Stone Mandalas: An Artist Interview with Maria Trujillo
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.
Amy: Where do you get the beautiful stones you collect?
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.
Great post! Thanks to both of you!! xo
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Isn’t Maria wonderful? I just love her quote about how each mandala captures her “self” in that moment. If you do any stone mandalas, I’d love to see them in Creative Self-Care!
Love mandalas. Love rock art. Love them combined! Would regular markers work too? Think I’ve only used paint and sharpie:)
Thanks so much for dropping by! I know, right? Mandalas + rock art = art that rocks, right? I have only had luck with sharpies, microns, and Faber Castell markers. I’ve found that even on white rocks, all the Sharpie markers come through, but I think regular markers would wipe off.
I love them!! So peaceful:)
Welcome to Mindful Art Studio! Peaceful is a great word for these mandalas – both in the viewing, and the making! Will you make some of your own too?
Oh wow these are just gorgeous!! I have always loved mandalas, they are so pretty and these are just wow. I just got a new set of microns and am so excited to try this now!
Btw, Amy, I am loving the new site and theme!
You are so sweet! Thank you so much for dropping by! I am so pleased that you love Maria’s work as much as I do, and even more excited that you just got a set of MICRON pens. Yippee! Whether or not you can find perfectly smooth, round, gorgeous rocks like Maria’s please don’t worry. As long as you have flat sides, you can create the mandalas and other designs, like the swirl that I did. Will you share it on Creative Self Care? I can’t wait to see!
Thanks to for the kind words about the new site – it means so much coming from you given all your design know how and expertise at Design Your Own Lovely Blog.
I would love to show you and will as soon as I come up for air! Focus this month is redesign only! 😉
I can’t wait to see your stone. Happy redesigns!
So beautiful and inspiring! Art for me is also very spiritual/ allows you to tune in to who you really are, at your core. I’m an art therapist and art maker- so much of what I create comes from nature. I collect natural objects including stones/rocks and have thought about drawing on them (when I saw this I got inspired!) Thank you so much for sharing this Amy.
Isn’t Maria’s work amazing? The moment I saw her work about a year or so ago, I was immediately energized and could not wait to start my own. Be sure to check out her site for the tutorials – she gives great suggestions on the materials to use and technique.
Wow! These are beautiful. You can really tell the focus and dedication that went into each piece. I LOVE your site! Discovered it through Marianne’s ^^^ retweet. I also blog about mindfulness and creativity. Can I include a link to your site on my weekly Take A Moment link roundup post this Saturday?
Thank you so much for your very sweet comments. Maria’s work is so engaging, isn’t it?
I was psyched to find your lovely site as well: http://www.mindfulmemorykeeping.com and I will definitely be sharing your posts as resources for self-care here. I have a self-care challenge coming up in a few weeks and will probably link you then, if it’s okay with you.
I also follow Maria on instagram. love her work and it was so nice to read this interview and find your pdf download as well. glad i am now following your blog in addition to seeing you on IG xxx
I’m tickled that you’ve visited and subscribed. How fun to continue to connect via our blogs and social media. Maria is wonderful, isn’t she? Her dedication to her art is so inspiring and beautiful. I look forward to seeing more of your thought-provoking, contemplative posts!
These are so beautiful! I love to crochet on flat rocks too 🙂 Thank you for your beautiful and inspiring website!!!
Thank you so much! Magamerlina’s work is so lovely!! I’m so glad her work speaks to you. Your crocheted rocks sound wonderful.
i love your rocks and the mandalas however im not good at painting u think there is hope for me?
Maria’s mandalas are SO beautiful, aren’t they? And to your question, of course there’s hope for you. I believe that anyone who wants to be creative is creative. You might start with something like this post on Starting an Art Journal.
All the best,
Hi, I work in an Aged Care facility and would love to have my residents try the rock art. Many of them already love to do mandala colouring. So, I have not been collecting rocks, but need to buy some for them. Does anyone have suggestions where I can obtain some rock suitable for painting?
Thanks so much for taking the time to look and comment. Rock art is so fun and accessible. I know Michael’s has smooth rocks, and I’m sure you can find smooth rocks online. However, any smooth rock from the outdoors will do – and collecting them all on a walk – especially if you live near water, can be such a soothing activity.
I hope this helps.