Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Each mandala I create has a life of its own.
It begins, as many lives do,  with an intention
and the planting of a seed.

A mandala in its embryonic form, holds
the promise of what is to come.

The gestation period varies, but always

I know when transition hits…the final few pushes

that must come before a mandala's birth
always lead to...
a time of joyous celebration!

"Any Way You Slice It" came into this world
at 9:36 am on 11/14/14
(20" x 20" mixed media on canvas)

And naturally, what follows next...

is the afterbirth,
with a beauty and a purpose all its own.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Dance

The Dance (Stacy Wills, 2014)
alcohol inks on yupo  4" x 6"

Circles, wheels, light on light, 
a dance of invisibles.

-Dorothy Walters 
(from her poem, The Abundance of Brightness)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Adventures in "Touch Drawing"

This past week, I've been getting my studio at Allison's Wells back in order after repairs were done to fix a leak.  When I was finished, I decided to try my hand at Touch Drawing, an intuitive drawing process developed by Deborah Koff-Chapin.  I had heard about Touch Drawing a year or so ago and have been eager to try it, but had not had the opportunity until now.  There is much I need to learn, but I wanted to share what I've done thus far…

Happy Face (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics on craft paper

Day 1...This was my first attempt…using acrylic paint (not recommended!) that I had applied too thickly  onto the glass.  The "happy face" that came through though was exactly how I was feeling about having my studio back in working order!

Spirit Dance (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics and NuPastels on craft paper

Day 2…try, try again!  This time I used a more fluid type of acrylic paint  and got a better result.  (Acrylics are generally not a good medium for touch drawing as they tend to dry too quickly; water mixable oil colors are best.)   I  added the color later using pastels.  As I was coloring it, I still could not say exactly what this is a picture of, but the name, "Spirit Dance" came to me.  Looking at it now, I think it could be interpreted in many ways…in the moment of drawing, however, the feeling was one of freedom…of moving with abandon…of energy spiraling up from deep within seeking release.

 Blue Moon (Stacy Wills, 2014)
acrylics and NuPastels on craft paper

I'm still trying to get the hang of putting the  right amount of paint onto the surface of the glass.  Blue Moon actually was a "failed" attempt at touch drawing.  When I pulled the paper away, it was pretty much one blue blob!   I thought perhaps I could salvage it  by creating a mandala out of it, so I drew a circle and waited.  There were two very small, faint marks that I could detect from my original  touch drawing - the sharp slants of the eyes - I started there and a face began to emerge.  As I was working, I was listening to the audible version of Barbara Brown Taylor's book, Learning to Walk in the Dark.  I was listening to the last few chapters where she describes a cave sitting experience and also a visit to Chartres Cathedral to walk the labyrinth.  That led to some moon stories…and...well…I think you get the idea.  Creating while listening to the spoken word…be it a book read aloud, a lecture, sermon  or interview…is my favorite way of doing art.  It serves as a form of lectio divina, where the art I'm making becomes the response to what I'm hearing…it becomes my  prayer.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mandalations and Creative R & R

"Mandalations" (Stacy Wills, 2014)
alcohol inks on ceramic tile, 4" x 4"

I have been incredibly busy this spring...and have really neglected my blogs, which I'm not too happy about.  Hopefully, I will be able to establish a workable rhythm and get back to some proper blogging.  Even in the midst of a hectic schedule, however, I still feel the need for some creative R&R.  I get itchy...and twitchy...if I'm not able to create.  So this afternoon I was able to enjoy a few uninterrupted hours in the studio experimenting with putting alcohol ink into some of my water brushes.  It allows for more control than I've ever had with this medium which made it fairly easy for  me to make this  simple mandala.  It's still a work in progress - like most good things in life are - but I'm pretty pleased with the direction it's heading.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To Understand Easter...

Resurrection Dance (Stacy Wills, 2014)
watercolor on paper + sacred altering

"To understand Easter and live it, we must renounce
 our dread of newness and freedom."

-Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Monday, March 31, 2014

"Peace" - A poem by Sara Teasdale

Peace (Stacy Wills, 2014)
watercolors on paper + alcohol inks + sacred altering


Peace flows into me
As the tide to the pool by the shore;
It is mine forevermore,
It ebbs not back like the sea.

I am the pool of blue
That worships the vivid sky;
My hopes were heaven-high,
They are fulfilled in you.

I am the pool of gold
When sunset burns and dies,
You are my deepening skies,
Give me your stars to hold.

-Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rekindling a Daily Mandala Practice

Rekindling a daily mandala practice has been such a gift.  As I wrote in my last post, it began with my participation in Judy Shintani's creative project - 12 Mandalas in 12 Days.

Now, I'm keeping a small art journal...
and creating a mandala (4" in diameter or less) each day,
 using my chosen tools of a compass, pencil, permanent marker,
 a pan of watercolors and my favorite Niji waterbrush.

The process is very calming and  centering and takes an hour or less to do.

You could say it's just my way of  "checking in -
to see what condition my condition is in."

Here's a little slideshow I put together that shows some of February's mandalas...enjoy!

If you are unable to view it here on the blog, you can watch it on YouTube here.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

12 Mandalas in 12 Days Project - January

"Happy" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(acrylic on watercolor paper + sacred altering)

At the beginning of 2014, I decided to take part in 12 Mandalas in 12 Days - a creative project put together by California artist, Judy Shintani.  Judy invited us to make one mandala a day for 12 days using any media we chose, and then post that mandala on a designated Facebook page along with a word connected with our mandala.  Our own 12 mandalas would then represent the  twelve months of 2014.  "Happy" was my first mandala of the set.  The project attracted enthusiastic mandala makers from all over the United States, and beyond.   After the initial 12 mandalas were created, many of us didn't want the experience to end.  Judy graciously and wisely extended  the project, inviting us to go deeper with the process by creating 4 more mandalas each month using the original one for that month as inspiration.  The four mandalas below were inspired by "Happy" either directly, using it  as a source image, or in spirit, using the bright color palette as my starting point.  Of the four, do you have a favorite?  I do...can you guess which one it is?

 "Light from Light" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(digital mandala using "Happy" as a source image)

 "Lighthouse" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(digital mandala using "Light from Light" as a source image)

 "In Touch" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(3-D mixed media on canvas)

 "Inversion" by Stacy Wills, 2014
(digital inversion using "In Touch" as a source image)