Sydney Schley: Something Peaceful
After losing my brother to suicide, feeling calm became foreign to me for some time. I was introduced to the practice of drawing mandalas during the most difficult time in my life. A time when anxiety dominated all of my thoughts and actions. Not only did creating this art help me find calm again, it helped me find a deeper connection with my brother with each line, curve, and shade.
Mandalas are an ancient form of art. Traditionally, they serve as important tools for practices like meditation. Drawing a mandala is a meditative exercise. Each piece takes about 20 hours to complete. I consider this time a prolonged meditation. A disposition of tranquility is often achieved through the repetitive movement.
Each mandala starts in pencil with one circle made with a compass. Then, smaller circles are added to produce the layers you see. From the center, radiating lines are drawn using a protractor and ruler. With this foundation, the process of connecting lines, creating shapes, and filling in details with fine point pens begins. I utilized optical illusions to further emphasize the mind-altering power of these artforms. I also relied exclusively on black and white to incite feelings of balance and coolness.
As you view these works, I hope observing the intersecting lines, uniformity, and repetition bring you a feeling of calm. I also hope you can see the struggle captured within them. The struggle to give rise to something beautiful out of ugliness; something peaceful out of tragedy.
About the Project
- Title of Work: Something Peaceful
- Medium: This project is a collection of ten hand-drawn mandalas. Right now, they are on 9x11 paper and they will be framed.
- Student's Name: Sydney Schley
- Major: International Studies (Environmental Studies)
- Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2022
- Hometown: Clinton, Missouri
- Student's Mentor: Deborah Huelsbergen
- Mentor's Department: Visual Studies