Botanical Mandalas and other Inspirations

I've been continuing to think about the nature of blogs and blogging and what I want for this space as well as things like branding, marketing and the way Instagram has changed (see the great discussion on this Instagram post). And although I want to continue the conversation here with you, I'm not going to talk about any of that today. Instead I thought I'd share a few fun inspirations.

One of the things I loved about my Artist Interviews and Sketchbook Conversations was being able to introduce you to people I find inspiring while also (I hoped) giving them a small bit of support. I believe that we're all in this together and it's important to give encouragement and support, lifting each other up in whatever ways we can. Sometimes that may be financial, but it doesn't have to be.

I'll get off my soapbox now and on to the inspirations! :)

Just about a year ago I interviewed Louise Gale here on my blog. At that time Louise was working on a book project. And now that book has been published!

In the glimpses she shared (see them here), it was clear that Louise had poured her heart and soul into this book and I knew it would be filled with inspiration. I'd never drawn mandalas before but the concept and her focus on using botanical motifs (and sometimes even botanical materials) intrigued me.

I ordered a copy and couldn't wait to dive in.

mandalas, nature, natural materials, found objects, botanical mandala, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

With family visiting, garden projects and work, I haven't had a lot of time to spend with the book, but I did take it with me out to the garden over the weekend.

Louise Gale, Botanical Mandalas, Garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Louise's introduction resonated with me:

"Being in nature and noticing the beauty in every tiny detail of life is the most natural way to live in the present moment," she writes.

roses, Therese Bugnet, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

"As an artist, when I first landed on the new shores of southern Spain, I felt lost without my art supplies and a dedicated space in which to create. The universe soon showed me that the world was my art studio and nature, my materials. All I had to do was see with my new eyes and listen with my heart. I spent my morning beach walks gathering natural found objects and creating little temporary temples in the form of nature mandalas. As part of this morning ritual, I also found myself feeling more relaxed, calmer and in tune with myself and the natural world around me."*

I sat in my garden reading Louise's words and felt so inspired and connected. That she brought this project into the world filled me with joy. In my garden maple seeds were twirling to the ground, blown from a neighbor's tree. They caught my attention and inspired me to create the mandala you see at the top of this post. Its fleeting nature seems significant.

nature, seeds, natural found objects, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Thanks to Louise's book, as I looked around me I began to see mandalas everywhere. Not just the shapes created by me, but shapes created by nature.

mandalas, tree stump, nature, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Mandalas, as Louise points out in the book, are everywhere in the natural world.

mandalas in nature, lettuce, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'm sure once you start looking, you'll see them, too.

clematis, garden, flowers, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

From simple shapes to complex.

peonies, flowers, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It's awe inspiring to think about and it made me itch to create more of my own.

Being new to mandala-making, I began at the beginning, trying Louise's Mandala Drawing Warm-Up using a process she calls Doodle and Grow a Mandala.

Louise Gale, Botanical Mandalas, Mandala Drawing Warm Up, Sketchbooks, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Before I tried this I was sure that I would need to by a compass (and do a lot of math) in order to construct a mandala. In truth it was surprisingly easy to do!

Louise Gale, Botanical Mandalas, Mandala Drawing Warm Up, Sketchbooks, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I did start by drawing some circles (tracing the bottom of a vase) but I probably didn't even need to do that. My mandalas aren't perfect, but perfection isn't the point. The process is meditative and it was fun to watch the forms take shape one bit at a time.

I have only made my way through a very tiny fraction of the book, but I'm excited to figure out a way to fit a simple mandala practice into my days.

If you have ever wanted to try creating mandalas (using all sorts of materials and techniques), get your hands on a copy of Louise's book!

Before I go off to water my garden I wanted to share a couple more bits of inspiration which, as synchronicity would have it, Louise is a part of.

I love getting glimpses into other artists' studios and so I was delighted to be able to find Your Creative Work Space at the library.

Your Creative Work Space, books, Desha Peacock

The book, written by Desha Peacock of Sweet Spot Style features work spaces of many different creatives including Louise Gale. It's a lovely book filled with lots of inspiration and looking through it has me dreaming of updates to my own creative space (you know I'm always tinkering with it).

Earlier this week Lisa Estabrook, another of the artists I interviewed here, mentioned that she's one of over 20 creatives who are part of a free online event hosted by Jennifer Currie. This event, Creative Soul Series, is all about manifesting your dreams and empowering yourself as a creative soul. It begins on June 5th and runs for 21 days. I couldn't find a list of all the people involved, but Louise Gale is one of them. Jennifer sent me the list of speakers for the event:

Day 1:  Laura Horn
Day 2:  Clara Wisner
Day 3: Cathy Nichols
Day 4:  Revital Carroll
Day 5: Melissa Partridge
Day 6: Jessica Reid
Day 7:  Leslie Helpert
Day 8: Elizabeth Pfeiffer
Day 9: Carrie Schmitt
Day 10:  Rebecca Campbell
Day 11: Sarah Marie Thompson
Day 12:  Suzi Banks Baum
Day 13:  Jeralyn Glass
Day 14: Louise Gale
Day 15: Aleya Dao
Day 16:  Tamara Laporte
Day 17:  Lisa Estabrook
Day 18: Christina Cross
Day 19: Laura C. George
Day 20: Narayani Gaia
Day 21: Marya Stark

Ok, I'm off to water my seedlings. What are you up to this weekend?

*From the Introduction of Botanical Mandalas: Draw, Paint and Create Expressive Mandala Art Inspired by Nature


  1. Thank you so much dear Anne for your lovely post about my book! I am so happy to hear you are being inspired and loved seeing your doodles from the exercises and beautiful nature mandala too. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book. See you on Instagram my friend. xxx

    1. Thank YOU, Louise for the beauty, encouragement and inspiration you share with the world. Keep shining your light.



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