all posts, MANDALAS

Plant signature mandalas.

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Everything Now Says Nothing. ENSO.

Primary finger painting enso.
First experiments. Primary ensos. Dipping my finger in red, yellow and blue and using the breath to create simple circles. Some little lovelies in this collection.

Everything now says nothing.

Enso it goes on.
EN -in….SO-out.
Beginning and ending.

Birthing and Dying.
Each moment unique and different from the last.

Catching a few of them.

In brush and ink.
Let go of perfection,

Let go of comparison.

Let the breath draw out the lines.

And the brushes make their mark

Illustrating only the whole.


It all happened very quickly.
A combination of being around mindful people on a recent teaching course, some long unanswered questions, re-zen, being answered, (in a very zen way, through dreams and sychronicities), a deep need to simplify everything, followed, immediately, by a deep fear of letting go of my illustrative bent. But hey, my housemartins had flown away and my compassionate brave vision stands complete and this idea kept nagging at me, resuIlting in concentrating, focused on INTENTION and the breath alone, simply playing with this ancient intriguing enso form and delighting in every breath.

It is becoming a daily practise for me.

Exploring using fresh plants ‘pickings’ as brushes and enjoying all the shapes and ideas they suggest. I have also been intrigued by the plants own ‘signature’ made by pressing the ‘brush’ into the paper on completion of the enso. Experimenting with making digital mandalas out of those images…leading to some inkblot test style images that always suggest new stories for my work!


bramble signature mandala
I can see great fat cheshire cats lying on their backs….what else!?

I am loving it.

Description of Enso from Wiki.

White rose signature.
peace rose signature in gold ink
Peace Meditation Enso 24 09 7 (4)
peace rose eso, in one breath, with gold ink.

The Peace Rose Enso was painted at the end of a one hour, silent, zazen, meditation as part of the Global Peace Meditation for Intenational Peace Day 2017. In a very immersed, flowing, place as I created this series of ensos. Painted in gold ink, it is sad that they do not photograph or scan very well. Tilt the screen back and forward for more detail!!

peace-rose-gold-ink-mandala GIF
Flickering in the candle light. Emitting golden peace.

It really is not nothing.


My eyes tried to follow you,

Until I was dizzy with turning.

Cadences of expert flight.

Weaving and flipping. Spinning and stalling.

Scimitar wings slicing through the air

Chattering, through out it all, as if it was, really, nothing.




It was nearly impossible with my hand-held, basic , digital camera to ‘catch’ good images of swallows in flight. So I ended up taking 100s of full shots and then zooming in later in Adobe Photoshop and editing the tiny crops into a set of images.
The blurry exposure this gives the images seems to work quite satisfyingly. I experimented with home printing onto watercolour paper and am pleased with the small, monochrome cards I ended up with.

Watercolour paper flight cards. 60 x 80 mm.Watercolour paper flight cards. 60 x 80 mm.

All this ‘swallowing’ has been inspired by my decision to join the 100 days project. a NZ based project that inspired an artist in Edinburgh to see who else would like to exhibit their end product, in Edinburgh, in September. Yay, something real to work towards!

I enjoyed the idea of committing to one small, creative, discipline every day and wanted to find a way to use up some of my ‘collected’ materials.

A year ago I was playing around with turning recycled, pizza, trays (we have two boys, so I have collected ALOT of these over the years!). The process was fascinating and unpredictable and I ended up with a fun collection of ‘shrinky-dinks’ and a mock-up for a mobile.

Then I found out about how toxic styrofoam is and the gases that are released on heating in this way! I ditched the idea.

But the trays are still there. They never biodegrade in refill sites. There are no local recycling options. At least half the fumes are released from the Sharpie pens I used to colour these experiments! I drive a car and my husband is a mechanic. I still use my car despite being in full knowledge of all the toxic chemicals involved in the motor trade. I accept that this process harms the environment, but , in balance, feel that this small harm is nothing to the harm being done in this wall building, people damming world outside. And it will become something more than rubbish.

That people  have become little more than ‘waste’ in todays world is something that haunts me daily and I do my best to support all actions attempting to support refugees in this humanitarian disaster.

When I considered this project I recieved a clear vision of an installation/scupture piece, which could be displayed in very many ways, using wire and hundreds of these small swallows.

I have been searching for a way to deal with the immigration crisis for a while now, as it affects me deeply. Not one for producing overtly political art (although I have always admired it) this idea seems to keep on giving!

I will spend some other studio time playing within the entire theme of ‘Migration’.

Proceeding to play with this concept has now inspired a new poem and another piece I am considering using as the basis for an entry to a major competition. Deadline in 2 days. So much to do so little time!

Time to make like a swallow!