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I have been a doodler for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t talk on the phone or sit through a class without filling the page with random drawings and designs.

I have kept a journal since I was a child. Some years ago I bought a journal without lines— what a concept! That little book started something that I could never have foreseen at the time. I started doodling in the journal and drawing little pictures that told the story of what I wanted to say. I found it to be very relaxing.

I did not consider myself to be talented artistically. I didn’t care what the drawings looked like—I wasn’t trying to create a work of art, all I knew was I enjoyed doing it. Over time I started separating the journal writing from the drawing, and ended up with whole books that contained nothing but drawings. At that point it started to feel like I was creating art. Still, it wasn’t for anyone else—just me. I found, as I continued to draw, the more intricate the design, the more I could get lost in it.

I have always felt that the beginning of my work with mandalas happened in an instant. One night I met a friend for dinner. He walked in, and handed me a book about mandalas. The instant I picked it up I had what I can only describe as a very powerful knowing that I had to draw mandalas. I was familiar with mandalas, and I had always been attracted to those created by the Tibetan monks. I was also aware that circular designs had been used throughout history by nearly every civilization on the planet. I knew too that Carl Jung used mandalas in his work with patients. In spite of all of that, they had never had the impact on me that they did that night. I just knew beyond a shadow of doubt that that was the next direction for my artwork.

My designs are not something I can plan or <em>decide</em> to create. I believe that each is inspired by some source beyond me. I have always said that the designs and color combinations come through me not from me. If I try to plan a design, or color combination, it just doesn’t work. I have to let the design unfold, revealing itself as I go.

When others look at my work, I’m always interested in hearing them describe what they see, or the meaning they get from the design. It is different for nearly everyone. I love that about what I create. The drawing can be anything the person looking at it wants it to be, and it can be entirely different depending on how they turn it. I think that makes the piece more personal and meaningful to each individual.

Laura Gaddy