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Inside this conversation with Maria, you will find out how she discovered the joy of painting, her favorite art supplies and tools, tried and true tips for beginners, and a special announcement from Maria.

Mandala Stones
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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.”

butterfly painted stone
Maria: ” After learning to be patient, I repainted my stone and added some dots, I love dots!”


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.”

rock hunting with maria
Stone collecting with Maria


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.”

mandala stones

color mixing
Color Mixing at it’s best!


You’ve published a book, Meditative Mandala Stones and have been in many publications for your work. Did you enjoy writing your book and will you have any more released in the future?

Maria: “Yes, I enjoyed it very much. It was a great experience and I learned a lot; I wish I would have had more time to prepare it.

I haven’t announced it yet and you are the first to know about it outside my family, a couple of months ago I signed a contract for another book. YAY!! Apparently, the first one sold well.

I’m enjoying this one much more, I have more experience. It’s going to be a bigger book, not in a kit, it will have about 50 projects with step-by-step instructions, great photos, and illustrations, I will reveal my secrets and a lot of tips. It will be published in 2020.”

meditative mandala stones book


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
butterfly painted rock


What’s your workspace setup like? What’s in your artist toolbox?

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.”

work area

“My artist toolbox, mmm… 

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!”

mandala stone art tools


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.

I see you use an art journal. Can you explain to my readers the benefits of using an art journal?

Maria: “Hehe, I don’t really know if it has benefits but it is my preferred way of making art. I carry my sketchbook everywhere along with a pouch with my watercolor box, a couple of brushes, my pens, and pencils.

I enjoy drawing and painting in my sketchbook, I like keeping what I do in one place I guess and looking at the pages gives me enormous pleasure.”

sketch book


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.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might interesting to readers and your fans? 

Maria: “I love the constant changes of the colors in the sky, I especially love the pink at dusk, I love the clouds’ movement, shapes and textures, the stars the, moon and the planets in the night sky. I’ve seen the Aurora Australis twice, Halley’s comet, the Geminid Meteor Shower, and many eclipses. I love the mist and the fog. I find all these things magical!”

To find out more about Maria Mercedes Trujilo’s artwork, you can visit her here:

Thank you, Maria, for sharing your tips and your amazing rock painting journey. Please stay tuned for the release date of Maria’s newest rock painting book, coming out next year.

In the meantime, if you are new to rock painting and don’t know where to start. Check out the Rock Painting for Beginners series below.

Part 1 – How to Paint Rocks 

Part 2 – Rock Painting Supplies | What you need to know

Part 3 – Easy Rock Painting Techniques

Part 4 – How to Mix Colors with Confidence

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1 thought on “Creating Mandala Stones with Maria Mercedes Trujilo A.”

  1. Hello all,
    I just wanted to say “Job Well Done” to Maria for all she has accomplished. I recently stepped up my game and took my art to the web and its been a challenge, to say the least. As everyone knows, starts can be slow, but seeing the amount of success being had by a fellow artist is just amazing and motivates me like nothing else could.

    One thing I would like to comment on from the article, is the acrylic inks. Before reading your piece today, I was unaware that there was such a thing as acrylic inks. Most of what I do involves a relatively small dot size. I’ve stuck to acrylic paints from the beginning for the most part. I did try a more less viscus paint a few months ago, I don’t recall the exact name, but it turned out to be too running and in order to get the right pigment I had to apply multiple layers. After reading your article, I started Googling acrylic ink vs acrylic paints for possible use in my own art. Do you happen to know if acrylic inks are “runny”? If not I can keep Googling it. Just thought I’d ask here 🙂

    Thanks for the great info and motivation found in this article.


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