It all started one year ago today — June 2, 2020. I had collected some puffball mushrooms and Douglas iris seed heads, arranged them on the patio table, and taken their picture. At first I was going til Election Day. The process of making a mandala every morning was stabilizing me through all the craziness of the last presidential administration., the shelter-in-place orders of the pandemic, and evacuating from the Woodward Fire. But the election came, and our democracy seemed as unstable as ever. At this point I’d been doing the daily practice for five months. It had changed me into an artist, and I’d started making the book, Flowers for a Pandemic, full of my botanical mandala photographs.

Canterbury Bell, dried dietes, snapdragons, alstroemeria petals

I wasn’t ready to stop, and set the goal to make a botanical mandala every day for a year. And I’ve done it, with a lot of help from my family, friends and community. I’ve had three shows — a virtual one at the Dance Palace, then in person at Toby’s Gallery and now at the Point Reyes Library. I’ve made cards and prints. I’m designing a calendar, and planning a Make Your Own Mandala workshop for later this summer. I’ve started taking botanical drawing classes at the Bolinas School of Botanical Art. I NEVER would have predicted this.

All of this review is to say that I’m not going to make a daily mandala going forward. I will still make them, and will share them when I do. There will be more time for drawing, for more walks, for more gardening.

First Botanical Mandala, June 2, 2020

This is the first one. The table had been living outside and was quite dirty. The light is uneven and it’s off-center — I’m still working on those last two. So a day at a time it’s not just a cliched saying. I’ve grown into being an artist, one day at a time. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. And it all started one year ago today — June 2, 2020.

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