Featured Artist: Lydia May talks about her process for creating Mandala Art
Hi everyone, I’m Tina and today I’m talking with Lydia May. She is a talented mandala artist and we’re going to talk about her rock painting process and get some helpful tips along the way.
If you have been living under a rock rather than painting one and never heard of Lydia May, let me fill you in!
You may have seen her beautiful mandala painted rocks on Social Media or on her Youtube channel, teaching beginner’s how to create these mini zen masterpieces.
She has over 18k Youtube followers with nearly 50 how-to videos on mandala dot art as well a successful Etsy store, DottyMandolly.
Lydia May is known as a creative and talented artist in the rock art community.
I reached out to her so I can tell her that her art is simply amazing and asked her to be a Featured Artist on Rock Painting Guide.
She agreed to let my readers get to know her and learn from her rock painting process.
Welcome, Lydia! Thanks for joining us.
First of all, tell me a little about your background and how you got started painting.
“Well, I spent a lot of time drawing with my brother growing up, using chalk and oil pastels, painting, and making dot art with pens. I’ve always enjoyed the creative process. After having gone through an abusive relationship, leading to divorce, I was finally taking time to get back to me. While searching the internet for inspiration for meditative art, I found the works of Elspeth McLean and fell instantly in love with the combination of the two art forms being combined in making gorgeous dot painted mandalas on stone and canvas. And I’ve been busy learning and sharing what I’ve learned about it all, ever since.”
What is your creative process like?
“Being a homeschooling mom of three young ones, I don’t have much of a process. I paint whenever I can squeeze it in, usually, once the kids are asleep. I do, however, like to have my space nice and clear, as I am not a fan of clutter. So, before I sit down, I’ll remove anything that doesn’t need to be there.”
What’s your workspace setup like?
“In my studio, I have one table where I sit and have my paints within arms reach. I always get two water cups, (one for rinsing the paint off and another for rinsing the paint water off, which is important for keeping colors true.) and both a wet and dry rag. If I’m lucky enough to paint during the daytime, I have plenty of beautiful, natural sunlight coming into the studio and if not I use my recording/studio lighting. Good lighting is a must!”
What are your favorite art tools to work with when you’re creating beautiful mandala painted rocks?
“While I teach dot art with tools (crochet hook ends and nail stylus or embossing tools) in most of my tutorials, I personally prefer to paint using brushes. Round, synthetic, varying in size.”
What’s your best time-saving painting shortcut or hack?
“I would say to go on and prepare a few projects in advance with your base coat so you can get right to the painting. A much needed time saver for me, indeed!”
What inspires your creativity?
“All things colorful! Sunrises and sunsets, animals, plants and flowers, tapestries and even clothing. I often wear colorful skirts, which helps.”
Besides mandala dot painting, are there other forms of art that you like to do?
“Lots! I love to draw, paint, sew, and I LOVE to cook!”
One thing, I have noticed it’s the beautiful color palettes that you use to create your artwork. How do you decide on what colors will compliment and provide a mesmerizing design for your artwork? How many colors are too many?
“That’s tricky. There is a thing as too many bad combos of colors when being put together but a lot of colors is also, at times, totally doable! I just look at the colors in something that I think is pretty and if it works with that object, it usually carries over nicely to stone or canvas. I like to think around 4 colors is a safe, happy, medium, but that’s by no means a “rule”.”
Do you keep a sketchbook with your designs or is it more of a free-flowing art?
“Totally free-flowing right out of my head.”
You have an Etsy store, selling your inspiring mandala rock art. Do you sell at craft shows or in boutique stores? What advice can you give to someone wanting to sell their painted rocks, but not sure where to start?
“Yes! I do sell at other venues as well. The best advice I would give is for people just to get out to the arts and crafts fairs around them and check out the market firsthand to see where their art would best fit and get an idea on how to price and set up.”
Can you give beginner rock painters some advice on how to create mandala dot art on rocks?
“I offer TONS of advice and cover so much in my tutorials. Start with the beginners tutorial and one of my guideline stencils sold in my Etsy shop, and that will no doubt get the ball rolling! Number one is to have fun with it, enjoy the process, and not expect perfection. You will get better and better.”
How to make dots so evenly distributed on a rock?
“Help with spacing can be provided by my stencils and just overall practice, practice, practice.”
Do you just use acrylic paints to make your designs?
“Yes, acrylic works best!”
What’s the best paint consistency for dot art?
“I would say you want a paint consistency between pudding and yogurt.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers & fans?
“I have asked in my Facebook group, what was the one thing people knew before starting and so many said that they just wish they had started sooner. It is so fun and relaxing! A true sense of the term ART THERAPY. “
Where can people find your artwork?
“My artwork is for sale on Etsy. You can watch me paint and teach dot art made with tools on my YouTube channel. You can find lots of clips of my brushwork in action on my Instagram account. I have a Facebook artist page with lots of both art and personal photos. And I also have a Facebook group called Lydia May’s Mandala Sharing, where there are people from all over the world, sharing tips and photos. It’s THE best dot art group out there, chock full of super supportive and inspirational people. I also have a Pinterest account that I’m admittedly not very good at, but I’m there. “
To find out more about Lydia’s mandala rock art, you can visit her here!
YouTube channel can be found here – https://www.youtube.com/c/LMaydottymandolly
Instagram page can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/lydiamay.dottymandolly
Dottymandolly Etsy shop is https://www.etsy.com/shop/DottyMandolly
Facebook artist page is Lydia May – Dotty Mandolly
Facebook group is Lydia May’s Mandala Sharing
Thank you, Lydia, for sharing your tips and advice for creating mandala painted rocks. Your tutorials are truly inspiring. Stay tuned for more updates on Lydia May and more featured artists in the future. In the meantime, be sure to visit my Beginner’s Guide page to learn more about rock painting and Artist Toolbox Essentials for all your art supplies!
Do you have a question about mandala dot painting or have rock painting advice you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below.