MA Mid Point Review

MA Digital Art Mid Point Review / Project: Mandalas of Light / University of Art London / 2012-14


The main aim and objective of my “Mandalas of Light” project is to create and produce spiritual and meditative artworks that bring both balance, harmony, and a sense of inner well being to the viewer.



Drawing and Trailing with Light, self-portrait  / 2012 / Terry  Long


The best way to describe my chosen medium for the MA Digital Arts course, and the method that I am mostly using for it, is to relate it to the art of chinese ribbon dancing. But instead of using ribbons made of silk fabric, I create ribbons of light by trailing and drawing through the air. This gestural three dimensional drawing and painting performance is captured on a digital still camera in a long exposure usually lasting between 5 to 30 seconds, and can sometimes consist of several retakes to create the desired effect. I have been experimenting throughout the MA Digital course with different kinds of light, including LEDs, tungsten-halogen, strobes, poi (ignited wire wool), candle light, and sunlight through prisms. I have tried different methods of drawing and painting with the light, including using the digital camera as the drawing and painting tool, also a light prism, multiple lights, and a moving pendulum light. My most recent experiments have involved removing the camera lense and both drawing and painting with light directly onto the digital sensor, which I find is a rather difficult and haphazard procedure and approach. I have recently purchased a full sized digital sensor camera to further my work in this area. Examples from these tests were not ready to include for this review. About 75 to 80 percent of the backgrounds and settings used so far for this digital course and blog I specifically created for each project. The rest have been taken from my stock of photographs that I have taken over the last eight years.

Post production, which is done with photoshop, can take between 5 minutes to three or four hours depending on the complexity of the digital layers and sections used, with some works consisting of up to 24 or more layers. Sometimes there is no editing or post production, as in the example below…

Concerto in Light No.1

Concerto in Light No.1  / 2013 / Terry Long

This is one of my most recent action paintings in which I tried to evoke visually the multiple interweaving sounds of an orchestra. It was created in the air with two LED hand held lights. The physical size of the painting area was around 1.5m (5ft) square. The exposure was 15 seconds at f22, using a Tokina 17-35mm lense on a Nikon D700 DSLR camera, mounted on a Manofrotto tripod. The performance was done in total darkness.

Background, Subject and Theme

Between the 4th and 8th of May 2011, a group of Buddhist monks from the Drepung Monastery constructed and deconstructed a large sacred coloured mandala sand painting at the University of Redlands in Southern California, where I work. I was one of 2,500 people who witnessed this ritual and event. I was lucky enough to be  invited to try out the sand painting for myself. It was at this time that I experienced a kind of epiphany, and came up with the idea of using light, instead of the traditional coloured sand to make my own mandalas, creating I think a much more transient method, and Zen like experience which has become the subject and theme for my MA digital project.

Influencies and Inspiration

A growing list of artists, including the Buddhist monks, composers, art movements, and other areas of interest that have both influenced and inspired me so far through this MA Digital course can be found here…

This image was created by setting the camera on a tripod and moving several LED lights around in front of the camera at a prefocused point in the blacked out studio. The exposure was around 20 seconds at f8, and there was several hours spent in post production.

Nova Nine / 2012 / Terry Long

Silentium copy.e

Silentium / 2012 / Terry Long

Inner Path

Inner Path / 2012 / Terry Long

Mandala Sketchbook Drawing No.3
Mandala Sketchbook No.3 / 2013 / Terry Long

MZ1 copy
O Magnum Mysterium / 2013 / Terry Long

Cymatic Mandala

Cymatic Mandala in Blue / 2012 / Terry Long

Layers of Light
Conundrum Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Night Crystal copy
Night Crystal / 2013 / Terry Long

Prismatic Mandal

Prismatic Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Art Deco Mandala No.3
Echo Deco Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Celtic Ceremonial Orb
Celtic Ceremonial Orb / 2013 / Terry Long

Boomerang copy

Boomerang Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Starlight Mandala
Starlight Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long


Enigmatic Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Philosopher’s Stone / 2013 / Terry Long

Nimrod 2 copy
Nimrod 2 / 2013 / Terry Long

Mandala Sketchbook Drawing No.2
Mandala Sketchbook No.2 / 2013 / Terry Long

Inner Sanctum
Inner Sanctum / 2012 / Terry Long

Interlude / 2013 / Terry Long

La Delaissado
La-Delaissado / 2013 / Terry Long

Within / 2013 / Terry Long

Art Deco Mandala
Art Deco Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Arabesqe ll

