8 foot mandala mural painted at Black United Fund building Alberta Street in Portland by Linda Dalal Sawaya



An eight foot mural honoring Black Lives and the history of Alberta Street in Portland which began over a year ago, was completed this September. it’s the first mural i’ve painted in many years, and the first one done on site. here’s a funny photo of me holding the sketch taken by a passerby—one of many who wanted to take my picture while i painted. to me, the mural is what’s important, not my face!


this was a grand project, one that filled my heart and felt like a blessing as every week, more people of color are killed for no reason. in fact, many people are being killed for no reason, not just people of color. so this is my peaceful response to our violent times.

here’s a link to the commentary and explanation of the symbolism and imagery in this mandala.


many challenges provided learning opportunities for me during this project including: painting on a shaky scaffolding, materials, how to make a mandala spin so i didn’t have to paint faces upside-down, learning about collaboration, painting in public, answering questions by endless interested spectators, including one that i found as the most asked, but to me the most unlikely: “did you paint all of these?”. my mural is one of 6 on the facade of the building, each totally different in style. so it always surprised me when asked this question. i decided that it was a way for people to connect, and maybe they couldn’t think of any other question!


it was an amazing process, and yes, a blessing. i enjoyed finding tricks to save time, such as using templates for repeating patterns, such as these hands, where my own was the model. if you want to see more detail images, please let me know! i’ve documented the entire process with photos, and hope to make a little flip photo book showing the progression! enjoy!


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Linda Dalal Sawaya talking about her art at Multnomah County Library Saturday May 7

If you are in portland, please come to World in Motion a Celebration of the Middle East at Capitol Hill library on Saturday, May 7 from 1 to 6 pm for a taste of art, music, history, and food from the Middle East. the event is free and open to the public!

My short presentation is at 3:20 pm. see the full schedule below! I hope to see you there and I will be signing copies of Alice’s Kitchen: Traditional Lebanese Cooking!


World in Motion flyer

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Mandala Class flyer just published with info for March 2016 class in my studio! sign up now!

this is the first time my friend Anne Mansfield and I are teaching this class since 2004!

we had six students in our class back then, some of whom had never painted. the results and the process were extraordinary, as you can see from the photos of the mandalas created in class. student feedback on the flyer is also impressive.

please share this with anyone in portland that you think might be interested in learning how to paint a sacred mandala this spring in my outer NW Portland art studio.

if you’re interested, please send a deposit asap as this class will fill up soon! people have been requesting we teach it for years now! thanks!





mandalas painted by our students in 2004 class (the top right is by co-teacher anne mansfield and the bottom right is by me, linda sawaya) the others are done by class participants. copyright remains with each artist.



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Linda Dalal Sawaya fall 2015 Art & Cookbook News just published!

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check it out here and read details about my participation in Portland Open Studios! i hope you can make it to outer NW portland for a visit october 10, 11 and 17, 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 pm.

just noticed the error in my newsletter! Open Studios is Oct. 10 and 11, 17 & 18 (not 9th & 10th)!!



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Acrylic paint and collage workshop in my Portland studio Aug. 22!


this workshop that i teach is very popular and has many repeat attendees because the work that comes out of it is very powerful and profound for both beginners and advanced painters. below is a collection of the paintings done in my one day workshop at the oregon coast in may!

if you’d like to sign up with the early discount, please send a payment of $75 to me at my paypal email address by august 8, 2015. after that the fee goes up to $105, and includes all materials and some delicious (of course) and healthy snacks!


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new mandala paintings by linda dalal sawaya in 2015

Transforming Darkness into Light mandala © 2015

this commissioned mandala for my physical therapist’s clinic treatment room with the theme of Transforming Darkness into Light was painted with acrylic paint on a 24 inch square canvas, beginning last August, and completed in March 2015. please contact me if you would like a mandala commissioned for yourself or as a gift. fine art giclée prints are available for purchase of this mandala on archival paper 16 x 16 inch for $195 including shipping. this mandala was quite a blessing and a journey for me to paint.


Rain Dancer Mandala © 2015 

this mandala was painted for the Recycled Rain Project exhibition in May, 2015 on an 18 inch round canvas with acrylic paint and collected rainwater. it’s title is Rain Dancer Mandala to bring much needed rain to drought stricken areas of the world.


Water Blessing Mandala © 2015

i have just made fine art giclée prints of my Water Blessing Mandala painted in 2014, the original sold in the first hour of the art opening. people have been asking me for prints, so now they’re available. $195 for a 16 x 16 inch framable print with free shipping.


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Acrylic paint and collage workshop by Linda Sawaya at the Oregon Coast! May 23, 2015 sign up now!


this one-day workshop has been very popular and was requested by a friend at the Oregon coast so it’s happening there on May 23, 2015. there’s a limited number of spaces, so please contact me if you’d like to attend!

