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
Practicing drawing various facial expressions seems to be paying off. I am quite pleased with how this drawing for Albion turned out. She does indeed look like she is distressed and crying – just what the scene in question calls for. Poor girl.
UPDATE: Poem from Tom in the comments capturing in words what I tried to show in my illustration…
fractured fragments of a life fall hard
cold rain upon a bitter stormy sea
pouring forth the pain of broken shards
splinters of a soul by death set free
melting childhood verities secure
questions never answered but by tears
desperate moments seeking to assure
sorrow overwhelming hollow fears
face distorted anguish speaks in sobs
the inarticulation of her loss
marches down her visage as it robs
reason cast aside in tempest tossed
incoherent sadness sweeps her past
though everything still matters nothing lasts
Since I’ve been thinking more about the difficulty of creating expressive faces, I decided to try using a book which is designed to assist artists with this challenge. This book, called Facial Expressions by Mark Simon, is more or less a catalogue of a large range of different people with all kinds of expressions on their faces. The biggest help to me is that it shows the same person with a variety of… grimaces to grins and anything else you can think of. Here’s my first attempt. Feel free to suggest a caption for the picture! – the one above was inspired by Tom in the comments.