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

knitters of the world mandala

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Knitters of the world (9″ x 9″)

Here is another in this series of meditative mandalas. Again it evolved from the centre into something a bit stranger as it went along! Somehow the elderly ladies seemed right and once they were there, well they were clearly knitting the world! In Greek mythology we usually hear about the Fates weaving but Tom took this and ran with it! His poem is below followed by a short commentary.

Each within her cozy private nook
where a clicking sound is all that breaks
the silence while across the centre looks
are exchanged to judge the give and take
required to hold the world in careful balance
between the lunar turns. Each day the talents
weigh against each other, vying with
the promise of a tangle or a kiss
from the One whose rays fall bright between
as the world’s created stitch by stitch:
plaited, purled, and stockinette are switched
to form the fabric, all that’s never seen.
Behind the famous trio of the Fates
the Elder Aunties patiently await.

Apollo (whose rays fall bright between) got the Fates drunk and tricked them into allowing his friend Admetus to outlive his days. I don’t think the Elder Aunties, each assigned to a lunar month, apparently, would be best pleased.

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

Lotus mandala

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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

 

Rabbits at the gate …mandala

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Rabbits at the gate (9″ x 9″)

Like most mandalas this one evolved from the centre …I am really not sure where the rabbits came from but I like them! They seemed to be confident of their own reason for being there though …and I love Tom’s poetic take on this one!

Solemn rabbits guard the grassy gates
protecting something secret at the centre
where cold Truth in Beauty’s cloak awaits
for the his lover now to gently enter:
stepping silently across the fields
toward the precious prize that will not yield
to blandishments nor lies nor flattery
but only to the gentlest of breeze
that wafts across the fields beneath the sky
upon a summer’s night: a golden moon
that swings through spaces where the stars are strewn,
cuts, a crescent scimitar on high.
The gates of grass swing open, rabbits dance
as Truth and Beauty share a secret glance.

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

garden of delight …mandala

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garden of delight (9″ x 9″)

I sat down and started doodling in watercolour a few days ago. Usually, I start with the ink drawing, but this time the inking was done last. Perhaps it’s not surprising that this mandala is mostly plant motifs after spending lots of time recently hiking and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Even the green plums were inspired by fruit I saw ripening beside the sidewalk this week. It’s a very rich time of year! …the watchful eyes …well Tom responded to those in his delightful poem – which is where I took the title.

In this garden of delight
where peaches hang and chances might
be taken under watchful eyes
I’m feeling bold and not so wise
as to let the moment pass
and so I bend to kiss a lass
when from behind a tree there sounds
a soft “meow”, the voice rebounds
from tree to branch to leaf to stem
and where was one there now is “them”:
a panoply of watchers wild
who leave us both for now beguiled
by gazes focused, clear, intense
instilling just a bashful sense
of standing naked in the light
of creatures who have walked the night
and yet we two still turn and kiss
for moments pass, and might be missed.

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