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Beirut art: graffiti to beirut art expo at Biel

Fairouz is lebanon’s chanteuse extraordinaire: loved, iconized, and graffitied. I love this stenciled image of her that I came across as I meandered through the gemmayze neighborhood of beirut, now famous for it’s rare preserved beirut homes many of which are converted into restaurants serving fabulous food such as the armenian mayrig!



The beirut art expo taking place the weekend I arrived was jam packed with a huge variety of art to suit anyone’s taste: from comics to Indian art to video installations, such as this one by artist hannia ferrell.

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Truly an indication of the great diversity of beirut! So happy to be here at this moment in time. At the art expo an idea came to me for a creative project…watch for my next post!

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journey to the east–homeland Lebanon!

feeling very fortunate to travel to the land of my parents’ birth, Lebanon for one month, with a stopover in London for a few days all too short to visit my cousin, Alicia. she is an artist, filmmaker, healer, gardener, alchemist and a true soul sister. our fun and familiar time together felt as if we had known each other for years, even though this was our first in-person meeting

imagea yoga film premier south of her surrey home in the village of Lewes was happening my first night. the venue–a throwback to the california or london sixties, zu studios, took us on a meandering collaged journey through rooms of 2 and 3 dimensional art that easily could have kept me entranced for days.

a kirtan meditative chanting session opened the contemplative mood for a documentary Part and Parcel, made by diego, alicia’s film-in-progress-partner. a fabulous beginning to my journey east!

the national museum followed a wonderful reunion with douma cousins on my mother’s side in wimbledon. impressionism and icons on my agenda in a classic building filled with hundreds of artworks! what a joy to see these in person!



lots more images from my trip on facebook! sign up to receive my upcoming blog posts from lebanon! i am also posting on alice’s kitchen blog. enjoy!

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Water Blessing Mandala painting by Linda Dalal Sawaya

welcome to my new blog location just moved over from my original blog begun in 2007 at lindasawaya.blogspot.com. please visit that archive blog to see many images and thoughts previously posted and bookmark this page for new posts as of august 30, 2014.


Water Blessing Mandala, gouache on heavy watercolor paper © Linda Dalal Sawaya 2014

an opportunity to participate in the Recycled Rain Project, where artists are invited to collect rainwater and make a painting using this water, occurred this spring with an exhibition opening in may.

since i had recently made two mandalas, one in gouache on heavy watercolor paper which i had not done since 2004, and another mandala—a mosaic using fused glass pieces and scraps from my dear mother, alice, on a table—for auction to benefit a community organization that gives home furnishings to the poor, mandalas were on my mind!

experiencing drought conditions and springtime, the obvious theme for my mandala was water in all of its forms. the painting begins with drawing the sacred geometry of the mandala. then, the ring of fire is painted next to the outer ring. the ring of life is then done. in this ring of life, i explore many forms of water: ocean, streams, snow, glaciers, floods, sacred water crystals, waterfalls, and rain.


moving into the center from the ring of life, there is a transition ring, and we enter the wasteland. for me the apparent wasteland image is parched, dry, land without water. the way this shows up in the mandala next to the orange transition ring and the addition of the pathways into the center feels beautifully asian to me.


one of the aspects i love of this mandala process is the spontaneity and unexpected images and colors that emerge. there is a well-defined structure, and process, yet all the rest is done moment by moment without a preconceived plan. it is a spiritual and intuitive process, one that involves meditation prior to each step. this suits me well—i love watching how it evolves in a rather magical way, one that i might not have predicted.


it is a blessing to make these mandalas, which i was taught by a friend in 2004. seeing the process photos here makes evident the teaching from a wise painting teacher long ago: the minute you put the paint brush to the canvas, you destroy what was there, and create something new.


after the wasteland, another transition ring to contemplate the journey thus far, and to prepare for entering the threshold, where demons may be found. further entering the center is the guardian square which protects the central portal and final circle, the place of bliss and peace. finally the outer binding ring is painted to complete the mandala. this mandala was going to be in a square frame, so i then painted the remaining watercolor paper with several watery washes to complete it prior to framing.


the images occurring throughout my water blessing mandala are based on water and came to me via meditation and contemplation. my friend and i co-taught a workshop in this process in 2004 with a small group: some painters and a few who had never painted. each of those mandalas followed this structure and process, yet each was a total reflection of that person’s unique experience and spirit.

if you would like to attend a workshop in creating a mandala such as this, please email me, and i will let you know when the next one is scheduled.

the recycled rain exhibition was a great success with over 30 artists participating. a lovely couple was discussing my mandala when i arrived at the opening, and after a delightful and lively conversation, they decided to buy the water blessing mandala painting and i am so happy to say it now is a part of their art collection.

also, i am in process of doing a mandala painting as a commission. please contact me if you are interested.

water blessings to the earth, and to one and all!


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