Deep memories

Deep memories (9″ x 9″ ink on watercolour paper)

This mandala was drawn over several days with the intricate motifs taking on a life of their own. I don’t analyze these; they are the process and become whatever they become. The end results aren’t planned and so can be quite surprising.

Tom saw something deep in this mandala inspiring him to write this amazing poem. As I sometimes do, I took the title of the mandala from one of his beautiful lines.

Within the door where dwells the King of All
now slumbering, exhausted by the trials
of life and rule and matters great and small
his ancient face is youthened by a smile
slow, soft and happy, lingering on old
deep memories of when the world was new.
Upon the door, fine-cut into the wood
the pattern of the world stands bold and true
to all that he once dreamed. There is a child
who stands before the door, his eyes entranced
by intricate emblazonments of wild
leaves and flowers spinning through their dance.
The Old King wanders through the door at last
The Young King stands before the living past.

Tom adds: I get a sense of age and tradition as well as wild beauty from this: there’s something timeless and eternal as well as continually renewing.

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


mini-mandala – 2

mini-mandala – 2

This “mini-mandala” is about 5″ in diameter. It is fun to play at this slightly smaller scale. The others I have been doing are almost double that size at about 8″ in diameter and I may try much larger at some point.

Spirals and petals and loops flow from one another leading to hidden or more apparent pictures within. Here’s Tom’s poem expressing what he saw – or at least his reaction to what he saw. I especially love that final couplet!

Engines of creation always turn
through cycles mixing levels of impulsion
while the rising petaled flowers burn
with colours never captured in emulsion.
Bluebells ring around the rosy centre;
tumbling changes spill across the fields
where the breath of nature yearns to enter
souls that stand aloof and do not yield.
Soft temptation gently filigreed
across the meadow by an errant breeze
beckons to the wanting and the need
of supplicants upon their bended knees.
Figures frozen in the grip of Fate
‘Til they rise and love wins over hate.

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

seashore mandala – 7

seashore mandala – 7

While drawing these mandalas, I may have a certain idea in mind but this usually evolves and changes. A pattern in one context looks like one thing but could be seen as something completely different in another. For example, if we divide the mandala into central area, mid zone and periphery, what does the pattern in the mid zone represent? It could be flower petals, waves, sand dunes etc. – so many options just for that one pattern. That is one reason why it is so fun to find out how a poet responds to these and see what he sees in them!

…and here is Tom’s poem!

Laurel wreaths surrounding petaled waves
weed-grown margin of an isle alone
inhabited by fishes as they drave
around the world in search of footpaths home
within the margin of the reef entire
thin ornamental band protecting dunes
as clownish owls come ogle at the fire
of buccan wood that burns in evening’s gloom.
Bell-fruits dangle from the swaying trunks
as the dry Alize brings ships alee…
brave companions quaffing rum so drunk
so as to stand and sign and follow me.
All hands set sail, the Spaniard’s on the Main!
We’ll take her treasure, live like kings again!

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

mini-mandala – 1

mini mandala – 1

The other day, I was thinking that I could do some quick small mandalas, simpler and with more space to add paint. Hmmm …while it was fun to try a smaller one (this is about 5″ in diameter) it is just as curious and almost as full of details as the larger ones!

Here is Tom’s poem expanding on the depths of oddities in the mandala!

“The Queen will see you at the circus
Goodman Herald. Don’t you see
we must ensure the clouds of witness
only glower on what can’t be:
a monarch watching clowns perform
is ever so outside the norm
that gossips never will deform
their minds thus to the truth conform.
Ergo–or somesuch schoolman’s term–
you will meet in secret there,
Her Majesty’s desire to learn
in front of all whose eyes don’t dare
to see the truth before their face:
a Queen so far from proper place.”

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

seashore mandala – 6

seashore mandala – 6

Another extremely curious range of forms evolving from the organic vegetation at the centre to the architectural motifs around the perimeter. Once again, it was an adventure not knowing where it would end up …a kind of visual arts improv but not doing it for an audience. Ooooh – that’s a really scary idea! Now I think I’ll have to somehow try it as performance art!

Tom was once again inspired to write a poem for this mandala matching it in strangeness! 🙂

Fishes struggle toward the centre
as lotus blossoms embrocate
sunny parquetry, pilasters
raise a fist against cold fate
while the central segmentation
bubbles outward, roiling heap
of stems entangle soft sensation
lulling fishes down to sleep
as above observers yearn
to solve the sensuous divide
that keeps them from where fishes churn
receding now upon the tide.
Clean and unadulterated
lines of art with curves are sated.

