Mechanistic Mandala: A Mixed Media Watercolor Painting

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This is my first major watercolor painting. I got the idea from traditional mandalas, where patterns are repeated around a circle. I took the idea and thought “why not make a three dimensional mandala?” I did just that, adding my style of futuristic, geometric, and colorful imagery to the 3-D mandala.
The Process
I made this piece using watercolors on a rather large sheet of watercolor paper. I started with a graphite sketch, traced it with ink, and then painted in between the lines. I used mostly hard edges mixed with a few curves. I tried to be as accurate as possible with the ink and watercolor because they are not very forgiving mediums.
For the painting, I had to use many layers of watered down watercolor. This was because I used a lot of gradation in this piece. I picked out opposite colors (blue & orange, yellow & violet). This made for a good deal of contrast, making the details really pop out. In person, this large piece cannot go unnoticed. It seems to have a neon or glowing effect to it, probably from the intensity of the pigments and color choices as well as placement.
Because this was based off a mandala, I tried to make it symmetrical. When I made an adjustment on one part of the painting I had to make sure to repeat it as accurately as possible around the rest of the painting. This is what makes it a mandala, a repetition of patterns that starts from the center of the painting and extends to the edges of the paper.
Why Did I Make This?
I made this piece primarily because it seemed like an interesting experiment as I created it. I thought it would be a good piece for exploring use of space, highly contrasting colors, symmetrical appearance, and geometric shapes.
I didn’t know what the final product would look like when I began working on it. It wasn’t until I had completed the sketch that I had an idea of how it would appear. The more I worked on this piece the more interesting it became.
I had a great time making this piece and I am quite pleased with the final product. The best part about making it was watching it come alive as I applied colors to the ink outline. I would love to make another painting like this again using the same or a similar process. The final product really captures your eye with glowing colors and symmetric aesthetics.


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