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Artist Profile: Jeannine Burgess

A Lifetime Journey of Self Discovery

By Ellen Samsell Salas

Jeannine Burgess doesn’t attempt to define herself.

“When I stopped defining myself, it made life so much more beautiful. If I put it all together and stir it up, I’m an artist when I do art. I’m other things when I do other things. For me, it’s all about the practice of connecting to the self. If I define myself, I can’t pursue other things.”

Those “other things” include being a certified yoga instructor and her passion for cooking healthy food. Her artistic endeavors center on creating large mandalas with intricate designs and myriad colors that mirror the spiritual journey taken when a person connects to their inner core. Most recently, she began painting oracle cards, creating large-scale decks.

Burgess embarked on her journey of self-discovery when she left high school at 16 years old, obtained her GED, and then eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in health science.

For Burgess, yoga began as a form of exercise, but realizing that it is much more, she decided to become a certified instructor.

“Yoga is the gateway,” she explained. “When you work your breath and body, it connects you to everything else. It opens you up, shining a light on things you haven’t been looking at.”

Ten years ago, Burgess began creating mandalas, sketching her designs with colored pencils on paper. Mandalas are arrangements of geometric designs that are used in various cultures for spiritual practices. Beginning with the circle, which represents the universe, each mandala mirrors the symmetry and harmony of the cosmos.

Using a protractor and ruler, Burgess sketches the design by drawing the mandala’s center circle, the flower of life. From that center emanates six points, followed by another six.

“Once I get the six points down, my body gets it. It is sacred geometry — your cells are part of this. It’s like cell division,” she said.

After creating the design, Burgess introduces acrylic paint with fine brushes.

“The palettes just come to me,” she said. “I might see shapes or colors, or something in nature to inspire me.”

As she works on the 41-inch square panels, she “follows that flow,” sometimes getting lost in painting for eight- or 10-hour stretches. Because the designs and colors are so precise and intricate, they almost appear to be computer-generated.

While the colors and shapes might convey a mood, none of the designs have a specific message.

“They have an energy,” she said. “How someone feels when they look at a work is not for me to decide.”

Noting that she hopes to display her mandalas in a “healing space” that includes yoga, healthy eating, and spiritual retreats, Burgess celebrates her ongoing journey of self-discovery.

“My life has included a lot of growth, of settling into my maturity, of connecting to the flow that comes in quiet times of reflection,” Burgess said.

To view more of Burgess’s work, visit or find her on Instagram @jeannineburgess_art.