Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm H-A-P-P-Y

Crossing Over (Stacy Wills, 2013)
acrylic on canvas + sacred altering

I'm leaving this year on a high note, and dancing into 2014 with joy in my heart.  I was introduced to this video by Pharrell Williams recently, and I can't stop watching...listening...and dancing all over my kitchen!  It's a round-the-clock mandala of HAPPY!  Enjoy...24 Hours of Happy!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Just Another Mandala Monday...

No "manic Monday" for me...today was one of my "Art in Pajamas" days...relaxed...creative...Happy!

I had seen a video recently (I wish I could remember where!) of a fun, easy way to create mandalas using a square sheet of canvas and acrylic paints, and I was eager to try it for myself.  

Take a square piece of canvas and fold it into  8 sections.  Dab acrylic paints in various colors randomly around the canvas...then start folding and unfolding along your pre-made creases.  Use a brayer to make sure the paints squish and blend well.   Add more paint and repeat the process until the mandala feels complete.

Warning - this is a messy process - so be sure you have your table covered with newspaper or something protective.  Also have a roll of paper towels handy.

And here are  the results!  

Untitled I (Stacy Wills, 2013)
acrylics on canvas, 9" x 9"

Untitled II (Stacy Wills, 2013)
acrylics on canvas, 9" x 9"

Untitled III (Stacy Wills, 2013)
acrylics on canvas, 9" x 9"

They remind me of Rorschach Inkblots.
What do you see???

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Full Circle 2014: A Mandala Calendar by Stacy Wills

It's been a long time coming...but it's finally here...the calendar I've been wanting to do for so long.  I've learned so much from the time the seed for its creation was planted until now, when I can hold this in my hands...and it had to be that way.  There really are no shortcuts in life...at least no shortcuts that lead to a good end.  In December of 2005, I drew my first mandala...never dreaming it would change my life the way it has...but also knowing it saved my life at the time.  I hope that doesn't sound overly dramatic...for I certainly do not mean for it to...it's just that...I know how much I needed/wanted/desired/had-to-have a creative outlet for all that I had bottled up inside of myself for years and years.  There's so much more to the story, and if you ever want to hear it, I'm more than happy to tell it...but that's really not the focus of this post.  Today's post is for celebration...and a "Welcome to the World" moment for this - a calendar featuring 12 of the hundreds  of mandalas I've done over the years:  Coming Full Circle 2014!  I hope you will enjoy seeing what I've put together in this little video...if nothing else, let it be an oasis of centering calm in the midst of your busy day.

If you are interested in purchasing a calendar, please contact me through my website at:  stacywills.com 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Adventures in Experimental Art

Sacred Altering:  Adventures in Experimental Art
by Stacy Wills

I recently shared this on my other blog, but thought I would share it here as well.  It's a little video of my recent experimental artwork.  Most all of the source images came from my existing alcohol inks on yupo, which I then played with digitally - or as I like to call it:  sacred altering.  Sacred altering is about transformation...it is about having taken  something as far as it can go within the scope of one's own natural ability using traditional mediums and then traveling beyond that limitation in a different realm or medium - in this case, digital - to bring forth something entirely new.  For me, it's not so much about trying to debate the merits of  "traditional" ways of art-making with digital ways...but rather, it's about satisfying that creative urge, and finding new ways to create art that speaks on an intuitive level,  allowing  the viewer to decide what it is...or how it makes them feel.    Enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Autumn Movement - a poem from Carl Sandburg

 Experimental Autumn (Stacy Wills, 2013)
created from source image + sacred altering

Autumn Movement

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper, 
sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
new beautiful things come
 in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
and the old things go, not one lasts.

-Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

source image:  Sunrise at Gray Center, Canton, MS  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Art Exhibit in Progress

It has been awhile since I've done an exhibit of my artwork, so I was pleased at how this display came together.  There's a little bit of everything...mandalas, alcohol inks, Citra Solv art, mixed media and tiles.   I also have two of my scrapbooks on hand that people can look through.  One chronicles the progression of my artwork, including the first mandala I ever made back in December 2005.  The other has examples of mandalas from nature and everyday objects,  as well as,  the "sacred circles"  from various cultures and spiritual traditions.   If you're in the Canton, MS area between now and October 8th, I do hope you'll stop by and take a peek.    The exhibit is taking place at the Canton Welcome Center, which is located in the old Trolio Hotel, 141 N. Union Street.  The  Welcome Center is open from 10 - 5 Monday through Friday and from 10 - 2 on Saturdays.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Of Prayer Beads and Mandalas

Recently, I began making Anglican prayer beads.  I've long been fascinated with rosaries, both Catholic and Anglican, as well as malas, and always wanted to learn how to make them.  Finally, I took the plunge.  I found a good resource to guide me, A Bead and A Prayer by Kristen E. Vincent, raided my jewelry chest and set to work.  

I quickly realized that the process of making them was very calming and meditative...very much like the way I feel when creating mandalas.

Choosing the color combinations and size of the beads is another opportunity to exercise a measure of creativity.

Anglican prayer beads traditionally consist of a cross,  an invitatory bead, a resurrection bead (optional) and four cruciform beads.  In between the cruciform beads are four sets of "weeks" beads. 

 There is something so satisfying in the making of these...to know I am creating something that is both beautiful and functional.  Or perhaps it's the fact that I am reconnecting with some of my earliest spiritual longings and leanings.  Whatever it is...I'm going with it...and praying as I go.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On the Importance of Following Breadcrumbs

Communion Batik (Stacy Wills, 2013)
watercolor on canvas + digital (sacred) altering

In my process of what I've come to call, sacred altering - combining traditional mediums with digital technology, I never cease to be amazed by the final outcome.  In the case of this mandala, what started out as watercolor on canvas was transformed into something that reminded me of batik.   I didn't know that much about the actual batik process, so I began to do some google/research.  Well...that led to one of my favorite breadcrumb trails...aka Wikipedia.  This paragraph on the cultural role of batik especially captured my attention:

Batik garments play a central role in certain rituals, such as the ceremonial casting of royal batik into a volcano.  In the Javanese naloni mitoni "first pregnancy" ceremony, the mother-to-be is wrapped in seven layers of batik, wishing her good things.  Batik is also prominent in the tedak siten ceremony when a child touches the earth for the first time.  Batik is also part of the labuhan ceremony when people gather at a beach to throw their problems away into the sea.

Several years ago, on another breadcrumb trail totally unrelated to batik, I had learned about the ceremony of a child touching the earth for the first time, and also another custom known as "lotus birth" which is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after childbirth so that the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord separates naturally - a process that can take anywhere from 3 to 10 days.  Fascinating stuff!  Of course there is much debate about whether that is a good idea, but that is not my point.

My point is...for me, each piece of art I create, whether it ever makes an appearance in public or not, becomes my teacher...a starting point on  a unique kind of journey I would otherwise never have taken.  My own "road less traveled."    I follow breadcrumb trails into forests I never would have known about otherwise - the kind you don't  find on a map.  I become acquainted with countries and customs and more than a few characters I might have missed out on.

The things I learn may seem esoteric...obscure...even useless to some...but to me they are things worth knowing, because in them, I hear echoes - faint, yet distinct hints of something I can't always quite put my finger on, but  I know, nevertheless,   is important.  It's another piece of the puzzle in place, another dot connected...which brings me back to "batik" - which comes from the Javanese words:  amba ("to write") and titik ("dot" or "point").  It's ok...it makes sense in my world. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Medicine Wheel: The Evolution of a Mandala

A few months ago, I brought home 4
hubcap "canvases" from Hubcap Heaven.
The first one that sparked my imagination  
was the greasy one in the middle.  Its 
basic design,  already divided into fourths,
 reminded me of a medicine wheel.

After a good scrubbing, I gave it 2 coats 
 of  Valspar  Interior/Exterior Primer in white.

Using Golden Fluid Acrylics, I began painting,  
sticking with  the traditional medicine wheel
 colors of red and yellow, black and white.

