RaNae: Debra, this is a good beginning as far as design goes. There is, however, a technical problem with your drawing. If you look carefully at the pink petals in the center and the green section of the triangles around the outside edge, you’ll see that some of the spokes spin clockwise and some spin counterclockwise. When you have drawn the pink center triangles correctly, you will have four petals that alternate with four points. I’m not on my own computer right now, or I would re-draw it in PhotoShop for you to show you the correction. Email me if after you’ve given it a good look you still can’t see it. I’ll be posting some better sketches and explanations about the shorthand in the next week or so when I get home.
Also, read the “California, Day 1” post on the main page for more ideas about how to develop and vary your mandala design.
Debra 4-1-09: RaNae, is this any better? I only find one shape formed and I am really confused. I have read SASQ and all the online instructions many times and I must have a huge mental block because I am not coming up with the wonderful designs I see on other spiros’ pages! Help! Thanks.
RaNae: Debra, you’re not as lost as you think you are. You are drawing the shorthand correctly now, and that’s good progress. The reason that you’re getting only one shape (a trunk) is that all your spirals are spinning the same direction. Spin some in the opposite direction and you’ll start getting points and fans in addition to your trunks. Make mirrored pairs of shapes and you’ll see the symmetries in your designs that appear in others’.
Also remember that in order for the flow forms (the fans, points and trunks) to show up, the sides of your adjoining shapes should be the same length. The pentagons in the outside ring of your sketch have two sides from two shapes lining up against one side of one shape, and that creates a straight line. (I’ve circled it in the photos, and you’ll see this better if you color the shapes.) You’ll see something similar in Susan Ott’s first design. As I told Susan, this is okay as long as you do it by choice, not by accident.
Once you get the opposite-spinning spirals going, then play with proportions and you’ll start to feel the excitement!
Debra 4-10-09: Thank you so much for the directions you posted. It became suddenly clear and I started playing around with this idea – doing a single wedge (very rough) until I ran it past you. I think I need to simplify some. Also, what do you think about doing each wedge as an individual theme? I was thinking about all the different things that inspire me and came up with:
Faith, Family, Friends, Music, Reading, Sewing, Nature, Pets
I think I could come up with something for each of eight wedges that would illustrate these. Thanks for any suggestions.
RaNae: Debra, is there a way you could develop this concept and still keep symmetry in the design?
The coloring should emphasize the flow forms, and that needs contrast. What is happening in this drawing is that all the flow forms in the cross are the same color, which means the flow forms won’t show up — which kind of eliminates the point of even using spirals. The same thing is happening in the gold “wings” that extend above the arms of the cross.
You’re understanding the mechanics of dividing the wedge, now the next step is to understand the flow of the flow forms. You need to do a series of sketches and play with the flow forms to get the feel for how they move within and across the wedges. Let the flow forms guide your coloring, not the edges of the shapes. Send me a few of the best sketches, and also see how that exercise influences the development of your design.
Debra 5-3-09: RaNae, here are a couple of test wedges. Am I getting closer?
RaNae: Debra, it looks like you’re making progress, but I can’t really tell without seeing the whole mandala. Have you got yourself a pair of mirrors to look at the wedges with? As for the “ribbon” wedge — it might look really cool when all is said and done, but let’s get the mandala design set before deciding on embellishments.
Debra 5-9-09: RaNae, I divided my circle into eight wedges. Then I drew a square inside the circle which I then divided into four squares. What I ended up with is a corner to corner symmetry, if you see what I mean. I am waiting to start trying out colors until I know if this design is acceptable. You will also notice that instead of putting spirals in the area between the large square and the edge of the circle, I used radiating lines. Anyway, with this I seem to have managed to “fit a square peg in a round hole”! Thanks for all your patience! If this is to absurd, I will start from scratch again until I get it right!
RaNae: Well, Debra, you seem to be thinking outside the box — while you’re working with a box! This may turn out to be really beautiful or really awkward — I think the coloring will be key. What comes to mind as I look at this is that you would probably want to color it in a way that establishes relationships between the different parts of the design. You have a lot of opportunities here to “weave” your colors, so make them flow in ways that tie the design together. Choose 3 or 4 colors and stick to those — you have so much going on in terms of design that you don’t want to confuse it by using every color in the crayon box.
I also think that you could enhance the design by continuing the flow forms in the area between the square and the circle.
One spot concerns me a little bit — along the center horizontal lines you have a couple of T-joints. You may not need to change the design here, but you should be careful how you use color so that you don’t set up a hard, straight line across the center that interrupts the design.
