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Nectar dreaming mandala

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Nectar Dreaming (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

Have I mentioned it’s been hot here? I continue to have a rather tropical inspiration permeate my work!

Here is a magical poem from Tom …a riff on T.S. Elliot’s “Usk”.

Do not step and break the branch
where snakes slip soft
on forest floor
bright birds dip beaks but not too deep
seeking wisdom
asking more
of ancient mysteries that dwell
down the Amazon
a dell
contains the secret
in grey air
a high safe nest
a serpent’s lair

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Ming poses

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Ming poses (8″ x 10″ oil on linen)

It was time for another portrait of one of my puss-cats. Ming is a gorgeous tortoiseshell who knows just how beautiful she is. It was fun to make this as close to a portrait as possible – it really looks like her from markings to personality which made me very happy! …and then I played around with some subtle pattern in the background to bring out the green of her eyes.

Tom’s lovely poem also shows her personality!

This is my portrait and I deign
to sit for you in calm and poise:
a monarch glowing with disdain
for all the rough and bustling noise
that humans seem to generate
as if they cannot contemplate
a life serene, unbound by care,
they crave the trumpet’s brassy blare
which doesn’t do them any good
despite their clashing awkward clatter
they miss the quiet times that matter
in the dark and silent woods
that surround this life of time
where truth is known to me and mine.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Tropical abstract 2

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Tropical abstract 2 (6″ x 6″)

Following on from the previous abstract, although done on another hot day in the studio, this one is cooler and more water-y …and possibly full of scales or little fishes. I felt it definitely had a tropical vibe too.

Tom has seen different things and has brought both his scientific mind and poetic magic to this piece!

Tadpoles over river-stones
rushing forward up the stream
toward a place that’s all unknown
to the likes of you or me
where tails will shrink until they go
and legs will sprout and then they’ll grow
and gills are lost to gasping lungs
as tadpoles climb up Darwin’s rungs
’til at the top they’ll find a pad
to rest in dappled summer sun
while knowing that the race they’ve run
was worth the effort, hard and mad
to reach a place of rest and peace
and all are equal, most to least.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

tropical abstract 1

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Tropical abstract 1 (6″ x 6″)

A bright and tropical feeling piece I painted when it was really too hot to be in the studio! I guess that’s why it turned out like this 😀

Tom saw things and then wrote this magical poem!

Beneath this cloak of many colours
beats a heart of fire and flight
rising up it flits and flutters
through the forest of the night
spreading wings of beauty wild
to soar above the dull and mild
turning past the falcon’s gyre
riding winds of pure desire
across the sunlit lands below
where lakes and streams trace out the ways
of humans passing mundane days
from dawn until the gloaming’s glow.
On flies the phoenix through the air
Above a world all unaware.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

knitters of the world mandala

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Knitters of the world (9″ x 9″)

Here is another in this series of meditative mandalas. Again it evolved from the centre into something a bit stranger as it went along! Somehow the elderly ladies seemed right and once they were there, well they were clearly knitting the world! In Greek mythology we usually hear about the Fates weaving but Tom took this and ran with it! His poem is below followed by a short commentary.

Each within her cozy private nook
where a clicking sound is all that breaks
the silence while across the centre looks
are exchanged to judge the give and take
required to hold the world in careful balance
between the lunar turns. Each day the talents
weigh against each other, vying with
the promise of a tangle or a kiss
from the One whose rays fall bright between
as the world’s created stitch by stitch:
plaited, purled, and stockinette are switched
to form the fabric, all that’s never seen.
Behind the famous trio of the Fates
the Elder Aunties patiently await.

Apollo (whose rays fall bright between) got the Fates drunk and tricked them into allowing his friend Admetus to outlive his days. I don’t think the Elder Aunties, each assigned to a lunar month, apparently, would be best pleased.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

On the path to Tofino …oil painting

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On the path to Tofino (6″ x 8″)

Had the wonderful opportunity to visit the far western edge of this country recently – that is the west coast of Vancouver Island with its incredible Long Beach, charming Tofino, and amazing sunsets! We stayed at Middle Beach Lodge which was lovely. This painting was from a view along the path from the lodge to Tofino …and yes, the wild roses were blooming. The scent of the sea and rich undergrowth of the enormous cedars was a heady combination.

Here is Tom’s wonderful poetic take on this time and place.

Somewhere in the vasty distance
out across the endless sea
moving waves meet wind’s resistance
turning toward us, you and me
who stand upon this western shore
having all and wanting more
while the waves eternal kiss
sand and stone in sunlit bliss
beneath the summer flowers in bloom
whose wafting scent illuminates
our memories in days that wait
for all our yesterdays atuned
to this present joyful place
awash with waves that leave no trace.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Lotus mandala

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Lotus mandala (9″ x 9″)

I continue to be in a mandala mood. The title is a bit of a pun referring both to the lotus flower and sitting in lotus position. Once I had added the figures, it just seemed to make sense that they would be under water meditating …maybe they’re nymphs! I am sure that there are many possible interpretations. Here is Tom’s wonderful poetic one!

within the blue and lambent depths
beneath the floating leaves and flowers
somewhere deep the secret sits
immersed in emptiness and powers
that do not differentiate
between the poor and potentate
for neither lowest nor the high
are more nor less than souls that fly
through the waters of dark ponds
where illusion’s light is clear
bringing all that’s distant near
while fishes swim through waving fronds
and in the centre still there dwells
more yet more than words can tell

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe