every once in a while, someone will commission me to create a mandala especially for them. i consider this a sacred task, and therefore not one to undertake lightly. usually the request comes with a source of inspiration in mind, as was the case with the one you see here. the lovely woman who commissioned this mandala wanted the mantra, om mani padme hum ("hail to the jewel in the lotus"), to be incorporated into the design in some way. other than that one stipulation, she gave me free reign.
one of the things i love about doing commissioned pieces is that they stretch me, and i learn so much through the process. as preparation for drawing the design, i did some research into the history and meaning of the mantra, and found that it is most often associated with the bodhisattva of compassion. therefore, as i worked on this piece, my focus became compassion - particularly as it pertains to alleviating the suffering of others. i thought of all the times i had been on the receiving end of compassion...mercy...lovingkindness and how much i desired to be on the giving end of extending compassion to others. then each line drawn, each brushstroke painted, each embellishment added, became a prayer.