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Creative Ways to Paint Mandalas with Maria Mercedes Trujillo

Painting mandalas can be a creative way to relax and focus your concentration through art. Inside this conversation with Maria, you will find out how she discovered the joy of painting, her favorite art supplies and tools, mandala painting tips for beginners.

pink and gold mandalas on stone
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What is a Mandala?

Mandala signifies a “sacred circle or completion” in Sanskrit and comprises of patterns of handmade designs that expand from a center of a mandala.

The art of mandala has been used throughout history and across many religious cultures around the world. It’s also been used as a way to meditate and to relax.

white painted mandalas on stones

Meditative Stone Art Book Review

I had the opportunity to interview Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango back in 2019 about her mandala and nature rock painting art. Keep reading to hear about that interview.

First, I wanted to say the layout of this book is brilliant, I really love the photo table of contents. It made it really easy to find the tutorial of the design.

Maria goes into detail about her favorite art tools and supplies, how to make your own dotting tools, and other helpful rock painting tips.

I thought this book covered everything from beginner to expert level mandalas and nature-inspired designs. With over 40 rock painting designs, she gives lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions for each design. I recommend this book for easy to make mandalas painting projects.

Interview with Maria Mercedes Trujillo Arango, Mandala Artist:

I’m delighted to introduce Maria Mercedes Trujillo, a published Mandala stones artist. Her artwork has been featured in Zen Doodle magazine, The Mandala Guidebook, Homespun magazine, Make your Mark book, Bon Voyage magazine and her very own book, Meditative Mandala Stones. Maria has also been interviewed on several online publications as well.

profilo photo

First of all, tell me a little about your background and how long you’ve been painting stones?

Maria: “By formal training, I’m an MD specialist in Psychiatry and a Psychotherapist. When I moved to New Zealand I didn’t want to go to the registration process to be able to work as a doctor so, after a tough two years of not knowing what I wanted to do MagaMerlina was born.

I am mainly self-taught, I started keeping art journals and drawing in 2000 when I was 35 years old. First, I was drawing from my imagination and inner world, then I started drawing from the outer world or ‘real things’ around 2010. I started painting stones towards the end of 2011.”

watercolor painted butterfly on a rock

I see from your website, that you are from Bogota-Colombia and now lives in New Zealand. That’s a big move. Why did you decide to call New Zealand home?

Maria: “Yes, we came to New Zealand the first time in 1998 because of my husband’s job, he works at the Dental School at the University of Otago, we became New Zealanders but only stayed for four years and went back to Colombia. When we had our daughter, we decided New Zealand was the best place to grow up so we came back for good in 2009.”

gathering stones by a lake

How long have you been painting Mandala stones? What other art mediums do you enjoy doing?

Maria: “I’ve been painting stones since 2011. I also sketch, draw, and paint. My favorite mediums are watercolors, inks, and colored pencils, I use all these mainly in my sketchbooks, I rarely do work for framing. I embroider too, actually, my art journey started with embroidery back in 1998.”

flower painted mandalas and painted in a sketchbook

In your YouTube video, “Mandala Painted Pebble” What tool are you using to create your beautiful mandala stones? 

Maria: “I’m using a dip pen with Hunt 512 nib which it is a drawing nib and my favorite Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Ink.

I see from your portfolio on Instagram that you use a lot of natural elements and mandalas in your artwork. What’s your creative process like?

Maria: “Yes, nature elements and mandalas are what I like to draw and paint. I love flowers and leaves, butterflies and moths, beetles, fish, and shells and mandalas.

Usually, I get inspired by something I see, it can be a form, a color or color combinations, also, I see things and colors in my mind when I’m falling asleep or waking up or when I’m in the shower or in the car. Then, as soon as I can I sketch it or I paint it. Normally I don’t do any preparation, I just jump at it at once, unless I’m doing “proper” botanical art piece which needs a lot of preparation.”

bug painted stone

What’s your workspace setup like?

Maria: “I’m very lucky to have my own “painting room”. I work in a small wooden table made by one of my great grandfathers and I have one of those old tea tables with wheels to put things I’m using. I also have a small cabinet for storing all my tools and supplies and secretary desk for the computer and more storage. I have a comfy chair for reading and snoozing and a few bookcases full of book, gifts, stones, seeds, shells, and stuff.”

desk with art tools

What’s your favorite art supplies and tools to use?

I prefer using acrylic inks than acrylic paints because they have the perfect consistency for my style of painting, my favorites are Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Inks and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Inks.

My favorite tools are dip pen or nib holder with Hunt 512 nib, small round brushes size 0, 1, 2 and 3 and wooden sticks.

When I started painting stones back in 2011, the only tools I could find that were being used were brushes and acrylic paints. I couldn’t get the fine results I wanted especially for the fine line work in my mandalas so I started experimenting with tools which are not meant to be used on stones like technical pens/Rapidographs, dip pens, fine liners, markers, and inks. It seems like I started a trend!”

What is Acrylic Ink?

Acrylic ink is a water-based, high-pigmented permanent ink that can be used to create watercolor effects to strong intense colors. Like watercolor, acrylic ink can be mixed wet to blend colors. Acrylic inks are fast drying like acrylic paints and you can also layer colors when dry without muddying the colors together. It’s a versatile ink and a little goes a long way. These inks work well as watercolors, airbrushing, and stamping mediums.

mandalas painted with acrylic ink

Is there any advice or tips you can give my readers about painting mandala stones?

Maria: “You can draw your mandala with a white pencil first and then go over it with the ink and, if you don’t feel confident drawing/painting your mandala straight on the stone, you can draw it on paper first and then transfer your design using Tracing Carbon Paper for dressmaking.”

Thank you, Maria, for sharing your tips and your amazing rock painting journey. To find out more about Maria Mercedes Trujilo’s artwork, you can visit her here:

In the meantime, if you are new to rock painting and don’t know where to start. Check out our Mandala Rock Painting Page for more rock painting ideas and tips.