California Mandala

I’ve been to California many times over the years, but there is nothing like that first experience of driving up the Pacific Coast Highway. For me it was July of 1995. My friend Holly and I had just returned from six months of backpacking in Australia & New Zealand and were wrapping up our trip with five days in Fiji followed by two weeks in California.

It was a beautiful ride as we meandered our way up the coast from San Diego to San Francisco, with every turn offering an amazing view. And the further north we got, with the sharp cliffs and pounding seas, the more we were reminded of the Great Ocean Road in Australia – but even better. Ending with a camping trip in Yosemite, those two weeks were the highlight of our trip.

I loved being with Michael the first time he was going to experience driving down the PCH. It was 2006 and we were heading from San Francisco to Los Angeles. With stops in Monterey and Big Sur along the way, the views seemed better than I remembered. And it was from a photo on this trip that inspired this California Mandala.

Detail Image

What pleased me the most about this mandala was that is was the first one I’ve known of that really spoke to someone. I was showing it at a local art fair in New Jersey and noticed a woman observing it for a period of time. When I introduced myself she expressed how much it drew her in and she had no idea why. Talking further, we figured out that the photo it originated from was taken from the same area in Big Sur that she grew up.

The magic of the mandala – nothing pleased me more.

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