Roy came to my rescue introducing me to a little thing called ferritin. Ferritins are proteins that store and release iron, and that exist in almost all living organisms. I couldn't help but get blown away with how the ferritin molecules look like:
Exactly. A beautiful, intricate, gloriously designed mandala. Added to that, the little thing stores iron, which is absolutely necessary to life since it helps produce the energy that will move you. Iron is attributed to Mars, the archetype that symbolizes the raw forces of nature, energy, and drive. I immediately knew that it was the glue that would put all my ideas together. Isn't great to know we have such a wonderful source of inspiration in nature, in our own bodies?
My first experience was not very satisfactory (pics here and here) and I decided to start it over -- typical me. I had chosen to represent the molecules of ferritin as the disintegrating parts of the body, but in the end it didn't work because it was incredible time consuming (the pattern is too intricate), and I didn't achieve the sense of unity I was seeking for. Then I had the idea of transforming the mandalas in the heads of the figures as big molecules of ferritin! Actually I would just copy the main structure, which should be a common element to all 4 paintings, and make use of my artistic license to add other elements freely according to the nature of each one.
My copycat of the Divine's design. He/She is indeed a terrific mandala maker.
The main structure of the ferritin molecule after my creative intervention, forming the "Byzantine" mandala.
Remake of Earth, penciling and underpainting. Notice the parts of the body disintegrating in circles (another allusion to the mandalas) I chose to represent the element Earth through the leaves forming the bottom part of the figure, the horns in the mandala, and the color green.
Back to underpainting first. Absorbing the vibration of the green actually helped me with the drawing. The mandala design afterwards came pretty spontaneously. I am going to repeat the process with the other three paintings.
I am pretty happy now with the result and very excited to start working on the other elements. This is indeed being a fun project. My deadline is now super tight so I'd better go!