What began as a project to free the mind from its artistic block has come to be like an ongoing meditation. After many years of commercial art, my artistic process had become so gummed up with the idea of what people might BUY that I felt incapable of creating from the heart. I had to find a way to switch gears. A friend had returned some art supplies I once gave to him, many years ago, and I decided I would use what I had and do a little watercolor on this attractive block of paper he had given me.
My premise was that I could do nothing “wrong” and that I would just continue to layer and layer watercolor and ink until something beautiful or meaningful happened.
At some point in the process, I started some canvases that were like little studies, with blobs of watercolor that I could draw on top of. I delved into circular patterns, triangles, moon phases. It turned out to be so fun that I plucked a stack of nice paper from my stash and just let the colors melt together in fascinating circles on small pieces of paper.
Water – color – drying. Lots of papers lying next to each other on my art table. It was very therapeutic.
After some overnight drying, I could draw on top of them and little mandalas came pouring out. I would draw a bit, switch to a new one, let it simmer, walk away, come back later. I often try not to think about the patterns that I am creating, I just let them evolve over time and flow from another place in my Self, not my thinking brain. Some are inspired by specific ideas, like Ayurveda or elements in various systems of belief. The process is very freeing – like taking a hike outside with the wind blowing through the trees and whispering in your ear.
After an inspired framing idea, they felt ready to share with the world. You can see these tiny treasures in person too — they have a home on the walls of Namaste Berkeley. Come in to take a peek or take one home for your own altar. Focus your mind on the center and let it spill outward. They are full of love and a symbol of the freedom we all deserve.
Helene Cotton is Namaste’s Creative Director, responsible for all of our beautiful graphic design and all three Namaste boutiques. Helene is an integral member on the Namaste team and one of our all time favorite humans.
Interested in learning more about Helene? Check out her amazing website http://helenecotton.com/.