INTRICATE. Colorful. Fascinating.
Primavera "Daye" Dequito's Mandala will surely catch anyone's attention because of these things.
Mandala, known to be a symbol of faith in Buddhism and Hinduism, has evolved into an art form which the modern time has embraced.
Daye explained further explained that it is the Sanskrit word for circle.
"A circle in Hinduism and Buddhism represents the Universe but may also symbolize totality or completeness," she added.
According to Daye, her fascination towards this art form emanated from the fact that as a circular pattern, "'the circle with the center' is such a simple shape yet so powerful."
By starting out with just a single dot on the paper, one will be amazed at the endless possibilities of shapes and forms that can be created or combined. Accordingly, it's like a complex cell structure encapsulated in a tiny seed that's waiting to grow into a flower or tree and you, as its creator, get to decide on how big or intricate it would look in the end.
"I have drawn almost a hundred Mandalas on paper, boards and canvases and I haven't repeated any of my designs yet. Another reason why Mandalas appeal to me because I get to play with colours," she said. "It is fun to see how unconventional colour combination can look good together like orange and purple if placed strategically."
With art appreciation being innate in her family, it seems natural for Daye to create awesome masterpieces, which will definitely sit well in one's living room, dining room or even in the bedroom.
"My late father wanted to be a comic illustrator but was discouraged by his uncle who shouldered his education to become a Ship Captain," the Davao-based Mandala artist quipped.
Named after "Primavera" of Italian painter Sandro Botticelli, she revealed that her brothers are good artists as well with their eldest winning several poster-making competitions back in the school days. Their youngest, meanwhile, is currently a home-based graphic designer, who is helping me set up her future blog site.
Despite the various Mandala arts she has already sold and the artist being innate to each member of their family, Daye still considers herself an amateur. Amid this, though, she pointed out that it is her heart for her chosen genre that has enabled her to create amazing pieces.
"I am a self-taught, amateur Mandala artist who specializes in freeform or freestyle Mandala which basically means that my rendition of a Mandala deviates from traditional designs such as those created by the Tibetan monks and the Hindus. In the context of religion, their Mandala is intended for spiritual offerings or invocation and are rich in symbols while mine are made spontaneously with pens and acrylic paint with no preconceived design and color combination in mind," she narrated.
She likewise shared that she likes to use pens because it allows her to come up with more details, while acrylic painting gives her that satisfaction.
"I actually did not see myself getting so involved with drawing and painting Mandalas up until three or four years ago when there was a proliferation of 'Therapeutic' Adult Coloring Books," she said.
However, after joining the bandwagon, she observed that the novelty wore as quickly as it started. As a result, she decided to create her own patterns to color during her downtime and found it more cathartic as opposed to enhancing someone else's artwork.
"It was also through this creative process when I realized that I was reconnecting with my life-long fascination for circular patterns or artworks that are commonly found on old Spanish floor tiles and stained windows of an old church or ancestral house," she recalled.
When asked for some tips for those who might want to explore this art form, she had this to say, "My tip for those who wanted to make Mandala is first, be open minded and explore your creativity. Do not be afraid of experimenting with shapes, form and colours."
"Second, let the patterns of your Mandala unfold naturally. The design may not please you at first but gradually the colours may change and the shapes will come into harmony."
"Third, focus on the journey and not on the destination. And forth, pursue higher learning with the masters if you want to elevate your art skills and apply it on," she said.
Apart from having sold art pieces to lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses and corporate employees, Daye also holds workshops for students, mother and child tandems, couples and cousins.
"My youngest participant was seven years old and my oldest was somewhere between 60 to 65 years old," she said. "They have varying degree of art skill levels but each and every one of them has shown admirable qualities from intuitive to inquisitive which made up for a successful workshop."
Is it still possible for someone who doesn't have drawing skills to learn Mandala art?
"I think anyone with elementary level drawing skills and has patience for drawing repetitive patterns can create their own meaningful Mandalas. Personally, Mandala appealed to me because, especially for a beginner or an untrained artist like me, it is not as intimidating as drawing or painting realistic portraits or still life," she noted.
To see more of Daye's "visual delights," she can be followed on Instagram: Veradeek274.
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Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 26, 2017.
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