When I first started creating this website, I was talking to my little niece about the Moonlight Mandalas name and showing her my moon paintings. She immediately wanted to paint a moon mandala for the site. She chose to follow the similar pattern of her favorite mandala of mine, called Ocean of Love. It is a scene of the sun setting over the ocean, with hearts as the colorful sky glowing in shades of orange. She made her moon rising over the ocean – the sky is dark and the moon is bright. The water looks calm in comparison to my wavy waters. I’ve certainly lived through more waves in my life and my mandala reflects that. She is only 8 years old so her life is yet to hit any major waves.
I love the contrast of these two mandalas. They are day and night; light and dark; sun and moon. We see these things as polar opposites. The mandalas are also very similar in that they are both simple and colorful. They illustrate very well that creating a mandala does not require a strong artistic skill. Simple lines and simple color combinations can create some beautiful mandalas. When I first started creating mandalas, I felt compelled to fill every blank space in the circle. By the time I created the Ocean of Love mandala, I had learned it was OK to leave blank space. It is nice to not fill up every inch. It leaves an opening for new things to come into the space and your life.
I’ve always been told that my mandala paintings evoke a child-like innocence. I truly believe that creating a mandala can help us tap into that inner child in all of us. Our inner children love to play and color. My inner child, I call her ‘little Wendy’, absolutely loves to come out to color. When I go too long without sitting down to paint a mandala, I start to feel little Wendy tapping me or pulling on my shirt or calling out “can we please play and paint today?” She knows the importance of play and creative self-expression. I’ll bet your inner child likes to come out and play, too.
Thinking about my inner child reminds me of a photo I found in my grandmother’s stack of photos. She was a Polaroid fanatic back in the 1960’s and ’70’s when I was a child. She took hundreds of photos and stored them in envelopes and boxes and bags throughout her house. They were kept in no chronological order, just piles here and there and everywhere. My cousins, siblings, and I used to love to look through them.
When I found this particular photo, I did not recognize the little girl so I asked my mom who she was. She told me that little girl was me. I could not believe it! I did not ever remember looking that cute and innocent and healthy. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) when I was only 18 months old so I’ve all I’ve ever known was being sick with this illness. I was so sick as a child that I honestly think I have blocked out portions of my childhood. I did not even recognize myself in this photo. Something about the look on her little face really made me wonder what she was thinking in that moment back in 1969. Or I should say, what I was thinking in that moment. I would love to know what it was!
Today, when I think of my inner child, little Wendy, this is the face I see. This is the sweet girl I invite to come and paint/color with me. She smiles when we paint and create together. What does your inner child look like? What is he or she longing to do with you?