Biographical information with reference to how I came to paint mandalas.
My name is Barry Stevens and I am a mandala artist
living and working in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
I live a relatively secluded life in Pembrokeshire though I have a certain amount of contact with Kindred Spirits. I have been painting mandalas since the early ’70s and it is an ongoing interest and means of livelihood. In recent years I have also hosted guests here and run small classes.
As most of you are probably aware Mandala Art is a meditative art form and I have had a long term interest in mystical philosophy, healing, sacred sites and related subjects. I would welcome any communications of this nature. To see the mandalas click here: Gallery one, two, three, four.
I have written extensively about my life journey including my work as a mandala artist at
and also at
Here is an extract:
7. The Circle dropping Into Consciousness.
When I was eighteen I started a degree course in what is now Portsmouth University. The subjects were History, Economics and English I think… However, my heart was not in it and it was more a question of not knowing what to do but needing to do something! Instead, I was pre-occupied with some intense internal processes which were unfolding. I had read widely in previous years on the subjects of philosophy, religion, sociology, psychology, art, science and so on and for many years had been thinking and feeling that there was something going on much more profound than the prevailing Zeitgeist though I was also aware that many others were engaging in the same search so maybe it was part of the prevailing Zeitgeist after all!
Speaking generally I was engaging in a search for Truth and was acutely aware that I was experiencing something other than Truth and with that feeling arose an intense sense of disillusionment. What was arising was not just an intellectual enquiry into the nature of reality but something much more visceral. So for instance apart from reading books of a philosophical nature, I was also reading books by R.D. Laing, exploring modern art and was fascinated with “The Theatre of The Absurd” amongst other forms of expression. I could feel that what I had grown up to view as reality was falling apart at the seams…
The burning question was something along the lines of “If this is all an illusion what is real?!” This question which had been bubbling away for some years began to reach a certain intensity so that at night I would often wake up with thoughts and dreams that I would feel were important enough to make notes of for the morning. It was as though the answer was beginning to emerge from a part of my consciousness which was not my normal consciousness. Then as I remember it at a certain point consciousness “did a leap” and I experienced The One and/or The Underlying All Pervasive Unity.
There were all kinds of things happening in the “outer reality” that were going on at the same time but the fundamental experience was of Oneness, Love and Peace. This experience knocked out my search for reality because I intuitively felt “This is it!”. I remember waking up one morning and thinking how can the relative mind comprehend this Unity which is essentially beyond the mind. As that question arose simultaneously an empty circle appeared in consciousness and with it the message to the effect that the mind cannot understand that which is beyond it but can to a certain extent make contact with the beyond via symbols and in particular the circle.
I did not question this as it seemed to carry with it a certain authority and I intuitively felt it to be true. I did not know at that point in time that I would go on to paint mandalas and that doing so would be my main creative focus in life. However, I did feel the circle to be the symbol that most completely expressed what I was experiencing. Also when the circle first appeared I heard the words to the effect that the circle is the symbol of unity because it is whole complete and perfect.
Although this realization or insight or whatever you call it was essentially liberating it did throw up some problems notably to do with communicating or not communicating the experience to others and trying to work out how this affected my life in the world. In fact, it knocked everything for six and took me many years to integrate into daily life. It might even be true to say that my adult life has been largely about integrating and expressing that experience of Oneness. This is what I call “The Ongoing Dance”.
The long and the short of it was that as a result of that experience I left that course and began to ponder further what to do. For a year or two, I took a variety of temporary jobs before going to Birmingham University to study Psychology. This time I was genuinely interested in the subject. Meanwhile, during the two years between the two courses, I had extended my reading and studies to include meditation and visited various teachers and so on. Meditation was not entirely new to me though I had not formally practised it. Nevertheless, I had informally practised it by being quiet and going into silence. Sometime prior to the experience I have recounted above that tendency to go into silence seemed to increase. It was as though some inner force was pulling me inwards in preparation for the experience of Unity.
I could go into further details about this and may do so in due course. When recalling these experiences which happened earlier in my life I am reminded of many other incidents and experiences but my aspiration is to only include those which are relevant to my work with mandalas and explorations generally. So far I have not really mentioned personal details like my early family life and education, girlfriends and so on but may do so in due course if it seems relevant and appropriate…
There is also extensive information about the courses I have given over the years and what I am currently offering at