Hello and Welcome to Mandalasbotanical.com!

Carol Whitman holds a large wreath outside
Annual wreath making, most years

An Unexpected Journey

I came to my art serendipitously, it was almost an accident. The circular garden table, two feet in diameter, had sat out in the yard for a few years. It was neglected and dirty. Holes cut in the top form three concentric circles. On June 2, 2020, I came home from a walk and put the 3 small puffball mushrooms and iris seed heads I’d collected down on the table. I made an arrangement with them, took a photo and posted it to social media. The next day I made another design incorporating flowers from my garden, anchoring them into the holes in the tabletop. It felt good. It was fun. My mind got quiet. I wasn’t thinking about COVID-19 or the political chaos in the country. After doing this for a week I realized I’d finally found my genre, shortly before my seventieth birthday. Since then I’ve made a botanical mandala every morning.

The Story of mandalasbotanical.com

This website is an offering of my botanical mandalas to you. When I posted these photographs of the mandalas on social media, people urged me to make a book, greeting cards, and prints. So I did. You can buy them here, and also subscribe to my blog, which features my daily offering. How did this all happen, in the midst of a global pandemic? Welcome again to mandalasbotanical.com!

Exhibits

My first show was virtual at the Dance Palace Cultural and Community Center in Point Reyes Station, California. Their Art Committee was experimenting with a new way to highlight local artists since the pandemic had closed down the gallery in the lobby. It proved to be a great experience. I got to show a group of photos, and talk about my process of making them to a Zoom audience of 60 people. You can watch it here: YouTube video. A group show took place in April 2021 at Toby’s Gallery in Point Reyes Station. I was joined by Max Lesser, my son, showing recent oils and watercolors, and Laurie Curtis exhibiting her Maiolica pottery.

The Point Reyes Station Library has reopened, and a selection of prints are in their gallery space, welcoming patrons back to the library.

My Workshop

I started with a table, an iPhone camera, clippers, tweezers, a paintbrush, and a garden full of flowers. I’ve taken over my husband’s studio workshop with his blessing. There are bowls, woven willow, and green plastic baskets, recycled jars, egg cartons, all filled with my materials: bark, seed pods, dried flowers and berries, sticks, and many kinds of leaves. People have sent me cymbidium orchids from Hawaii and dried plants from a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains to incorporate into my work. They’ve invited me into their gardens to forage.

image of Carol's workbench
Workbench and the table that started it all

Moving Beyond the Circle

For six months the table and the circle defined the platform for my work. In late December 2020, I began experimenting with other shapes. When I photograph them I use the “Photo” rather than the “Square” setting on my iPhone camera. I’ve broken out of the constraints of the circle. I’m revitalized by these new pieces and look forward to seeing where they lead me.

Mandalas are circular, aren’t they? Not so, according to Wikipedia: “…the mandala is a diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically… originally meant to represent wholeness and a model for the organizational structure of life itself, a cosmic diagram that shows the relation to the infinite and the world that extends beyond and within various minds & bodies.”

Welcome to mandalasbotanical.com

This Post Has One Comment

  1. NancyGoodban

    This is wonderful, Carol!

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