After a work-related accident in 2009, Brandon Anderton was resigned to the fact that he might never escape the chronic pain that he suffered physically and psychologically. Then he met an art therapist at the Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center in Los Gatos who challenged him to express his pain in a drawing.
In 2012 he took a rake to the beach and started creating patterns. Over time he perfected the practice of making sand paintings quickly enough to resist the tide and erase his physical discomfort.The patterns he uses come to him spontaneously although he has studied many books on Buddhist mandalas. He uses stakes and string to create general outlines of the patterns, and then lets his body guide the strokes of his rake.
Sometimes he cannot complete the intended design. Either his body wears out or the tide comes in to erase the day’s work. But he sees this too as a lesson. “What better way to reflect on that truth than manipulation of your natural environment, only to see that despite your efforts, nature will sweep away your intentions and reassume the natural order of things with or without you.”
Brandon describes the process as a collaboration with nature, stating that the sand and water “do the work for him”. When he finds a potential canvas, i.e. a wide stretch of uninterrupted beach at low tide, he will sit quietly and contemplates the scene.He uses the people, places and stories of his life as inspiration.
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