Featured Artist: Eszter Csóka, Chakra Mandala Stones
Eszter Csóka is a yoga teacher that uses art to create harmony between the body’s spirit and spirit in one’s own life and in others. She’s the creator of Chakra Mandala Stones, selling and photographing her painted mandala stones from her village in Budapest, Hungary.
First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got started mandala dot painting?
Eszter: I saw the first mandala stone on Pinterest and it instantly moved something in me. I fell in love with these colorful and round-shaped objects and started to think how I can get stones or pebbles because I needed to try painting. I told a friend about this, who happens to live near the Danube, the river that runs through Budapest. The next day she surprised me with a bucket of stones. In the picture below, you can see these stones with my first painting attempts. And even if they are not that beautiful compared to my new creations they are still decorating my home and I love looking at them.
So this is how it started. Then I just couldn’t stop. I spent all my free time painting. In the beginning, I started to focus on the colors of the seven chakras. That’s why I gave the name Chakra Mandala Stones to my business/work. Their purpose is to help dissolve the energy blocks either in color therapy or in meditation. I came up with the name, “chakrastones” because this started to be the main characteristic of my art and it still is, however nowadays I am coming up with more free-designed creations, combining the colors more intuitively.
I think I have a spiritual drive to paint mandalas. As a yoga teacher, I’m dedicated to working towards a balanced life: to aspire for balance between body, mind, and spirit and to help others pursue these goals successfully. My mandalas intend to serve this goal as well. They bear the power of my personal care, energy and time investment which I’m sure will radiate towards whoever will own one of these mandala stones.
What is your creative process like?
Eszter: Calm conditions are important. Before I start, I need to know that I have at least 3 hours to work without interruptions. I collect all the tools around myself, I light an incense stick, I make myself a cup of tea, I put some yogic music on and then the painting can begin.
What are your favorite art tools to work with when you’re creating beautiful mandala painted rocks?
Eszter: It took some time to discover what brands of the acrylic painting are the best for the stones. Some of them are too thick or too liquid. I also ran into some very bad quality painting which left almost no colors when they dried on. I also prefer the type of tube that allows you to waste not too much paint. So, there are some factors I always consider before I buy new paint but at the beginning, I wasn’t really aware of them. Regarding the dotting tools: for the small dots, I use a very simple and cheap manicure dotting toolset which is just perfect. I also have a very special tool for the bigger dots which is made from a punching toolset that my father and my uncle handmade me for Christmas.
What’s your art workspace setup like?
Eszter: I have two art spaces to work on the mandalas. One is in my hometown, in my parent’s house, in my childhood room and the other is in my Budapest apartment. I noticed that somehow the stones I create in Mór, at my village are slightly better looking. Maybe the atmosphere there is more inspiring, the circumstances are even calmer, so maybe this is the reason behind but I am not sure.
What’s your best time-saving painting shortcut or hack?
Eszter: Most of the time I work on more than just one stone which can be time-saving (and paint-saving) because you can use the left-over paint to the other stones meanwhile you wait for one to dry. For example, the use of the round-shaped paper pattern is also time-saving as you don’t have to make different circles as a base to your paintings. See photo below.
What inspires your creativity?
Eszter: When someone appreciates what you’re doing, it motivates me a lot. It means that you’re contributing to something meaningful that brings joy to someone else’s life.
Besides mandala dot painting, are there other forms of art that you like to do?
Eszter: I believe in the process of any type of creation. Many people refuse even the idea of creating something by themselves due to lack of creativity or talent. Not every one of us has the same level of talent or a specialty that can be recognized worldwide, but so what? Are we less then? Shouldn’t all of us enjoy the benefits of the process of creation itself? I don’t think this act requires creativity, it only requires diligence. And if you have that you will get the simple benefit of the act of creating something and see how it can affect you and others as well.
I am in love with wood materials, objects and furniture so I am planning to enroll in a carpentry course. I also want to learn how to crochet or knit or sew. There are so many things I still want to learn:) I am also planning to do mandala workshops in the near future.
How do you choose your color palette and design?
Eszter: I have many types of paint and I also try mixing the colors to have an even wider scale of them. I like to see how two, three colors change each other and they transform into a color you wouldn’t even expect. Sometimes it’s a nice surprise but sometimes it’s not. It also takes a bit of practice I believe to recognize beforehand what colors can be compatible with each other to mix.
Do you keep a sketchbook with your designs or is it more of a free-flowing art?
Eszter: Besides the chakrastones which are a bit predefined already because of the colors of the seven chakras, my art process is definitely free-flowing. Only when someone wants to buy a stone, that’s already been sold, then I can try to paint something similar, but I can never promise it will be exactly the same. Every stone is different in its shape and also the mandala itself is unique. That’s why my intention is not to customize them at all. I hand paint these stones and pebbles which were hand-picked from nature, so don’t expect perfect “manufacture-like” appearance. However, they bear the power of my personal care, energy and time investment which I’m sure will radiate towards whoever will own one of these mandala stones.
Can you give beginner rock painters some advice on how to create mandala dot art on rocks?
Eszter: You will need a lot of patience and acceptance of yourself. Accept that your first stones won’t look as perfect as you wish and also accept your mistakes. It is a process of learning, and won’t everything go as planned for the first days or weeks. Even if you are talented, you cannot skip the learning part. What type of stone you can paint, what type of paint you can use, the combination of colors, the tools, the techniques etc.
First, you will only need the basics. Start with the basic colors, don’t go to a hobby store and buy all the colors you see on the shelf. Just step by step develop yourself and your artwork tools and equipment.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers & fans?
Eszter: I would encourage you to start to create something even if you don’t find yourself creative or talented in that specific field. Art is all about practice and exploration. You can still find a lot of fun with it, even if you never sell a piece or gain the “artist” label. It’s about finding a great hobby, a way to relax. And if you decided to try out something new you also need to remain humble and please never compare yourself to others. If you start out by comparing your work to someone who dedicated probably decades to it, you’ll only find disappointment.
Where can people find your artwork?
Eszter: My stones are available on a Hungarian artisan webstore called Meska. I’m on Instagram, obviously, where I also welcome orders and collaboration ideas. I also have my own website (in Hungarian) and you can email me if you have any questions: email@example.com.