Spring’s crown …mandala

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Spring’s crown

A celebration of Spring! I just got a new watercolour set and may have been a little over-excited – the colours are so vibrant! Anyway, it is definitely in the spirit of the piece.

Tom’s haiku expresses its essence.

bold compact centre
buds brazenly unfolding
spring’s bright laurel crown

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

gratitude mandala…

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gratitude mandala

I decided to try something somewhere in between the mandala method I have been doing recently which are intuitive and unplanned and the ones I was doing earlier which were fairly structured. The idea (we’ll see if it continues) is to meditate on a word and then see how it impacts what I do. In this case, the imagine sprang into my mind pretty much as drawn so I sketched it out to make sure the celtic knots would work and then inked it. The butterfly was a late addition to the party but I think he belongs.

Tom’s poetic meditation on gratitude:

Complex weaving of our lives
into beauty unexpected
lifting us to build and thrive
keeping true and undeflected
by the buffeting of days
that would push us from our ways
running side-by-side through time
steady on along the line
that arcs from start to end, a bow
of light refracted in the dew
between we happy, lucky two
to fly together, high and low.
Whatever else tomorrow brings
Two voices each to each we sing.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

daisy love mandala…

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daisy love!

Back to full on summer (well the last gasp of summer anyway) with daisies! They are such a happy flower to my mind. I started this one with a Celtic love knot in the centre and worked my way from more abstract in the middle to more naturalistic at the edges. I love to add some fauna to these mandalas but was wondering what different insect to choose this time. Can you find them? There are two tiny hover flies – or flower flies – lurking in the petals. Cute little pollinators! They will show up more clearly once the mandala has been painted. There’s one in the detail below.

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daisy love mandala – detail

Tom has written a wonderful new sonnet for this one. πŸ™‚ He often sees quite different things than I do in these mandalas so it is exciting to see his poem that accompanies, seeming just right, without mirroring exactly.

Radiating energy abounds
from out the core so dense and dark and deep
sinusoidal synergies surround
oscillations making quantum leaps
from stem to stamen, fecund in the sun
anthers fat with lakhs of silent seed
hieroglyphic human hearts are one
while triple-stems lift blossoms high to feed
the insects buzzing lazy through the air
searching out sweet nectar to devour
spreading pollen here and also there
casually ensuring all the flowers
will not be lost too soon in time’s great well
but in the fields the daisies still will dwell.

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe

moonlit grove mandala…

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moonlit grove mandala

All colours are on the blue side of the spectrum to give the feeling of a moonlit evening.

As with other tree mandalas I have done, the trees are interconnected with a pattern of Celtic knots and an eye motif is integrated into the design which speaks to a kind of awareness. I started thinking about trees this way last year after reading the book “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.

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quadrant – with rabbit

And here’s a brand new poem from Tom responding to the painted version of this mandala …words that enhance and fulfill the image.

Trees might speak in cold moonlight
rumours swirling through the leaves
contemplating wrong and right
dreaming of a day to seize.
Crescent moon by Earthlight fulled
rules the zenith, riding high.
Apples weighted by the pull
toward the centre. Whispers, sighs
pass from bough to branch to root
down to where the Earth abides.
Watchful rabbit, owl’s hoot
safely distant on the tide
of silver shining in the night
turning darkness fair and bright.

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) TJ Radcliffe

expressive mask mandala…

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expressive mask mandala

Well, this has to be one of the stranger mandalas I have done so far! It started with an idea about six faces integrated and separated by the Celtic knots. The last thing to be added were the six small faces. I am not sure what they represent – one’s conscience? ancestors? descendants? imps? There may be no single meaning to the various faces and expressions so the viewer can overlay their own meaning.

Here’s Tom’s poetic take on it which took a darker, allegorical turn.

Subtleties of secular expression
each in opposition to the other
balancing the soul’s intense progression
’round the stations of my truest lover:
steady, saddened, joyous, shocked, concerned.
contemplative of her soul’s possession
of a body ruffed by wreathen ferns
wondering at time’s unchecked succession.
Anger fading to annoyance then
acceptance, understanding, contemplation,
wryly knowing all that one may ken
of the centre’s subtle conflagration.
The mystery of mysteries remains
Yet still we stand, defending life’s domain.

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe

water’s edge weavings mandala…

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water’s edge weavings

The ink stage is finished for the latest mandala. This one was inspired by the blue flags that are a typical spring flower where I grew up. They are beautiful and somewhat rare in my experience finding their place right on the edge between the rocks of the Canadian Shield and the water of the lake. As with most of the mandalas I have been drawing, there are embedded Celtic knots and at least one animal playing off the symmetry – in this case three minnows and a dragonfly.

