When to take a pair of scissors to your mandala.


What do you do when you are working on a mandala and you love one part but there are elements that simply don’t work in the design?

I faced that challenge this last week when I was working on this Squaring the Circle mandala. I loved the center sections with the lotus flowers but felt like the outside petal motif was unbalanced, busy, and took away from the serenity of the center. It was an idea that just didn’t work.

Sometimes when this happens, I cut my losses, learn from them, and start over.

Not this time.

This time, I “cut my wins.” Since the center was an easy save, I pulled out a pair of scissors and cut it out. On a fresh piece of paper, I redrew the circle and outer sections.


Here you can see how I carried the semicircle with lotus motif to the outer section. With a little glue the mandala came together beautifully.

Ahhhhh, now that feels much better.

I’ve been posting a series of Squaring the Circle mandala motifs on my new True North Arts pages on Facebook and Instagram in response to a comment from Roberta Warshaw, “I like this mandala design too but I have a hard time figuring out what to put inside.”

I hear this a lot from people who are starting out creating mandalas. To spark some creativity in myself and others, I thought I’d create ten mandalas with the same layout and vary each day how I finish it. Ten mandalas in ten days.


Meanwhile, I was invited to have two pieces of my mandala art on display at Yoga Balance in Manchester, NH. I decided to create a companion mandala using the same basic layout but used blue in place of the green.

Another way to explore a design concept is to create a series where you vary the colors.


Compare and contrast these two mandalas and you’ll find some subtle variations between these two.


Here they look in the waiting area at Yoga Balance.


They seem to be right at home here.


I’m quite fond of the crisp white mat and simple black frame. The colors look striking.


A note about the Squaring the Circle design.

I love the Squaring of the Circle motif because it is not only easy to draw but it has a balanced, calming feeling to it. Why? The squares offer a very grounded, solid design where the circles, flowers, and other design elements feel held together. They don’t float around. It’s a well balanced design.

As you look at these mandalas, imagine you are standing in the center, “four square.” This mandala is about knowing where you stand and deciding which direction you are heading. You can keep doing what you are doing or move forward by starting something new.

How about you? Where do you stand with your mandala practice?

Learn how easy it is to draw the Squaring of the Circle in my online Mandala Drawing I course.

Visit Yoga Balance in Manchester, NH to see my artwork on display during the month of May.

Looking for something new to try? Check out my new Soul Journey Mandala series. Each lesson includes a guided meditation, an art activity, and journal prompts. Try the first lesson for free.

Join the Sharing Circle a free membership community for mandala enthusiasts.

2 thoughts on “When to take a pair of scissors to your mandala.”

  1. Just this past weekend I rescued the center of a mandala gone awry 😍
    I also followed your lead Kathryn as I was drawing a mandala two weeks ago and made copies of it so I could experiment with drawing different patterns in the blank spaces and using different color combinations as well. That was on my list of things I wanted to explore. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been registered for the Color Classes since December and have put it on the back burner to simmer as I concentrated on becoming more comfortable drawing. Seriously, when I started this mandala journey October 2017 I was starting from scratch … no drawing skills. I bought Kathryn’s book and signed up for the October Mandalafest. LOVED BOTH!!! I also joined an online group,that focuses on mindful pattern drawing. These two practices are wonderful, and for me, each enhances the other beautifully. I’ve gained some confidence in my line work and love exploring these meditative practices. This month’s challenges, squaring the circle and using inspiration from Mexico to design mandalas, will be the perfect time for me to learn more about color and play with different color schemes.

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