Ines, who teaches the art of creating mandalas to VAWAA guests, has loved to play with nature since she was a child.
“My specialty was making castles in the sand on a beach, and also building small houses out of pinewood in the forest,” she says. Nature and creativity have always coexisted for the artist, who thinks of the mandala or circle as the perfect shape.
The artist also has a strong journalistic background (she was the editor in chief of a magazine called Parents and Children) and is the author of 10 books and counting. “Writing for me was my way of expression and the thing that I really liked to do,” she says. “But I also liked to paint and draw and my side of creativity and expression were always very present. When you are creating something, you are telling something about yourself.”
She started doing mandalas in public, as decorations in public spaces and people started gravitating towards them. Organically, she turned her attention to astrological mandalas around 10 years ago and today, she has several guests who come to her to decode energies, qualities and personalities found in the charts she decodes. “What I do is translate the colors and shapes in birth charts,” she said, adding that guests can take away their birth chart mandala in a frame.
Mandala—a Sanskrit word that means “circle” is the shape that the artist considers as perfect. The circle is always a spiral, which means you are constantly repeating actions and things, she says. “It’s a way to find balance because it symbolizes the search of man for his center. So, if you are still in your center, if you are focused, no matter what is happening around you, you will be grounded,” she says.
When guests paint a mandala, the process also helps with detachment because you don’t have to physically own it to feel satisfied. You can just paint it and leave it at that.
In this “Take Five,” we caught up with the artist to get to know her a little better:
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I have fond memories of the beach and forest; I used to go with my parents to a small town north of Portugal and it was really magical, filled with pines. I remember not always being surrounded by nature but having the possibility of being there for long periods.
What is your favorite book?
My most favorite book is The Little Prince: that one is really special. If I had to pick just one, that would be the best.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax? Or pastime?
I don't really relax a lot because I love to work.
For me, working or pleasure or holidays are really the same thing because I have the incredible luck of doing what I love. But I do also love going to the beach to lie down and do nothing. The north of Portugal is very special; we had big fires two years ago and the landscape changed a lot, so I love being in touch with nature. I also love spending the weekend with my family, and with my parents, sister and brother. I love reading books and cooking, and to imagine new things and colors (for the art).
If there is one historical figure you would like to travel with, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Leonardo da Vinci because his geometry is really amazing. I am a mandala maker. If you ask me if I am accurate with my geometry, I'd say no I’m not. A lot of the time I don’t even use a compass. So I would love to learn the exact science of geometry and I think Da Vinci did some amazing drawings: he would have been a very interesting person to know.
What is your next project?
My latest project is The Mandala House, an Airbnb in Portugal that is decorated with artwork. It’s a house with two bedrooms and small garden and perfect for meditation in the city.
To book a mini apprenticeship with Ines, visit her artist page.
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