One of my new favorite things is to take photos of trash and turn them into mandalas.
I love the idea of transformation, turning junk into something beautiful. It is a sign for changing the planet and changing our lives as well. I pick up the trash after the photos too so it helps the environment in a more practical sense too.
I plan on making this an ongoing series called Pick up trash! Make art!
The first candidate is a wrapper from a nature valley granola bar.
I especially love the delicate pattern the lines and small debree in the mud make in contrast to the bold shape of the wrapper. I brought this out even more with the antique gold version.
For this next variation of the nature valley wrapper, I got rid of the details but left the color.
The more I play around with modify images the more intuitive the process becomes. The mandalas often take on a mystical feel and certain theme seem to repeat themselves. Fire is a theme that seems to come up repeatedly.
Next in the series: I have both Coke and Dr. Pepper. I have plastic bags, potato chips bags and scraps of paper.
So far I just have one document there with the two pages you see here. I have more mini mandalas I will be uploading in few days, about 5 more pages worth. I noticed there were lots of other mandalas for coloring on Lulu. If you like coloring mandalas, search (mandala, coloring) on Lulu and you will find a large selection.
Don’t stress the small spaces! Some of the spaces on some of the mandalas are a little too small to color unless you are using media with a fine point and have very good small moter skills. Just leave them white or color the same color as the spaces next to them.
The mandalas were made with the Pattern Pie software and shrank to 2 inches. Pattern Pie is a fun software, but only makes low ppi mandalas of around 4 inches. Even at 4 inches they look fuzzy printed out. Shrinking them to two inches makes them much less fuzzy on the edges.
Instead of putting all my pictures in one very large mandala gallery, I am making medium sized themed mandala galleries. I was going to make them all 30 pictures or less, but there were 32 pictures in my first theme gallery, so now I am saying 35 or less for my theme galleries.
My original mandala gallery
will stay up, but I am not adding any more to it.
I just finished my first one: Beauty from trash.
Here is a preview. Please click on the link for the full collection.
I am doing away with the “no duplicates” plan. The announcements of new galleries will have some pictures that are in my galleries. The blog will still contain some new mandalas that are not going into them galleries.
I am coloring my mandalas. Technically I am coloring in the photo I used for my mandalas.
I took the sidewalk crack from the last set of mandalas and colored it with gradient fill on Photoshop Elements.
And the same photo with gradient mapping on Photoshop Elements.
Both photos used the same gradient, deep sea.
Clean unbroken sidewalks are kind of boring. Old sidewalks with cracks and stray bits of things on them are interesting. The banks of the Potomac River has sidewalks with character. They have huge cracks and large chunks of the sidewalks have been washed away. The river sometimes washes over them filling the cracks with water. Small bits from the trees rest on the sidewalks as well.
From this image I get a set of beautiful, subdued mandalas. Little bits of color from the trees stand out against the gray.
See more sidewalk crack mandalas on Ilah’s Mandala Gallery (in the links).
Go to my Mandala Gallery to see more mandalas. (See the links on the side.)
The mandalas were taken from this photo:
The bridge is located in Washington, DC between the tidal basin and east potomic park.
Photos with strong straight lines tend to make mandalas with star shapes, pentagons, hexagons and other polygons. I generally play around a little bit with the image to make sure the points are not cut off my shapes. The stars and polygons don’t always fill up the whole circle. I tend to select mandala where they do.
Some photos generate the potential for more distinct mandalas than others. If the picture does not have a lot of different elements, like the first set with the pipes, many of the mandalas start to look very similiar. Other photos, like graffiti bridge, with the sky, the trees, the street, the car, and two distict sides to the bridge, generate more distinct possibilities.
Words in images:
Sometimes it is possible to make out an original word in the finished mandalas. You can see “nick” in several of the mandalas. You could probably make out more if the people creating the graffiti wrote their names more clearly. Even when I capture a clear name in the mandala, every other slice is a mirror image, so out the most only half looks like recognizable words. But interesting things happen to the words. As letters are cut at odd places and mirrored to each other, the words become an abstract design. Sometimes the words a bit like they may be part of a foreign language or strange mystic symbols.
About the original picture:
My first mandala series posted is from a photo of two large pipes. It is one of many photos I have taken in the DC area on my lunch break at work. The pipes are from the side of the “south building.” This building was built for offices for the US Department of Agriculture to supplement the original building, which is called the Whitten Building. The south building is right across the street (to the south) from the Whitten buidling.
About the mandala designs:
Using base images dominated by curves often gives a flower petal look to the images. The more slices used in the mandala program the more petals are in the final image. Every other slice is reversed so each petal is actually made up of two slices. Because the main image shows two pipes side by side, it is possible to get two petals out of a pair of slices (like in image #1) but this is an exception.
Starting with an image with strong curves lends a softness to the picture, even one with a very industrial theme. The softness of the design and the hardness of the material make for an interesting combination. Even with an image that is all curves, there are often still strong points where the slices meet.
Just starting with lots of curves does not always mean soft flower petal shapes. Sometimes you get stronger lines like this.
Patten Pie and Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 can both give very different looks for the same base image, even if the same size slice is used. This is because Pattern Pie only uses a fairly small portion of the picture [it is cut just like you would cut a slice of pie from a rounded version of your image] where Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 tries to use as large a piece as it can out of the image. This is another reason why I like to do images from both programs.
Go to my photo blog (see the links section) to see more mandalas.
For my digital mandalas, I am currently using two programs: The Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 and Pattern Pie.
Both are very easy to use and can create mandalas fairyly quickly.
Pattern Pie is the first mandala program I picked up. It is fun and easy to use. It creates a mandala from a “slice of pie” shaped wedge from your picture. There is a large variety of slice sized to choose from for dramatically different looks. You can also rotate the slice around your picture to create different mandalas. Pattern Pie also has an auto rotate option where you can watch the mandalas change as the slice rotates around the picture.
A scribble options lets you create mandala made from lines you scribble on the canvas. These pictures turn out suprisingly nice. You can’t tell from looking that the pictures are made from scribbles.
The downside is that the mandalas are small and fairly low resolution. It is good enough resolution to put online – if you don’t try to increase the size – but not good for printing. The smaller mandalas on my gallery are from pattern pie.
Overall it is a good program if printing your mandalas is not important to you. At only $12 it is well worth the price.
A scribble mandala from Pattern Pie. These are generated from scribbles you make in the program.
This is the scribble the mandala was generated from:
The Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0’s major advantage over Pattern Pie is the ability to make mandalas of any size and at a high resolution. You also have the option of making different shaped mandalas, such as square, sun shape, star shape, flower shape, etc. However it does not have as wide a variety of slice sizes as pattern pie. It also does not have the scribble mandala option or the auto rotate option. The finished mandala is only displayed as thumbnail, but you can click it to make it larger. You have more options about where to place the slice. In pattern pie the tip of the slice is always at the center, but with the Kaleidoscope Kreator you can place it anywhere it your picture.
I tend to focus on things many people pass by, cracks in the sidewalk, manhole covers, brick wall, handrails. I find beauty in the color and patterns of these ordinary things. Lately I have been using some of these items to make mandalas. Many of my mandalas feature parts of the urban landscape and every day items. I use my mandalas to bring out the hidden beauty all around us. I still do some mandalas of conventionally pretty things like flowers and leaves, but my main focus is urban mandalas and industrial mandalas.
One of my urban photos: