As Stars Look Down – 2019 Mandala calendars

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As Stars Look Down – 2019 mandala and poetry calendar (8.5″ x 11″)

The 2019 calendars are in! Celebrate the seasons and months with my contemplative mandalas and TJ Radcliffe’s delightful poetry! BUY HERE.

Some example months:

As Stars Look Down - March
As Stars Look Down – March
As Stars Look Down - July
As Stars Look Down – July
As Stars Look Down - September
As Stars Look Down – September

images (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poems (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

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Fine feathers

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Fine feathers mandala (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

If peacocks made snowflakes, maybe they’d look like this… I was thinking about the mandala calendar for this year and thoughts of winter months inspired this one.

I love the poem Tom wrote for this. It’s all festive swirl and glitter with hidden depths. Tom says: This one has a (very) little of James Joyce’s famous short story “The Dead” in it, which is often touted as the greatest in the English language, although I’d put Kipling’s “The Gardener” up against it. Here’s a link for those who (like me) haven’t read this yet or would like a refresher. http://www.online-literature.com/james_joyce/958/

Kaleidoscopes of winter snow
fall across the icy sky
upon the ladies as they go
to Christmas soirees, “By the by,
I must admit I love that shawl,
with orchids, stars, a forest tall,
it looks so warm and cozy-soft,
like otters snuggled in a croft
beneath a landscape, frozen, cold
where carolers sing songs of joy
their voices by the stillness buoyed
up to the sky’s wide peaceful fold
as stars look down upon our lives:
like blowing snow we swirl and rise.”

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

Metalwork mandala

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Metalwork mandala (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

This one ended up with a strong somber tone. I’m not sure why since I started with a flower! It’s a mystery. Anyway, the title arose because it felt like etching or metal inlay by the time I was done. We’re nearing the end of summer with autumn starting to give a hint of its cool breath. Perhaps that was in the back of my mind. Someone recently asked me about the meanings of mandalas which I have not studied deeply at all. I imagine that any analysis of my mandalas would say more about my psyche than about the iconography of any particular tradition.

Tom’s poem matches the mandala in tone and weight. This poem references some things in the poem “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.

Etched upon the sky’s grey steel
the trees of autumn raise their arms
while burnished roots both hold and heal
warding all from hurt and harm
keeping something in the centre
open, free, a door to enter
from the wind-blown darkling plain
where armies clash in cloud and rain
into a world of peace and strength
that can’t forget the promised spring
where still, perhaps, a bird might sing
while in some burrow, giving thanks,
a woodland creature, small and rare,
dares look out to see what’s there.

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

Flower fey mandala

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Flower fey mandala (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

The inspiration for mandalas is still strong! I am enjoying sitting (and spending hours and hours) to draw and paint these! Completing the ink work is the longest phase because there is so much detail and then even more fun – deciding on the colour palette to really bring the image alive. Joyful. As usual, this one evolved as I went along. I did not expect the faces until they appeared!

Tom’s poem goes magically along with the image.

Adrift upon a sea of flowers
dreaming softly side by side
turning through this night of ours
as dusk to dawn we gently glide
from face to face within our dreams
trying on each one that seems
to fit the moment or the place
it vanishes without a trace
into the mystery at the centre
where a deeper beauty grows
beneath a lotus, not a rose:
a door where starlight yearns to enter
as we move on to other hours
snuggled here among the flowers.

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

 

Bridal flock mandala

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Bridal flock (12″x 12″ oil on board)

Experimental! I have tried doing oil painting mandalas before but this is larger and so I could include more detail …maybe too much detail! There is an obvious floral theme but if you look closer, there are birds all around the outside pointing towards the centre.

Tom’s take on this one inspired the title of the piece.

Birds in camouflage abound
within the bride’s high-flung bouquet
tumbling far above the ground
sent in joy upon its way
toward the waiting hands of all
who stand on toes and reach up tall
to grasp the prize of prizes now,
the talisman that tells them how
their turn is next in love. It bursts
asunder with a flock of birds
that spin in brightly coloured herds
above the crowd now in reverse.
Yet she who’s steadfast, true, and bold
still stands to catch the flower’s hold.

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

Mouse-ville mandala

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Mouse-ville (9″x 9″ ink and watercolour)

This mandala started with mouse-like shapes around the centre and evolved from there. I had fun with the houses which are similar but all different. I hope you enjoy looking at all the little details – I know I enjoyed drawing them!

Tom’s poem is playful and whimsical like the mandala!

We are the mice of Plimsoll Close
and we will keep you on your toes
rustling through your drawers at night
searching for a crumb that might
satisfy our search for tastes
that delight our palates. Haste
is not our way, we’re patient mice
who will pass up a grain of rice
in hope sincere that we will find
a candied walnut, orange rind,
or some such savory delight
before the end of this fine night.

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

Nectar dreaming mandala

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Nectar Dreaming (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

Have I mentioned it’s been hot here? I continue to have a rather tropical inspiration permeate my work!

Here is a magical poem from Tom …a riff on T.S. Elliot’s “Usk”.

Do not step and break the branch
where snakes slip soft
on forest floor
bright birds dip beaks but not too deep
seeking wisdom
asking more
of ancient mysteries that dwell
down the Amazon
a dell
contains the secret
in grey air
a high safe nest
a serpent’s lair

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