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Winter bouquet

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Winter bouquet (16″x 20″ oil on canvas)

 

When I bought this bouquet, it had other colours of flowers in it as well, but I just felt like trying something more monochrome. Pretty pleased with how this turned out. Even though it’s quite a bit larger than I have been painting, I got the painting laid out and largely developed in one session and finished it up in another while the oil paint was still nice and moveable. So not quite alla prima but close.

Once again, Tom has found something profound to say about my painting – this time in haiku form.

bright white cut flowers
cut glass vase catches sunlight
mourners murmur grief

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Kitsilano market artichokes

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Kitsilano market artichokes (8″ x 10″ oil on canvas)

This is from a photo I took while I was living in Vancouver. There are various local markets around town and one fall day I visited one in Kitsilano – mounds and mounds of fruit and veggies to see! Artichokes combine wonderful shapes with fantastic giant flowers. What more can an artist ask for?

Here is Tom’s playful poetic piece!

Edible or beautiful
that’s the choice for artichokes:
for flowers are unsuitable
for the palate when they’ve broke
from out of inflorescences
and into excess essences
of beauty tough. It’s really not
just what you wanted when you bought
those artichokes. The market stall
was running out of produce then,
a few odd plants with hairy stems
and some artichokes, that’s all!
But if we eat the unbloomed few
the others will provide a view!

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Drumbeg at New Years

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Drumbeg at New Years (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

We went for a walk on New Year’s Day in a park by the ocean. There were a number of others out taking advantage of the pleasant day on a holiday as well with lots of shared smiles and well-wishes for the New Year.

This was a bit of an experiment. I knew that I wanted to paint the scene and took several photos but I wasn’t sure if any were quite right. Half way through painting it, I thought – that’s not working! The composition had looked interesting in a small photo but in the painting instead of drawing me in, I was just aware of the vast expanse of boring foreground. Adding more detail and texture to the grass, rocks and logs seems to have been enough to solve that problem and I like it now. Having some small figures in the scene gives a sense of scale and reminds me of traditional Chinese landscape paintings where there is almost always a figure going about their life in the distance.

Tom’s poem expresses how well he knows the coasts and seasons here.

These are the crooked roads we walk
wet, muddy, by the shore
where trees are bent by slow incessant summer winds
and empty winter gales.

Their cousins lie in serried ranks
along the rocky shore
tossed by tides and angry waves from distant isles
come to rest at last.

We walk on in silence strong
secure upon this shore
while beneath the winter scudding clouds the sea
lies calm in patient peace.

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Some favourites from 2019!

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This year was an exciting one for me as an artist. I saw growth in my work and new appreciation as I opened my studio for visitors. It was actually a bit hard to pick my favourite paintings from the year which is a good thing I think! Anyway, I am feeling happy and grateful as 2019 ends and looking forward to new challenges and development in 2020.

Wishing everyone a New Year of peace and plenty.

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer

Winter sun

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Winter sun (8 x 10″ oil on canvas)

It doesn’t quite look that wintery here yet since there isn’t any snow on the ground. But I was in the mood to paint snow so I found a photo I took last year where the snow was bending the ferns along the path and a low winter sun shone through the trees.

Tom’s poem for this one perfectly brings back that moment while clearly referencing Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening“.

Crooked branches, beams of light
scatter through the cold wet air
as fleeting day yields to the night:
sun slipping back to winter’s lair.
The slushy snow beneath my boots…
they mire in mud, they skid on roots,
as cold seeps in beneath my coat
while the daylight dims, a mote
of yellow, distant, glimmering light
is all that’s left of this short day
while long before me lies the way
with miles to go before the night
has gripped the forest, cold and deep,
so I walk on, and do not sleep.

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

Fierce Beast (AKA Yogurt)

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Fierce Beast (AKA Yogurt) (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel

I painted this kitty portrait a few weeks ago now but somehow missed posting it. Although the painting isn’t too large, I think I have conveyed the largeness and personality of the cat quite well. He’s quite large – about 20 lbs! and is both cuddlesome and fearsome – at least in his own estimation lol. There were some colours in the background which I wanted to keep, but by making the shapes quite abstract they didn’t distract attention from the cat.

Tom’s poem is another kind of portrait of Yogurt.

Deep within each peaceful cat there dwells
a Beast of Olde, untamed and passing wild:
a creature dark and dangerous and fell,
not even slightly cuddle-some nor mild.
It rarely shows itself, but still, when roused
to the surface slowly it will rise
flooding up from where all anger’s dowsed,
witchery alive within its eyes.
Only thoughtful hesitation keeps
us safe from this fierce beast when it is woke
and waiting, thinking, contemplating leaps
which will leave lamps and crockery a’broke.
Beware the Beast that we have seen before:
Cry havoc and let loose the cats of war

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

From Brickyard Beach

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From Brickyard Beach (6″x8″ oil on canvas)

Here’s a quick piece from a recent walk. No matter the weather (it was a grey overcast day) it is still beautiful here …and every day is different – the light, the water …everything. I limited my palette a bit more than usual by removing all my shades of reds.

Tom wrote a lovely poem that is a (happier) riff on “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.

The sea is calm today:
beneath the surface silent currents sweep
through narrows, over reefs
far down into the darkling deeps
while high above the sky keeps faith
with us. We walk the shore
in beauty as the light
of Winter Solstice softly peeps
through the crowded clouds that paint the sky.

There is no sadness here
no ignorance of all
the love, the joy, the hope that rules the world.
No leaden certainties constrain this life
to pain or darkness
though even now poor distant armies fight
beneath this sky, far off across the sea.

Stand by me now, my love,
on this cold day when light is short
for life is long
and in the Ocean’s silence is the song.

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe