Saturday, September 5, 2009, I ventured down to Laguna Beach to take my first mandala acrylic painting workshop.
Paul Heussenststamm's studio is about a mile up the road from the coast, in a small brown building along route 133. Arriving an hour early, I drove down to the beach and looked out at the Pacific centering myself before the workshop began. At 10am, I walked into Paul's studio and was greeted with a hug and hello from Paul. There were already 3 other women there. I was told to pick a spot and pick a color to paint my canvas. I chose a pinkish violet color and began giving birth to my first acrylic mandala. This was a different process from mandalas I've created in the past, because we used a design already made. With the help of one of Paul's friends, we marked the center of the canvas and then placed transfer paper and the mandala design I chose onto the canvas. The next step of tracing the design onto the canvas seems to take the most time, especially if you choose a detailed and intricate design. As you trace, it is important to lift the paper to make sure the design is being transferred onto the canvas.
I started painting from the outside of the design and made my way to the center. The nice thing about acrylics is that you can paint over colors if you don't like them, or feel another color would work better, which I did more than once. The original pink seemed to become more pink as I went along and towards the end of completing my mandala I had had enough of pink staring back at me. Though Paul remarked that pink is the color of my soul speaking to me, I found I was not responding to pink and went ahead and painted over it with violet. An outcome I was very pleased with.
Paul's studio is adorned with his sacred art creations from a painting of the Chakra system to Buddha, the lotus and many more spiritual designs. I recommend the workshop to anyone who would like to learn more about mandalas and who enjoys painting. Paul does make his artistic suggestions known and will put a paintbrush to your work if he feels it will be helpful to your piece. That didn't bother me, because I was there to learn, but my art therapy training strongly frowns against touching others' work unless you ask first.
The cost of the workshop is $150 - $125 if you pay in advance and $10 for lunch. Check out www. mandalas.com for more information.