The last few mandalas have been drawn using a quite water resistant ink in my fountain pen. So yay! I can add water colour without blurring out the details. This was “mini-mandala 2” now renamed The Ring.
Here is Tom’s beautiful and highly personal poem to go with this mandala. I feel so fortunate to have someone in my life that sees and responds to beauty in such a profound way!
waves of beauty curling round
washing up the pebbled beach
swirling over summer ground
chanting, singing, each to each
a susurrus so tremulous
as bluebells quaver in the breeze
ringing changes sensuous:
quiet sounds across the sea
while the golden evening rays
scatter from the leafy crowns
bowing to the end of days
where all pain and sorrow drown
in the silence of the night
two hearts make one in joyful flight
Well, here is the final version with colour added! The choice of mostly shades of blue is to give the flavour of Chinese pottery. The yellow accents came about because yellow represented the emperor in ancient Chinese society. For example, only the emperor could have yellow roof tiles or wear yellow robes. So it is used sparingly in this mandala for the centre, the lanterns drifting away in the sky and the mostly hidden dragons…
Here is one quadrant to make it easier to see the details.
Happily, Tom was moved to write another poem for this final version of the mandala!
Beneath a layer of protective blossoms
the Earth abides in softly glowing shades
of summer fading toward a rainy autumn:
evening drawing nigh as August fades
toward a long September ocean blue
swept by early storms and errant waves
crashing up against the harbour’s thews
protecting ships at anchor from the staves
of floating logs and wayward whales withal
as beacons glow through scudding rain and wrack
calling home the wanderers and all
who’ve lost their way and yearn to find a track through storms and seasons ‘cross the empty sea
riding down the gales into the lee.
Water colour has transformed the black and white mandala. There are so many ways this could be done that sometimes it is hard to choose but this time, the colour palette and rendering of the single large flower behind the drawing was in my mind from the beginning …a carefree feeling of summer meadows.
In colour, it is much easier to see the dainty hoverflies. While mimicking the appearance of bees for self-protection, they are stingless. To give an idea of scale, the overall mandala is 8″ in diameter so the yellow centre with all the intricate details is less than 3″ across and the hoverfly is about 1/4″ long which is about full scale – although they do vary in size by species.
Here is Tom’s new sonnet for the colour version. Wonderful!
find the flower soft within the flower
rising moon behind the open fields
where the nightingale sings o’re the bower
of his lover, dreaming as she yields
to seductive songs of other climes:
promises of joy complete, fulfilled
by the long result of flowing time
down the river, through the hollow hills
where ancient magics deep within the Earth
stir, arise from endless eon’s sleep,
go whispering along the banks in mirth
a spell is spoke, a promise made to keep
Beneath the moon two lovers eyes alight
Upon each other, daisies in the night
The latest mandala has been water coloured! The colours have been kept very cool in keeping with the feeling of snow and cold I wanted to evoke on this hot sunny summer day! The very centre is red to keep a connection with one of the original inspirations – Queen Anne’s Lace. A tiny red central flower which is common for this wildflower, is to attract insects but I like the whimsy of the folk tale origin – it represents a drop of Queen Anne’s blood pricked from her finger while making the lace.
Tom’s new poem for the water-coloured mandala gets to the heart of the cold winter feeling …be refreshed on this summer day!
In the heart of hopeful winter
Crystal flowers spin and grow
Under pressure splinters sinter
Dusting down as drifting snow
Jeweled movement in the centre
Turns the world through double-hours
Ticking as the New Year enters
Through the door of Winter’s tower
Along the moonbeams sliding silver
Drift soft snowflakes to their rest
Keeping seasons in fine kilter
Unsung heroes on a quest
To keep all Nature’s endless round
Turning, never winding down
All colours are on the blue side of the spectrum to give the feeling of a moonlit evening.
As with other tree mandalas I have done, the trees are interconnected with a pattern of Celtic knots and an eye motif is integrated into the design which speaks to a kind of awareness. I started thinking about trees this way last year after reading the book “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.
And here’s a brand new poem from Tom responding to the painted version of this mandala …words that enhance and fulfill the image.
Trees might speak in cold moonlight
rumours swirling through the leaves
contemplating wrong and right
dreaming of a day to seize.
Crescent moon by Earthlight fulled
rules the zenith, riding high.
Apples weighted by the pull
toward the centre. Whispers, sighs
pass from bough to branch to root
down to where the Earth abides.
Watchful rabbit, owl’s hoot
safely distant on the tide
of silver shining in the night
turning darkness fair and bright.
Well, this rendering was a bit experimental but in the end I think it worked. For one thing, usually I pick a point outside of the circle as the light source but this time, the light radiates from the centre. It gives the whole a sort of camp-fire-lit feeling which I like a lot. At the same time, it is pretty strange and eerie!
Tom caught the feeling and brought a deep poetic truth to it. Here is his amazing poem for this mandala.
We are your faces, lit by firelight Finely tuned to captivate emotion Gazing inward, turning back to night Circling the flame's eternal motion We are your faces, waiting for a time When you will wear us out in light of day Speaking through us, trying to be kind Or angry, sad, bemused... some other way We are your faces, we know who you are When you take us off as darkness falls Above the lighted circle distant stars Wheel across the sky at curfew's call. We are your faces, masking you from pain We are your faces, speaking in your name
image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe
My grandfather used to grow peace roses. They are lovely colours ranging from cream to peach to almost orange with the petal edges darker. Their distinctive scent can take me right back to my childhood visiting that rose garden.
Even though many of the colours used are tone on tone, they bring out the various layers of the ink drawing that may have been difficult to see in the black and white version …and the playful ladybugs add another element of life to the composition.
Here is Tom’s wonderful new sonnet for the colour version of this mandala.
moments as the compass slowly turning
through the seconds, minutes, daylight hours
then beneath the midnight sky while burning
candles light the lattice of the flowers
with glowing fire until the dawn’s soft touch
ignites the luminosity within
signaling the day’s return and much
to do as all our future yesterdays begin
joyously amidst the flaming blossoms
while the busy ladybugs meander
through the leaves in search of treasures awesome:
some succulent surprise or fine philander
to pass the days in pleasuring bestowments
of joy upon each other while the moments
image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe