Mandalas of Galiano Island, August 2008

AUGUST 2 – 30


I sit quietly in the garden listening to the birds – they are the predominant sound, that, and the breeze in the bushes, trees and grasses. Paradise on Galiano – we all know it well. And we know the cycle of life we see around us, the old friends leaving, the newborns, the fawn at the edge of the woods, the tide coming in and going out. What is Galiano? The endless summer days, the closeness with nature, the beach, the seed in the ground, growing?

I approached my work with this in mind this year. Beginning with a commission to paint one mandala in 2005, I have now been exploring and creating my own in the last few years. Traditional mandalas are symmetrical, with decorative designs that are used as a point of focus in meditation. They can be really simple or complex and the symbols and shapes used in repetition cause new patterns to emerge.

This year I began with studies for the mandalas, then moved into the larger, more complex pieces. I wanted to create imagery with an intuitive kind of knowing. I began allowing shapes to appear in my drawings, then making templates which I applied to the canvas. Symbols for love, like hearts, appeared and the inverted triangle, which I learned, symbolizes the divine life-force streaming from the heavens to the earth below. Seeds and flower clusters, for growth, and symbols for time passing and eternity, like the mobius strip, emerged. Also the landscape of Galiano made its way onto the canvas.

I have read that true mandalas, ones created through the intuitive wisdom of the unconcious, are symbolic representations of love – love that is the essence of all. Creation arises through love and is sustained by love. Painting mandalas is precise, rigorous work, taking many long hours. My experience of painting this work has been like having a series of long meditations. I have felt a deep sense of harmony and beauty as I have quietly painted away, continuously repeating colourful strokes that build on each other and reverberate the interconnectedness between all things. And now the painting is done and it is time to share this work with everyone. I hope that viewers can experience some of the sensations of peace and beauty I experienced while doing this work.

Michael MacLean – Sculpture

Welcome Everyone ! I’m very happy to invite you all to the Insight Gallery to see my new sculptures. Tish kindly invited me to show with her this August because we both feel the reverberation of ancient traditions in our very contemporary work. I’ll be showing at least four new sculptures in stone and wood. The most recent is a figure in ice white alabaster with inlays of black pearl and cubic zirconias. A 30 inch red mahogany work is embellished with 23karat gold leaf and rests on a silver plated bronze base ! I’ve been very busy this year, not only sculpting here on the island but as a sculptor for a water park company in Vancouver, doing snow geese for St. petersburg, a huge cobra for Pennsylvania, and a 7 ft. water goddess for Denmark. So I’ll have a book of photos set out for you of all the work that won’t fit in my van.You may already know my work from the marble and granite badger in the Galiano cemetary or the carved post at the information booth. So come feast your eyes and spirits!

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