Garden goddess

20200612-garden-goddess
Garden goddess (20″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas)

This painting was built up in many layers working daily over about two weeks. It looks nothing like its early iterations transforming quite radically from what I thought I was painting at first. The title comes from the subtle figure in the middle of the painting which I didn’t even see until I had decided the painting was finished. I have never painted anything like this before – it was fascinating to see it emerge.

Tom wrote a poem for this piece that transcends and enriches the painting. Thank you.

I am the whisper that you do not hear
I am a ripple through the summer leaves
Too close to see because I’m standing near
Too far to touch my simple floral sleeve
Now come with me upon a journey outward
Now come with me to where you’ve never been
Soft breezes quiver as you look to windward
Soft breezes waft a scent that is not seen
I’m all around you walking on the surface
I’m all there is and all there’ll ever be
There is no way to show you my true purpose
There is no way for you to not be free
I am the voice of thunder and of flame
I am the sacred utterance of my name

Tom says references for this poem include: a gnostic poem called “Thunder, Perfect Mind”, “The Waste Land” (what the thunder said, o you who look to windward…), and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, image of touching the sleeve of a ghost to go on a journey.

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

Arranging flowers

20200525-arranging-flowers
Arranging flowers (11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas)

I have been playing more with acrylics lately than I have for a long time. Feeling experimental! This peonies in a vase composition was painted from my imagination using lots of layering, mark-making and impasto – another piece that felt very freeing.

Tom’s haiku is a perfect accompaniment!

cut blossom glass vase
petals falling in the sun
lazy summer morn

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

Close embrace

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Close embrace (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Another abstract piece where I followed the flow of the paint and what the piece seemed to want. My title came to me as the painting was coming close to completion. I was getting the feeling of being hugged as a child by elderly great aunts – all talcum powder and feathers …I didn’t actually have any great aunts like that – just imagining them!

It was really interesting to see how radically different Tom’s vision of the painting is. It’s a reminder how much variation there can be in what people see in abstract paintings.

staccato atmospheric draws
along the stormy front
clouds reach out with questing paws
tornadoes kick with blunt

hard feet of air the hunkered ground
that rises in response
striking back with lightning bound
in power strong it flaunts

its permanence despite the storm
that claws its native soil
for earth abides though it be torn
so patient in its toil

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

Floral abstract

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Floral Abstract (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

This started as some quick gestures in acrylic paint but was layered over – with many layers of oil paint – into …well, I followed where the painting wanted to go – a fascinating process. It can take me much, much longer to paint an abstract piece than something more realistic even though the individual brushstrokes can be bold and decisive.

Here is Tom’s poem which brings more thoughts and depths to what is seen here.

the curve of time is spiraling
toward a conscious centre
cutting holes where angels bring
our souls that they may enter

this world of finite time and space
where one thing after next
proceeds with soft diurnal pace
to make such strange effects

as flowers that are first a seed
then afterward a bud
until they blossom, finally freed
then fade in autumn’s flood

as seasons pass through space while time
gives views from all the angles
and our souls have heard the chimes
and given up their tangles

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

Dancing with uncertainty

20200504-Dancing-with-Uncertainty
Dancing with uncertainty (8″x10″ oil on raised panel)

This is a curious piece that came out of how I was feeling in early May. At least I guess it must have! It started off as abstract and the figures just asked to be added at some point. Maybe they are personas of various ways I was feeling about the situation – joyful, fortunate, questioning, questing, striving, toiling…

I will let Tom’s poem say any more words that go with this one.

We’re busy here, so hard at work
when she wanders by:
Randomness Uncertainty,
she sure does catch the eye

with her flagrant fripperies
uncaring of our toil.

To keep the wheels aturning
is why we churn and moil

but she will have none of that.
It’s hard to concentrate
when she’s flaunting everything
we’ve tried to quell, abate,

and keep under control
but there she is, insouciant
just going for a stroll.

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

White rhododendrons, blue sky

20200507-white-rhododendrons-blue-sky
White rhododendrons, blue sky (16″ x 20″ oil on archival panel)

I painted this one about a month ago from photos I took (not this year) of a large rhododendron garden in a nearby park. I say nearby, but it would have still required a ferry ride to visit this park and we haven’t been off our small island since the shutdown started almost three months ago.

