Lotus mandala

Lotus mandala (9″ x 9″)

I continue to be in a mandala mood. The title is a bit of a pun referring both to the lotus flower and sitting in lotus position. Once I had added the figures, it just seemed to make sense that they would be under water meditating …maybe they’re nymphs! I am sure that there are many possible interpretations. Here is Tom’s wonderful poetic one!

within the blue and lambent depths
beneath the floating leaves and flowers
somewhere deep the secret sits
immersed in emptiness and powers
that do not differentiate
between the poor and potentate
for neither lowest nor the high
are more nor less than souls that fly
through the waters of dark ponds
where illusion’s light is clear
bringing all that’s distant near
while fishes swim through waving fronds
and in the centre still there dwells
more yet more than words can tell

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


mandala sequence – 3 of 3

Middle Kingdom mandala

Well, after struggling the previous day with the mid section of the mandala this final third felt like a gift. As I was meditating, the image arose in my mind of lotus leaves forming a canopy over this world. I love the whimsical, surreal sense it gives the whole. Hope you do too!

Here is Tom’s response as the final third of this mandala series narrative experiment. Love this!

Rising high above the mountains
lotus blossoms spread their leaves
catching water from the fountains
of the scudding Hyades
as from rain-wracked winter skies
cataracts fall on the wise
who avert all-seeing eyes
from an army on the rise
until the warriors of home
meet in battle cruel invaders
as the king upon his throne
commits his great dissuader:
Art unfolding on the plain
sends attackers home again.

But wait! there’s more!! Tom so enjoyed the final image that he wanted to write a separate poem for the image as stand alone. This poem is less action packed and more meditative. There is one more version of this mandala planned …what will Tom’s poetic response be after it’s painted?!

curving round horizon near
a world within a pond
ancient garden, absent fear
embracing lotus fronds
little mountains rising small
weighty, deep, and dense
dragons hide in clouds too tall
beyond the garden fence
here within this perfect world
wisdom sits and waits
in the sky the curlews skirl
above the open gates
though none may leave and none may enter
all are drawn into the centre

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

China trip – Southern Anhui Province – Hongcun

first view of Hongcun across the lake
first view of Hongcun across the lake

After lunch we hopped on a bus and went to another world heritage site village called Hongcun. The first view of the village across the small lake was stunning even in the rain!

view from home-stay
view from home-stay

We had booked a home stay for the night so first thing to do was find it and stow our packs. Much more enjoyable visiting the town with less on our backs. The room was simple but the setting just amazing.

in the alleys of Hongcun - the water flows towards the village centre
in the alleys of Hongcun – the water flows towards the village centre

At first the village seemed a confusing maze but it was true that the flow of the water was a constant reference to find the way.

entry court
entry court

This extensive house had a series of courtyards and interesting interiors.

larger courtyard
larger courtyard

What a pleasure to step from a small dark interior into a large courtyard… bright and open while still feeling private and intimate.

courtyard with elaborate carving
courtyard with elaborate carving

The intricate carving in the structural members would have been indicative that the family was particularly wealthy at the time the home was built.

romantic bridge
romantic bridge

This bridge was the backdrop for the opening scene of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon… so beautiful.

about to cross the bridge
about to cross the bridge

So I had to cross it too!

from the top of the bridge
from the top of the bridge

And over the top of the tiny bridge… lotus blossoms ahead!

lovely lotus
lovely lotus

The lotus is not just a beautiful flower but also a cultural and Buddhist symbol – while it grows out of the mud, it floats above it untouched and undisturbed…

photos (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

lotus girl…

on the lotus...
on the lotus...

I don’t think I have much to say about this image. It’s been in my mind for a couple of weeks. I’m working on a canvas which is related as well. I will be sure to post it – well, if I’m fairly happy with it!

Just to be clear, this is not meant to be me… I used to meditate somewhat regularly but haven’t for quite a while. It seems to be something that gets set aside when life gets busy – likely just when one needs it most! Anyway, I do tai chi and qi gong so for now those are the main meditative practices in my life.

I feel the girl in the image is stressed about something and having a hard time clearing her mind… So here’s a link a friend sent me recently of images which could disturb one’s meditation – don’t worry, PG rated!

image (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer