May 28, 2020

Dot Art is my Jam.


Kim Valzania

Y’all, I have a new jam.

Dot art. It’s amazing, and I’m addicted.

My new dot painting hobby has taken me away from Netflix and the excruciating daily grind of worrying about absolutely everything! It’s nudged into the sunniest corner of my house, where I’ve created a relaxing, peaceful vibe—a place where I can just chill out for a bit, drink an ice cold beer, play some soft, indie folk music, and concentrate on my designs.

When I scroll through my various social media feeds, I am bombarded with advertisements for everything from gimmicky kitchen gadgets and bathing suits I’ll never wear, to comfortable looking tree-hanging tents and line-erasing eye creams I can’t afford.

Recently, I saw several ads for painting mandala designs using specific tools and I was completely enthralled. The finished pieces were vibrantly beautiful, but the activity itself looked quite relaxing and fun—which is something my little heart craves these days.

The concept appears in line with the adult coloring books, that were all the rage just a few years ago. The urge to press some dots into a pretty mandala design was much too strong for me to resist. I remember thinking, “This is exactly what I need in my life, and I want it right now!”

I turned my nose up at the coloring book trend, because I’m a rebel and the thought of staying inside someone else’s lines infuriated me. A coloring book?! Please. I’m a grown woman, damn it! When it comes to art, I am a free spirit and I want dots!

Okay, that statement is a bit over the top, but the truth is this particular artistic endeavor appealed to me aesthetically, and it seemed easy, as in any chump (like me) could pull it off. How hard could it be to paint dots in a uniform pattern? I may be a complicated person, but I do like me some easy art.

Since I couldn’t withstand the expert marketing ploy of colorful creativity coming at me at warp speed, I promptly ordered a whole boatload of supplies. Brushes, acrylic paints in every color of the rainbow, including the coveted metallics, and all the weird plastic dotting tools with the big (and little) balls on the ends. I even shelled out some dough for a box of smooth rocks, and two dozen round, wooden discs (don’t tell my dad) with twine ties.

I watched YouTube tutorials like it was my job, and let me tell you, there is a whole world of dot artists out there filming themselves painting Mandala’s just doin’ their thang. Who knew?

Try this easy dot art tutorial if you’re interested.

Here’s what I love about it:

1. It doesn’t take a lifetime to complete a piece. Nothing gathers dust in a corner due to lost interest. Forty-five minutes to an hour, and viola, it’s done! Seriously. It’s the perfect “working from home” lunch break activity. Bonus: finished pieces make wonderful, homemade gifts!

2. It’s an outlet for creative expression. It’s something pretty to put somewhere around the house without embarrassment (my garden, a windowsill, a flower pot).

3. It doesn’t require space, and any cozy corner will do. Outside on a beautiful day is best!

4. There is a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when it’s finished. These are two things my soul needs to thrive in these uncertain times.

5. Mistakes do not matter. Well, they matter a little, but less than one might think. If the dots look relatively uniform, the piece comes out okay. For real. Also, true mistakes can be fixed quickly and easily with the swipe of a damp tissue.

6. There are many easy to follow patterns and ideas out there, but much like life itself, the thrill usually comes when we follow our own unique heart and mind.

7. Straying from the original plan inevitably happens, and when it does, a whole new piece of art comes together like magic. No decision is wrong!

8. Making the dots feels therapeutic. It puts me in a trance. The good kind that helps me focus and meditate and feel peaceful.

9. The YouTube artists will always be “better” than we are at this, but we can’t be discouraged. With a little time and practice, I’ve learned the techniques quickly.

10. Plain and simple? It’s fun!

What is a mandala? A quick google search yielded the following: “Mandala designs originated in ancient India as spiritual and ritualistic symbols for the universe, and they remain a integral expression of meditation in modern times.”

Oh man, I am completely behind that.

Wikipedia offers, “a mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.”

Sign me up!

Dot art has been around for centuries. Aboriginal art (using dots and lines) is about symbolism, technique, storytelling, iconography, meticulous rules, secrets, and history. It is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression in the world and to be very clear, only Aboriginal artists may produce/create aboriginal art. This is not that.

I love to write. Writing has always been my go-to outlet for decompression, but anyone who writes will tell you that it can be stressful too. When the words don’t come together, or when ideas just aren’t flowing naturally, it becomes a laborious chore.

For me, making mandala dot art is a new way to express myself that also isn’t a mind-bender. It requires a little focus and a steady hand, but that’s about it.

What are you waiting for? Get the tools, the rocks, the paints, and make a little space for your creativity.

You might be surprised by how much you love it.


Kim Valzania

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