards birthing into existence things never before yet seen, something coming through our own unique being.


    Metaphorically speaking, Creativity is the product of tapping into this Creative Force. Dreaming up and building from nothing or building upon its predecessors, this is the act of creation expressing itself in the moment through the Creator- the person wielding this Creative Force.


    A grounded way this shows up for me is the need to track the tides to find the best times to create my art. This is an act of creation- through charting the tide I am engaging the creation process.


    Species evolution is mainly a reactive force, a path of least resistance, engaging practicalities slowly, over millions of years. It doesn’t look ahead. It doesn’t create meaning or analyses.


    In contrast, our own level of self-awareness allows us to consider into the future, to feel into possibilities that may never, or could never, be. We can reflect upon our own life experience and divine meaning which can offer both guidance in the moment and serve to evolve ourselves into new imaginings.


    Creating ourselves into being, continually.


    This is the ultimate place from which to exist in one's life- the place of intentional creation. You are operating from this place simply by being alive- which includes multiple levels of self-creation.


    What I have found is that when I connect to this Force of Creation, the more life energy I feel. Through engaging the things that activate within my creative force, I feel energized.


    Think upon any experience that had you feeling ‘in the flow’- that state of being in which time slows down and senses heighten, when you were fully absorbed and single focused. I see this in my son playing with Legos or building his marble runs.


    Think upon a time in which the activity you were engaging fed you energy to keep going, after a day's work, perhaps physically and mentally tired, but emotionally and spiritually recharged. Creating always is a recharging act.


    We are all born as open channels to the Force of Creation. No small child would ever consider the idea that they lack the ability to create. But as they get older it can become easier and easier to create blocks to the ability to access this force. Hurtful comments from parents and peers, lack of encouragement, narrowing conceptions about what art is, self judgement- these can build up internal resistance to allowing oneself to access one’s creative potential.


    But it is always there, it never goes away. It may need some rust brushed off, some lubrication and jump-starting, but your channel to the Creative Force is an intrinsic part of who you are as a being.


    If you have activities and interests in your life that amplify your energy when you engage them, bravo to you, keep it up! If this creativity connection feels lacking in your life, it is time for change. I am going to be looking more closely at the process of opening oneself to one’s creative potential in coming posts.


    To those who would think 'I am not an artist' or 'I am not creative' I say: You are a manifestation of the Creative Force and through you creation actively flows. How this looks for you specifically is your life’s journey.


    Life is precious. It is our opportunity to make it as expansive and full as we can.


    Enjoy the ride :-)
  • Wed, 11 Dec 2019 06:19:00 +0000

    Shine

    ‘Shine’, 2014

    I created this artwork with my pregnant wife as an offering to our not-yet born son. I designed it with the question in my mind of how I could encode a wisdom that would always offer guidance, regardless of (most any) circumstance. What simple message could I impart to him that would always offer perspective?

  • Wed, 22 May 2019 22:46:00 +0000

    The Randomized Mandala
    For a number of years I’ve been using mandala-making in my workshops as a method for quickly creating large-scale artwork.

    Mandalas have a number of features which make them ideal for this use. For starters, you can take practically any element, like a line or dots or spirals or whatever, and as long as it is repeated with regularity around a central point, it will look intentional. Keep adding elements and building outwards and voila! This is helpful when I’m working with art novices for whom coming up with a compelling completed artwork from scratch could be a daunting task. It allows me to work with any number of people and have each person’s creation be unique. Collaboration between multiple participants can easily be incorporated with each person taking turns adding new elements.

    The first thing that is needed is a framework. For a mandala the framework can be a series of circles and a few spokes. The number of each is not so important. The framework will not be visible in the final creation (unless desired)- rather it serves as a guide to staying even in placing and sizing new elements.

    So we might start with a framework like this. Then, for any element that is added, decide where it is going, how large it will be, and then repeat the positioning for as many times as the circle has been divided by spokes. Keep adding new elements in a similar manner.

    Sometimes deciding what to add next can be a stumbling block, especially during a workshop when there isn’t much time for designing. A new twist I have added is using a dice guide:
    So, by rolling the dice (or going to this site which will give randomized numbers), whatever the dice comes up with your job then is to incorporate the new element. There are no rules for how the element is added- as many or as few as desired, inverted or sideways, large or small, filled in or left open. The great part about this system is that even though it is prescriptive in telling you what to do, it leaves open tremendous room for creativity. 

    The guide can be any elements you decide, and there can be as many as desired (using the randomizing link for numbers not found on dice)

    Here’s a go I had at using this system using a slightly more complex framework:

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