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Hearts

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Hearts (6″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I decided to make an image that I could use for Valentine’s cards and I had so much fun creating this. It was very freeing to be so whimsical. Note the extra hearts created in the texture of the paint or in subtle colours in the background.

Here is the verse Tom wrote for the inside of the cards. How perfect is that!?

My heart drifts up, a butterfly,
upon the breeze as you pass by

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

Winter ditch

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Winter ditch (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Maybe it comes from my days working in architecture, but I enjoy looking at things in “plan view” (straight down). And recently, the beauty of the minutia we usually ignore right at our feet is drawing me in. There is so much life and colour there, once I stop to really look. The summers here get quite warm and very dry so I’m enjoying the rain and wet …well most of the time!

Here’s Tom’s haiku to go with this painting. 🙂

living rill feeds green
ripe grasses catching sunlight
ditch runs with spring rain

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

Forest floor

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Forest floor (6″ x 6″ oil on archival raised gessoed panel)

There is beauty all around including in the details of the various plants in the under-story of the West Coast woods. For example, here is the shiny green of salal leaves and the brilliant red of the Oregon grape leaves at this time of year. I had fun painting this – such bold, natural complementary colours!

Tom’s wonderful poem puts this tiny detail into a much bigger context of space and time.

The tangled under-story dwells
above dark earth, the ground’s foundation:
listen to the tale it tells
while the wind’s damp susurration
passes by on raven’s wings.
All around us voices sing
of elder days, when on this ground
no human footprint could be found.
The under-story still remembers
life alone beneath the trees
where forest gods might bend their knees
and coax new shoots from winter’s embers.
Ready always with the flame
of spring they leap to life again.

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

A bowl of eggs

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A bowl of eggs (8″x 8″oil on archival raised gessoed panel)

They must be raising some pretty fancy chickens locally because these were the latest eggs we bought. The colours are as shown so yes, muted tones of pink, blue, green, yellow, oh, and brown – although we’ve all seen those before! It was a challenge to go for those pastel shades. Maybe I’ll paint a bowl of white eggs sometime – a different kind of challenge.

In Tom’s poem he imagined different eggs, waiting to hatch.

An egg is perfect, smooth, as yet unborn,
bereft of all the cute complexity
of a hatchling, wobbly, still half-formed,
escaping from the shell’s convexity.
Ideas nascent, plans untried, their risks
untaken occupy our feathered nests,
waiting for the chipping of a brisk
relentless beak that will not take a rest
until the prisoner is free and clear
from out the egg and into clear bright air
where dangers lurk, and imperfection, fear,
are gathered ready, pouncing from their lair.
But in their imperfection chicks might rise
and live to soar in unforgiving skies.

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

One fine day

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One fine day (8″ x 10″ oil on archival raised, gessoed panel)

It was a very fine West coast winter day – quite mild and with sunshine! Our walk took us through the woods and out the other side towards farmland and pasture. This view is looking back towards the path to the woods. I like the feeling of this painting. It captures  the cool winter sun and the mystery of the path.

Tom’s poem may mean more if you’ve read Italo Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller” – however, it stands quite well alone. The image of my painting led Tom down a quite different path in his poem. I like it!

If On a Winter’s Day a Traveller

You are reading “If On a Winter’s Day a Traveller”,
perhaps online, or on your phone,
during your commute. The train, the bus,
the streetcar is quite crowded,
jostling and rattling around
as you get your head into the poem.

What lies ahead? The curve of road or track
leads on to darkness, mystery, confused
deep tunnels, full of dusty lights,
or intersections where the traffic snarls
into a knot. There’s no way out
but forward, so you go,
in time.

The screen is dark, you’ve been distracted,
and now the poem is done.

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

Pony in a field

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Pony in a field (6″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I was out walking with Tom recently. We had done a loop through the forest and had come out back along the road to get to the car. The sun was sloping low over the horizon and touched this adorable pony with a magical light. Naturally, I had to try to capture the scene.

Tom wrote a light-hearted poem that suits the mood and day just right. Check out more of Tom’s poems on Hello Poetry!

Sufficient Unto the Hay

Behold the ponies in the field
who neither sow, nor do they reap:
they run with unabated zeal
from dawn until they pause to sleep.
They do not worry, fuss, nor fret
that with a hand or two they’d yet
become a horse, majestic steed,
a noble beast of strength and speed
that all admire. A pony’s satisfied
with sun for warmth and grass to eat,
a stable’s shelter when the sleet
of winter falls, and one to ride
them round the ring, through woods,
to dappled meadows, fine and good.

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

White rhododendrons against the sky

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White rhododendrons against the sky (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Even when flowers are white, they aren’t really white. There’s shades of mauve, pale blue, pale yellow etc. It is a fun exercise to decide how to give volume and a sense of the sunlight using those subtle colours. Interestingly, the buds for these white blooms were pink!

Tom’s poem captures a moment that parallels the feeling of the painting perfectly. Tom has started posting his poems on a website called Hello Poetry.  Check out his poems there!

It’s quiet here beneath the waxy leaves
looking through the flowers at the sky
so changeless blue. The faintest summer breeze
stirs the rhododendrons as I lie
within the peaceful darkness, damp and cool.

Voices in the distance, kids at play,
cars along the boulevard hiss by,
furtive couples fumble down the way,
off to learn the meaning of a sigh
by the river’s isolated pool.

I close my eyes and feel the Earth beneath
the world above the universe. I fly
to distant lands where dragons form a wreath
around my life, where magic will not die,
and knights defend the helpless from the cruel.

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