In terms of symmetry, what you’ve done is create 4 different wedges that make half the design, then repeat those 4 different wedges as a group in rotational symmetry to create the other half of the design. So, to put the precise technical term on it, you’ve done 4-wedge compound rotational symmetry. How’s that for a mouthful? It’s a pretty sophisticated approach, one that definitely would stand out from the crowd, if you can color it successfully.
Debra 5-14-09: RaNae, here is a design I call roses and hydrangeas. The centers are not colored because I am thinking of some fussy cut or other type of embellishment there. I think it is as close as I’ll ever get so please let me know what you think.
RaNae: Please don’t scream, but I think your previous design was more interesting, if you could color it in a way that makes you happy. That said, this one is beautiful too — I’m very happy about the fact that you’re still using rotational symmetry. I know how much you love flowers, and I can see you taking inspiration from them here.
A few things that could bear adjustment are listed below. Small adjustments in coloring should handle most of them:
The black ring in the center clashes with everything else going on in the design. Perhaps change it to a different color?
Your green triangles look like they are in a T-joint with the large spirals above and next to them. At the 9:00 position it looks like you have blended this from purple to green, which softens that hard line between wedges, but in other positions, it’s just a hard line — there’s a split flow form here.
In fact, most of the flow forms in this design are split, so we’re not seeing curves. This tells me that you’re probably still thinking in terms of shapes not flow forms. Is there some way you could color this to show off the flow forms more, while still keeping the leaves and flowers?
You’re close. I’d like to see what you do with these suggestions, and I’d love to see a colored version of the previous design.
Debra 6-25-09: RaNae, I have been drawing and working and my kitchen looks like a paper explosion occurred!
RaNae: Debra, this is lovely. When I look closely at it I can’t see complete spirals in it. Can I see your wedge, and do you have a BW version that I can take a closer look at?
Debra: RaNae, I didn’t save a black/white version but here is a single wedge which is what I started with.
I divided the wedge into three basic sections (actually four with the band denoted with flowers) horizontally. Then I divided the middle section in half vertically. The only portion that I don’t see as a true spiral is the very top where the mandala curves and I just fudged somewhat to continue the flow of the fan going. Then I combined a mirrow image and came up with the design using Kaleidoscope Kreator.
RaNae: Debra, I see the problem. It’s because Kaleidoscope Kreator only used HALF of your wedge, then mirror imaged that. That is why I’m not seeing complete spirals: because they’ve been cut in half.
Would you use a photocopier to make copies of the complete wedge — find one that will copy in both regular and mirror image. Then, place the wedge in mandala form. Because of the way you drew it — you have side nodes in equal position on both sides — you can use it in rotational symmetry or mirror symmetry. Try it in various combinations — look at Ruth Shadar’s page in the last month to see the different combinations of mirror and rotational symmetry that she considered before settling on her final design. Your wedge will do the same thing — very cool!
The other thing that’s not working really well in your wedge is the T-joints. You handled this between the second and third sections by adding the floral sashing. But you still have a one between the first and second sections. Let’s see how this looks when you use the complete mandala. If it still looks awkward then, there are a couple of easy fixes that I can help you with.
I’m a little curious as to why you didn’t go with one of the designs you showed me earlier. Of everything you have done so far, I still think the design of 5-9-09 is your most interesting, and certainly would be one of the more unique designs in the book. It demonstrates symmetry in ways that no one else has, and technically speaking, it is perfectly executed and ready to go. It would look so beautiful in gradations that carry the flow forms over and under one another, and the twisted star in the center is so unique. That one is your best, as far as I’m concerned, and if you’re on the fence, I’d push to over to that side! But ultimately, it’s your decision — do something YOU like!
Keep me in the loop here — that’s what I’m here for.
Debra 6-26-09: How is this, RaNae?
RaNae: Great — still a beautiful mandala, and now the spirals are complete. The T-joints are still there, but the way you have colored them, they make a nice frame around the central star. Since you have colored your flow forms in less flow-y and more kaleidoscope-y ways (in the book this is variegated flow forms), there are a lot of straight lines so the straight lines created by these T-joints blends in with the other straight lines.
Debra: The reason I didn’t go with the 5/9/09 design was that I couldn’t come up with a color scheme I liked. I may go back to it now with a fresh eye and come up with something better.
RaNae: Well, now that this design is on track, it is a good, strong design. It certainly demonstrates some good points for the book, and I would be happy to see you go with it. So let’s leave that 5/9/09 design for another time, and go with this one. Is this the coloring you intend to use? I like the pastels — a nice, soft approach. I love how you always seem to find a way to work within the parameters for my project, yet still find ways to do something uniquely yours!