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.8: Love

Love
Mandala No.8: Love by Judy Backhouse (copyright)

Finally, here is Love. A mandala that I have been lavishing loving attention on for some time now.

Love is represented by the traditional heart shape, but these hearts have swelled up like ripe fruit. Love is fruitful. Love underlies all creative endeavours. Creativity is driven by love, as is so nicely captured in this quote:

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” Osho

At the heart of the picture, inside the central square, is one of these heart-fruits, surrounded by rays of gold. This square has a white background, emphasising the golden rays. Love has this quality of warmth. From wherever it originates, it spreads out and impacts on everything in its path. To be surrounded by loving people always has a positive impact, if you are in the way of that love.

Instead of the traditional four doors or gates, there are four fat, ripe, heart-fruit on a background of textured green. The fruit are connected by a vine. They grow together. Beyond the circle of green the rays of gold continue, on a muted pale ochre background. The warmth of the golden rays is still there, but you will feel it less the further you are from the source.

Love is painted in acrylics on a 50cm x 50cm gallery-wrapped canvas and finished with a matt acrylic varnish. The rays of gold continue around the edge of the painting as shown.

Love detail 02

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