I began drawing and painting before I could speak. It would be nice to say my art is inspired by lofty ideals, but really it is as much a compulsion built into my nature.

 

The mandalas are free-form energy transmissions. I started painting them during a period of convalescence in 2006. They fall somewhere between intense doodling and my professional experience restoring Tibetan thangkas which include mandalas and other intricate, delicate patterning.

 

The figurative oil paintings are a space and practice which allow me to express experiences I could not otherwise articulate. I have been engaged in this work throughout my entire career as an artist. Demanding to create and sometimes demanding to take in, my oil paintings are closest to my heart.

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After practicing these very different kinds of painting concurrently but separately from one another for many years, in recent years my work had begun to reflect a merging of the two.

 

A word about the Nature Mandalas: In the fall of 2016, I fell broke 2 bones in my right arm while out walking in the snow. The bones were not set properly and a year later after months of being in a cast and then engaging in PT, I still was not able to paint without debilitating hand and wrist pain. Many years ago and over many years, I had amassed a large shell collection that had been sitting in boxes in my basement. When it came time to participate in the annual group show I usually contribute to, I was at a loss as to what to do. It was fall and I began collecting dead things from the woods which I then combined with my some of my sea shells to make the nature mandalas. The gallery owner felt they fit her shop so well she asked me if I would do a whole show of them. I created 37 of what I call Nature Mandalas and showed them from Sept-November of 2018.

 

I have always painted because words do not suffice. I continue painting to honor the memory of my mentor and late husband, the great artist Magnus Johnstone.

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© 2020 by Mango Johnstone