Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
I’m so excited to introduce you a very special artist, and now friend, Maria Mercedes Trujillo A. I first became aware of Maria’s gorgeous work through Pinterest as I searched for mandalas and nature-based art projects. I’ve always loved outdoor installations, spirit sticks, and art made with stones, so Maria’s work was hard to miss given her connection to nature, spirituality, and beauty.
Later, when I joined Instagram (@amymaricle), I was able to see her amazing works in process @MagaMerlina. She is a constant source of inspiration. We began commenting on each other’s work, and there began an artistic friendship across thousands of miles. I feel very lucky that she has agreed to share her art, inspiration, links to her amazing work and tutorials, and tips on overcoming creative blocks.
At the end of the post, I’ve included some pictures of my own stone mandalas, as well as a free printable stone mandala pattern sheet. Stone mandalas can be a great mindfulness activity. I’d love to hear from you in the comments about your experience with it.
Interview with An Artist: Maria Mercedes Trujillo A.
Maria is a self-described late bloomer, self-taught illustrator-crafter from Bogotá-Colombia, who now calls New Zealand home. She attended medical school and became a psychiatrist, but in 2009 decided to make art full time.
Amy: When did you start making art?
Maria: I started keeping artist journals in 2000 when I was 35 years old. First I was drawing and painting from my inner world, and then about 10 years later, from the outer world too. The mandalas started in 2001. I draw, paint, and embroider.
Amy: How do you get the ideas for your mandala patterns? Do you study the patterns used by particular artists or cultures?
Maria: My mandalas are mainly born from my inner world, and they are always changing. I’ve studied the history, theory, and psychology of mandalas. I’ve been particularly drawn to Indian/Desi Mehndi, Kolam, Rangoli patterns, Buddhist sand mandalas, Thangkas and Islamic geometric pattern rosettes.
Amy: Your mandalas are so beautiful, whether on paper, the cover of a journal, or on a stone. What gave you the idea to start painting on stones?
Maria: A very long time ago I saw some beautiful painted pebbles in Sweden and loved them. I regret I didn’t buy one. More recently I saw some others online, none of them with mandalas though, and thought of drawing my own.
Amy: We are so glad you did! Mandalas are often seen as a spiritual symbol. Is making mandalas and art in general a spiritual process for you?
Maria: Art is a spiritual process for me because it connects me to who I really am, my essence. Each mandala I create is like a picture of my “Self” in that specific moment in time.
Amy: Do you ever feel “stuck” or uninspired artistically?
Maria: I used to get anxious about this, but now I know it’s all a part of the process. Creating is a cycle, there are times to create and there are times to “fill your inner well” as Julia Cameron says. When I’m uninspired, I look at books, other people’s art, nature, movies, videos, or my own artist journals.
Maria: I’ve been collecting stones from many places since I was a child. I’m lucky there are some “shingle” beaches here in New Zealand, that’s where I collect most of the stones I paint.
Amy: Where can people learn more about making their own stone mandalas?
Maria: You can find the stone mandala tutorial here, as well as many other videos, tips on materials, and other resources on my blog, www.magamerlina.com. You can also see some of my projects featured in: MAKE YOUR MARK: Creative ideas using markers, paint pens, bleach pens & more. By Lark Books.
Create Your Own Stone Mandalas!
Before you head over to www.magamerlina.com to check out Maria’s fabulously inspiring videos and tutorials, I’ve made up some of my own stone mandala samples for inspiration, as well as a little printable PDF cheat sheet to get you started.
Creative self-care idea: create a portable art kit that holds thin tipped markers (Sharpie, Faber Castell, or Micron brands can be found in your local art and craft shop), stone mandala pattern cheat sheet, and one or two smooth stones. (Click the picture below to download and print.) Carry this with you and you can steal away 5 minutes here and there throughout the day.
Do you have questions for Maria? Please let me know how you liked her beautiful work and amazing tutorials. You can share your stone mandalas by on our Facebook group, Creative Self-Care, or on Instagram with #stonemandala.