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

seashore mandala – 5

Atlantis after the council

Curious forms somehow watery and of the sea continue to flow from my pen. This one started with some quite angular shapes but quickly changed to curved and organic. Again, I really enjoyed how this evolved and the feeling that the “decisions” were spontaneous and natural.

Tom saw this as ongoing from previous one so the Atlantean tale continues in his poem!

Through the portal in the crystal
falling down dimensions dark
to the land of thorny thistle
where on mountaintops the spark
of ancient circles made of stone
resting for this endless time
await beneath the peaceful dome
of vaulted heaven, starry sky.

As these islands slip below
the rising waters, stranger tides
of eldrich magic ebb and flow
echoing on mountainsides
where in days of futures past
far-flung travelers found their rest
now the first are finally last
those precious few have passed the test.

All the others enter deep
down into the ocean blue
learning like the crabs that creep
in the darkness, through and through,
building cities in the depths
adapting to rough circumstance
abandoning without regret
clouds and stars, light that slants

through the empty ocean sky
as the gulls fly softly by.

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

seashore mandala – 4

“The last council of Atlantis”

As this next in the seashore mandala series evolved, the title came into my mind. It seemed that the elders and others were pondering their future as the waters were rising around them. I did give this title to Tom before he wrote the poem – but we were already on the same wave-length!

The seas are rising: where the flowers grow
there soon enough will be just ocean waves
covering this land of oak and willow
washing out to sea all we have saved
from elder times, the planets of our race
long swallowed up by swelling stars grown old.
On Earth we lived for countless years displaced
from hearth and home, yet safe within the folds
of green-cloaked hills along this ocean ridge
far from merely human habitation,
our island nation could have been a bridge
between the continents in slow rotation.
Our future lies beneath the storm-tossed sea
Perhaps we will adapt, and swim… be free.

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

seashore mandala – 3

seashore mandala – 3

The curious forms that arise from the unedited pen! Here is the next in the seashore mandala series along with Tom’s poem written just for it. He has a way of finding a profound truth and expressing in words what the image just hints at!

these are the waves and openings: desire
expressing truth that dare not speak its name
reaching out with circumferential fire
rockets rising twist with passion’s flame
within the dark each world a rooted tree
holding all potential for the Earth
ranging over possibilities
from want to where there is a lack of dearth
deeper still the nugget at the core
surrounded by a flower’s eternal flame
ever growing, ever wanting more
ever changing, never quite the same
the changeless sea’s eternal moving waves
echoes silence from the ocean caves

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

seashore mandala – 2

seashore mandala – 2

Here is the second in my meditative seashore mandala series. I find this one both playful and lyrical. Allowing myself to create without editing or judging is a powerful exercise! Carrying that approach into oil painting will be the next challenge.

Here is Tom’s accompanying poem. 😀

there’s something faintly fishy in the faces
formally interrogating files
they filters out anemones, displaces
something central to the art of smiles
glaring with intensity is one
side of things but when turned upside-down
seems a lot more quizzical and rum
wondering how tentacles can frown
is this crown a tongue that speaks in riddles
tangled in the eyelashes that flower
over Rome while Nero plays the fiddles
the reveling insouciance of power
somewhere secrets curve the time of space
into flowers showing love’s true face

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

seashore mandala -1

seashore mandala -1

The end of September and early October were too busy to post. I was packing and moving and then unpacking – within the same city but still, it takes a lot of time and energy!

I did find, however, that I couldn’t quite not do any art at all. In the evenings, I would sit down and get out my new fountain pen and heavy stock watercolour paper and draw spontaneous mandalas. The last several mandalas I had been drawing were needing a fair amount of pre-planning – especially the ones with Celtic knots involved. If decisions weren’t made ahead of time, I could get tied up in – well – knots! So anyway, this seashore mandala series is a return to a purely meditative way of drawing mandalas – just letting each line lead from the previous one.

There may be no water-coloured version since the ink in my fountain pen is not fully water-proof and that would result at best in loss of detail and at worst in just a mess! I’m quite a bit late for “inktober” but I will be posting mostly ink drawings for the rest of the month if not every day.

Here is Tom’s poem for this one – thanks Tom!

Seaside Soliloquy

Seeking suckers sliding sinuous
Separating sections slipping sly
Slow seductive soft somatic stimulus
Segregating sedges strolling shy

Strong surrounding symbols separate
Stirring central systems showing style
Salaciously soliciting somnambulates
Studiously steadfast sinning smile

Seas surround submerging Sirens
Sunset softly sinks salt’s subtle silence

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