Consider, if you will, the cave painters. How did primitive man, (or woman, we don't really know!) render such beautiful two dimensional depictions of live moving objects from the three dimensional world, without even the help of a reference page torn from Nat'l Geographic? Just the "how" of it boggles my mind, and then I must go on to the "why." Again, we don't know, but I think s/he did this to capture the animal in the spirit world, so hunters could experience a successful hunt in the real world.
This is why I paint mandalas. It all began as an experiment in capturing the "spirit" of something I wished to manifest. You could easily argue that every artist does this with each attempt at art, but I try for something a little more... what? Intentional? Esoteric? New-agey? Goofy? I dunno, you decide.
I begin with affirmations which I write longhand into a wedge shape. After these word-forms are repeated around a center point to form a circle, I end up with a complex linear pattern. Then I pick out shapes using color and contrast. While coloring in the pattern, I try to meditiate on the feeling of the affirmation, be it joy, abundance, health, protection, whatever. It is a calming, centering process, and I wanted to share it with you. (OK, I also wanted to buy time while I finish challenge #170, which is taking longer than I thought it would.) This particular design is built on the affirmation "I love my home, with each passing day its positive energy increases."