Arabesque 2 / 2013 / Terry Long

Mandala Sketchbook No.1
Mandala Sketchbook No.1 / 2013 / Terry Long

Sammy's Mandala
Sammy’s Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Into the Light

Micro Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Road to Mecca
Road to Mecca / 2012 / Terry Long

New Day Mandala
New Day Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Moonlight Mandala
Moonlight Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

The road to Shangri la
The Road to Shangri-La / 2012 / Terry Long

Road Sign copy
Road Sign / 2012 / Terry Long

Petros Mandala No.7

Petros Mandala No.7 / 2013 / Terry Long 

Mandala in the City
Mandala in the City / 2013 / Terry Long

Night Ride
Night Ride / 2013 / Terry Long

Kona Mandala
Kona Mandala / 2012 / Terry Long

Petros No.3
Petros Mandala No.3 / 2012 / Terry Long

Ceremonial Mandala
Ceremonial Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Untitled-707 copy
Pathway / 2013 / Terry Long

Pastorale Mandala
Pastorale Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Doorway / 2013 / Terry Long

Spitfire Mandala
Spitfire Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Mystical Mandala copy
Mystical Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones / 2013 / Terry Long

Forest Mandala.A
Forest Mandala / 2012 / Terry Long

Street Mandala B
Street Chalk Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Mandala Pathway
Mandala Pathway / 2013 / Terry Long

Freeway Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Castlerigg copy
Castlerigg Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

A Tale of Three Mandalas
A Tale of Three Mandalas / 2013 / Terry Long

Poster / 2013 / Terry Long

Tabula Rasa Mandala
Tabula Rasa Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Shakespeare's Mandala
Shakespeare’s Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Dusk Mandala

Dusk Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Eclogue Mandala
Eclogue Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Digital Rainbow Collider
Digital Rainbow Collider / 2013 / Terry Long

Kandinsky's Mandala
Kandinsky’s Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

London Eye Mandala
London Eye Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Ikon of Light
Ikon of Light / 2013 / Terry Long

Mandala Bicycle
Mandala Bicycle / 2013 / Terry Long

The Philosopher’s Stone / 2013 / Terry Long

Street Mandala
Street Mandala No.7 / 2013 / Terry Long

Hawai'i Island Mandala copy 2

Hawaii Island Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Magical Mystery Mandala Band
Magical Mystery Mandala Band / 2013 / Terry Long

St. Patrick's Mandala
St. Patrick’s Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Poster Mandala
Poster Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Midsummer Night's Dream

Midsummer Night’s Dream / 2013 / Terry Long

Seventh Sign
Seventh Sign / 2013 / 2013

Sea Anemone Mandala.copy
Sea Anemone Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Manhattan Mandala.a copy
Manhattan Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

IMG_3118 copy A

Rembrandt’s Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Butterfly Mandala
Butterfly Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Aerial Art
Aerial Art / 2013 / Terry Long

Connections No.2
Connections 2 / 2013 / Terry Long

Mandalas on the Move copy
Mandalas on the Move / 2013 / Terry Long

Adagio No.7
Adagio No.7 / 2013 / Terry Long

Constructing the Mandala.a
Constructing the Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Amsterdam Mandalas:for blog

Amsterdam Mandalas / 2013 / Terry Long

Island / 2013 / Terry Long

Crossing / 2013 / Terry Long

Hill Top Mandala
Hill Top Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Midnight Garden copy 2

Midnight Garden / 2013 / Terry Long

Motorway Mandala

Motorway Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Mandala Maker
Mandala Maker / 2013 / Terry Long

Galvanised Mandala.e
Galvanized Mandala / 2013 / Terry Long

Ascending Light
Ascending Light / 2013 / Terry Long

The following are examples of Action Painting with Light that I have been experimenting with.

Adagio Espressivo.2
Adagio Expressivo / 2013 / Terry Long

Serenade in Gold and Violet
Serenade in Gold and Violet / 2013 / Terry Long

Symphony of Light No3.e
Symphony of Light / 2013 / Terry Long

Helter Skelter No.3.e
Helter-Skelter No.3 / 2013 / Terry Long

Configuration 2
Configuration 2 / 2013 / Terry Long

Sonatascape No.8
Sonatascape No.8 / 2013 / Terry Long

Aerial Dance in Light No.1. version 2
Arial Dance in Light No.1, version 2 / 2013 / Terry Long

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