I chose turquoise  as the main accent color, 
and kept the overall design clean and simple.

After the painting was complete,  I added
two coats of Krylon UV-Resistant Clear
 Acrylic Coating, and embellished with
 beads, feathers and black leather strips.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just for the Record

Recently, I began painting mandalas on old LP's again.  A few years ago I did several, sold some, donated some, and put the last one I had left in an exhibit at the  Tunica Riverpark & Museum.   (The exhibit runs through August.)

It was a discussion about the benefits of recycling that had me dusting off the old record albums and breaking out the acrylics, crystals and dimensional paint...I even threw in a lid from an empty jar to use as the center.

I had forgotten just how much fun it is to do these.  This is  the first mandala in a series I'm calling:  Just for the Record.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Radiate Joy!

Radiate Joy!  (Stacy Wills, 2013)
The mandala was created using a photograph of a gladiola as the source image.

Just a little "happy" on this last day of May from Rumi and me!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Circles: A Poem by Hafiz

(best viewed in full screen)


The moon is most happy when it is full,
the sun always looks like a perfectly minted gold coin
polished and placed in flight by God's playful kiss.
And so many varieties of fruit hang plump and round.
I see the beautiful curve of a pregnant belly
shaped by a soul within,
and the earth itself.
I have gotten the hint:
There is something about circles the Beloved likes.
Within the circle of a Perfect One
there is an infinite community of light.

-Hafiz (1325-1389)

This is the fourth installment in my Mandala Meditation series, and was inspired by the words from one of my favorite poets, Hafiz.  I enjoy creating and sharing these videos in the hope that they might provide an oasis of beauty and rest in the midst of your busy days. 

The mandalas for this video were created using some of my existing artwork (alcohol inks) as source images. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Pause for Beauty

Everyone needs to take a little break now and then....

The artwork in this video was created using my alcohol ink paintings as source images, with music from Hildegard of Bingen, Vision 1 - The Fire of Creation.  If you are unable to view the video on my blog, you can watch it directly on YouTube at A Pause for Beauty.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Ripen (Stacy Wills, 2013)
digital, mixed media from source image (seen below)

Spring has arrived
and with it comes
the furious planting,
the anxious waiting.
I, too, will plant
 in my own way,
and I will come
forth with new life.
But I will not be hurried.
I will not cast off
Winter's stillness
like an ill-fitting garment.
I will take my time -
my own sweet time...
to ripen.

-Stacy Wills (3/21/13)

Because Her Womb Grew Fruit (Stacy Wills, 2013)
alcohol inks on river rock 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Many Portals

Time and Space (Stacy Wills, 2013)
digital, mixed media from a source image

Hodie Aperuit

Today a closed portal has been opened
that which the serpent suffocated
in the wise-woman
is revealed to us.
Now the flower of the Virgin
is alight in the dawn.

-an Antiphon by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

During this season of Lent, I am traveling with Hildegard of Bingen and a blessed company of kindred spirits, through an online retreat  led by Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts.  Creative expression is an important part of this journey, and  I hope to share here some of  the art that  is bubbling up  in me as a result.   As it so happens, it feels as though many portals are opening all at once in my life right now!

Although I knew of Hildegard because of  her connection with mandalas, I truly "met" her for the first time this past year during another Abbey retreat, Women on the Threshold, and came to appreciate more fully the scope of her vision and understanding.    The visual meditation, Creation Two Ways, was inspired by her.

Time and Space was created using the alcohol ink painting below as a source image.

    Bubbling Up  (Stacy Wills, 2013)
3" x 4" alcohol inks on yupo

Here is a recording of Hildegard's beautiful antiphon:  Hodie Aperuit  
(As you listen, I invite you to click on Time and Space for an enlarged view.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Awaken My Heart

O, You who are ever
giving life to all life,
moving all creatures,
root of all things,
washing them clean,
wiping out their mistakes,
healing their wounds,
You are our true life -
luminous, wonderful,
awakening the heart
from its ancient sleep.

-Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)