Tom just wrote an amazing poem this weekend that speaks to the times we live in as much as this painting. I feel profoundly grateful to have inspired it with my art.

storm clouds rising           somewhere up ahead
blossoms tossing            shadowed on the wind
skies are changing           blue is running red
searching for forgiveness           for our sins
in the darkness               under forest cover
eyes that hide           from hunters passing by
we hold these truths
                  clutched to us like our mother
we tell these stories       hoping they're a lie
raindrops splashing         fat upon the flowers
shaking leaves and          dampening the ground
summer's waking thunder           tolls the hour
what never has been lost         cannot be found
young buds open          now their time has come
senescent giants falling            free the sun

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

 

Tulips

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Tulips (20″x 20″) oil on canvas

This larger tulip painting doesn’t look much like the study posted previously but I think they each have different things going for them. I especially enjoy the undulating leaves in the foreground in this one.

Here is Tom’s haiku written for this painting. As he said – “Small poem for a large painting! They seem innocent and open, but the wood behind…”

pink, red, open, closed…
tulip blossoms greet spring sun
keeping no secrets

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

Spring flames

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Spring flames (6″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Here is a little study from when the tulips were just starting to show their colours. I was playing with the brush strokes and the colour palette for this. Although I actually like how it looks, the bigger painting of tulips I did after turned out quite different. Hopefully I can post that one soon.

Tom wrote a beautiful poem for this one.

Some fires burn more brightly in the sun
and in the dark retreat to embers, cool,
exploding once again to join the fun
while playing for the rest of us the Fool
who trips and stumbles, bounces up again
whenever springtime sunshine touches down
to warm the Earth while shyly singing wrens
banish by their edicts every frown.
Behold the flames that stir the winter heart,
rising toward the sky in hopeful light
to lift the spirits, signalling the start
of another day before the night.
For though the fire is fleeting it will burn
again in other hearts as seasons turn.

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

Garden vibe

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Garden vibe (8″ x 8″ acrylic on raised wood panel)

These current times have me experimenting more with my art for some reason. Anyway, this is painted in acrylic which I haven’t done much with for a few years. It felt more playful and less “pressure-y” which was what I needed! And it turned out to be playful too – no surprises there! Acrylic dries so fast that if you decide a colour or shape isn’t working, you can paint over it almost right away. So different from both oils and watercolour.

Tom found inspiration for a very dynamic poem here! He adds some background information in case you’re wondering – like I did – what the heck that word means:
Thylakoids–which sound like they should be some kind of creature on
Edgar Rice Borough’s “Barsoom” (Mars)–are the structure within
chloroplasts where the light-dependent reactions that almost all life on
Earth ultimately depends on take place.

Storms of summer, raging light
crashing down as photic waves
sweep the beaches of the night
and shift dark beasts within their caves:
the sleeping thylakoids are roused
by the light in which they’re doused.
They ride the surges, open wide,
absorb the roaring solar tide
and feel some energy within
as bonds are broken and remade
within this bright and sunny glade,
a garden without sin
where simple surfaces abound
but deep beneath the truth is found.

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

 

Fairy slippers

20200501-Fairy-slippers
Fairy slippers (6″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

Here’s a quick little watercolour with some ink line-work from my sketchbook of some local wildflowers. They are so sweet – a type of orchid looking like Lady slippers but much smaller – hence the name. The whole plant is only about 4″ tall.

Here is Tom’s playful poem reminding us to enjoy life …and get outside when you can! 🙂

Psst! Hey! Let me tell you now
we’ve gotta stick together!
Come in closer, head’s abow,
now here’s the gossip… whether
there will be rain or sun or what
no one is really sure today
so be prepared for dearth or glut
and listen up, hear what I say:
This life is short, and blooming ain’t
the biggest thing you’ll ever do
so don’t be living like a saint!
It’s time to have a blast! Go to!
Enjoy this season as it runs
Enjoy the warm and loving sun!

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