Mandala No.15: Focus

focus-small-turned
Mandala No.15: Focus by Judy Backhouse (copyright)

Focus is about aligning your thoughts, actions and energy. You start out wide, but narrow down, getting closer and closer to a single point. So Focus is based on a spiral, moving inwards towards that focal point in the centre.

The alignment is represented by fish; first milling about aimlessly, but gradually turning until they all head in the same direction. Even in the background, the flowers align on the grass in sympathy.

focus-detail-7

I tried hanging Focus in different ways. Hung square, the beautiful sweep of the spiral is clearer, but the dominance of the pink area makes the painting look unbalanced to me. So I tried hanging it diagonally and rather liked the result.

Focus is painted in acrylic paint on a 50cm x 50cm gallery-wrapped canvas and is finished with matt acrylic varnish. The image continues over the edge as shown below. It is signed on the back and ready to hang.

focus-detail-1

Mandala No.14: Relax

20160824_101920
Mandala No.14: Relax by Judy Backhouse (copyright)

After working on Fear, I needed an antidote, so here is Relax, a comfortable composition reminiscent of the manicured grass, flowers, and water features of a well-run holiday resort. It’s deliberately clich├ęd because the familiar allows one to relax; nothing threatening here.

20160824_101941

In the middle of the mandala, a floppy sunhat might hide me, sitting on a candy-striped beach towel. This mandala uses cool, relaxing shades of blue and green, with happy yellow and orange.

Surrounding me is a pool of blue water. The traditional four doors of the mandala have become four stepping-stones across the water. The pool sits on a lawn of green mowed in traditional stripes. Then there is a tangle of yellow and orange flowers that add some irregularity to the otherwise very structured elements.

20160824_102209

Mandala No.14: Relax is painted in acrylic paint and finished in gloss acrylic varnish on a 50 cm x 50 cm gallery-wrapped canvas. The painting continues around the edge of the canvas as shown below. This mandala is signed on the back and could be hung in any direction.

20160824_102141

Mandala No.12: Content

Content
Mandala No.12: Content by Judy Backhouse (copyright)

Content is a state of not wanting, of being satisfied with what you have, of feeling that the world is right, just as it is. For me, these feelings of not wanting are most common at home, so Content is about homeliness: simple white flowers, a red and white checked table cloth, four chairs set out for friends or family. These are the simple pleasures that make life feel right. The tiled circular dias frames and contains. Whole.

The centre of this mandala is a round bowl of white flowers, surrounded by the red and white checks of the tablecloth. I like the simplicity of red complementing green, set off against white. The georgeous tiles on the dias echo the red and green in muddier shades. Beyond is bright green grass with dancing vines and more white flowers to add some movement.

I love the symmetries of the central composition, vertical, horizontal and rotational, with only the flowers being out of line. Compare these two views of Content, showing contrasting directions of the squares. Yes, you could hang it diagonally, if you wanted to.

Content is painted in acrylic paint on a 50cm x 50cm gallery-wrapped canvas and finished in matt acrylic varnish. The delicate vines spill over the edge of the canvas.

content detail 1

Content is signed on the back and is ready to hang.

Mandala No.6: Exuberant

exuberant mandala small
Mandala No.6: Exuberant by Judy Backhouse (copyright)

Exuberant is very much like happy, but with a quality of excess, of wildness, of liveliness. According to the Oxford dictionary, exuberant means “lively and cheerful” or “growing profusely” and derives from words meaning “overflowing” and “abundantly fruitful”.

In this mandala, the traditional four doors are replaced with a bursting out of green, not only beyond the containing circle, but out beyond the frame of the picture. The vines have gone wild, looping, curling and squiggling with playful life, off the edge of the canvas and back again. Whoosh! Whee!

Exuberant makes use of my happy colours – yellows and oranges, sky blues and fresh green. In the centre is a cheerful orange and yellow flower surrounded by growing green. The blue surround gives an impression of water supporting all that growth.

Exuberant is painted on a 50cm x 50cm gallery wrapped canvas and the exuberant vines go over the edge and back on three sides. It is finished in gloss acrylic varnish.

exuberant edge1

Mandala No.1: Peace

Peace Mandala 2
Mandala No.1: Peace by Judy Backhouse (copyright)

The Peace mandala tries to create a safe space in which I can feel enclosed, but not clastrophobic. To do this I changed the shape of the traditional square to give the sense of being able to see into other rooms, the expanded “doors”. This area is a calming blue edged with gold. My safe space is surrounded by a reassuring deep green beyond which a textured blue space provides a safe moat. Adding an uplifting note, little purple flowers edge this space.

Peace detail 1

In the middle of the mandala is a place of meditation, surrounded by a swirl of pinky-blues. Here I am, perfectly at peace.

Peace detail 2

The Peace mandala is painted in acrylics on an ordinary stretched 50cm x 50cm canvas. Although I have painted around the edge of the canvas, it would probably be best displayed in a light-wood or gold floating frame.

Peace detail 3

In case you are wondering about the numbering, I started working on Peace before Happy, but finished it after the simpler Happy. So Peace is No. 1 and Happy is No. 2.