Tom has written a beautiful sonnet that echoes and deepens the image.

rippled lobes that move forever outward
curving through the waters of the form
spars that bend beyond the point of breaking
yet still hold together through the storm
knots entwined in paradoxes folding
over depths concentrically excited
spherical harmonics tessellating
surfaces by shadow now ignited
into beauty changelessly in motion
always fixed but never standing still
echoing the memory of an ocean
deep beneath where silence drinks its fill

a universe encompassed in a jewel
by the water’s edge: a forest pool

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe

summer lattice mandala…

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summer lattice mandala

I am quite pleased with how the richness of the colours came out. The orange comes forward and the magenta recedes enhancing the layered effect.

You may have noticed that the titles of the mandalas change after they have been painted. The names come to me as I am working and the effect of the colour on this one for me was to shift from the general feeling of meadow to a meadow in full summer. Guess I am looking forward through this rainy spring weather …or maybe looking back to one of those perfect childhood summer days.

As usual, Tom has seen things and expanded the image through his poetic response. This one is particularly magical! Love it – thanks Tom! πŸ™‚

high summer fields at rest beneath the sun
dry weltering cicadas buzzing deep
curving pigtails flouncing round in fun
then hiding ‘neath the flowers, knapping sleep
in shards from solid summer afternoons
safe amidst the purple leaves and sedge
upon the sandy soil that hides the runes
writ in burrows down the lattice hedge
writ by rabbits wise in meadow ways
writ with knowledge sinking to the centre
stretching out to touch the turning days
opening the gates and letting enter
all the truth that cannot just be spoken
of the wheel that turns and won’t be broken

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe

Sunflower spirals mandala…

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Sunflower Spirals

Has my life been busy!
…and here finally is the water colour finished version of Sunflower Spirals. I still love the bumblebee the best – so here’s a close up. πŸ™‚

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Sunflower Spirals detail

I have a few more weeks of intense busy-ness and then the plan is definitely more time for art!Β 

In the meantime, finding joy in apparently mundane daily tasks as I prepare for big changes in my life!

UPDATE: A delightful new sonnet from Tom for this image!

The solar phoenix burns and is reborn
as a flower turning up its face:
the sympathetic magic of its form
mirroring its namesake yet with grace
that’s all its own, the bright coronal plumes
fluttering upon the summer breeze
while buzzing in the orbit of the bloom
there moves a busy planetary bee
through the knotted pathway at the edge
where spiral seeds meet glowing petals bright
forming up in fields beside a hedge
where summer life is humming true and right.
Beneath blue sky the flower softly turns
Savoring the summer as it yearns

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer

Poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe

Seeking and finding mandala…

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Finding the source…

Well, the colour version is full of joy! I had an idea of the palette I wanted but even so, somehow the evolution from black and white to colour is a surprise and a delight. Hope you enjoy it too!

Here is the accompanying poem by Tom πŸ™‚

The tallest trees are rooted deep within
rich fertile Earth where saffron flowers grow:
unbending yang encompassed by soft yin,
entwining roots encircle all we know:
this gentle Earth, this paradise of sky
this forest old that reaches for the light
this rooted tree that dreams that it might fly
this branching green explosion burning bright
as butterflies slip between the seconds
easing past the trunks and up the Path
softly higher toward the solar Presence
bright airy space where swallows dance and laugh.
Rising inward, reaching, thrusting tall
Spreading outward, strong, the source of all.

image (c) 2016 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 216 Tom Radcliffe

Seeking the Source mandala…

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Seeking the Source

This mandala is a kind of inversion of the previous one – even to the extent of “breaking the rules” and creating it from the edge inwards instead of from the centre outwards. There is still a Celtic knot as a foundation but the trees are reaching for the centre instead of stretching out. For this one, I tried for the first time to divide the circle into a number other than eight. The twelve divisions give a very different feel – there are connotations such as clocks or rose windows… I expect this mandala to be quite transformed by the addition of colour and will post again once the painting layer is done.

Tom had a preview of this one and has already produced this potent poem to accompany it – Thank you! πŸ™‚

Reaching upward toward the changeless Sky
filled with swallows turning as they fly

Deeply rooted in the fertile Earth
entangled moments giving joyous birth

To connection: linked embodied minds
souls well met, butterflies in kind

Thrusting inward to the source of all
bending outward, answering the call

Of root and branch and leaf to grow and thrive
a flower blossom opening, alive!

image (c) 2016 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2016 Tom Radcliffe