Floral abstract

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


18 thoughts on “Floral abstract

    1. Thank you! This piece was done quite intuitively so even what looks like a vase in the middle was a result of the sweeping lines that I didn’t notice at first. It was a very freeing process – maybe a bit like jazz improvisation. 🙂

      1. The comparison to jazz improvisation is very apt in this case, because high quality jazz improv is based on a rigorously trained understanding of form and structure, which is then allowed free rein to unfurl with extremely little premeditation. Even what is called free jazz (in particular its initial creations, the “First Wave”) is, when it is at its best, a studied kind of freedom.

  1. I am glad you think so, because you are REALLY REALLY good at this sort of thing.

    I am always (rather shamelessly) name dropping my mentors Ornette Coleman and Shozo Shimamoto in this regard: not because they are famous, but rather their absolute freedom was VERY well thought out… within specific constraints! Master Shimamoto, who did such things as run through paper and drop paint from a crane as part of his work, could draw and paint in traditional manners as well as anyone. Master Coleman, the Father of Free Jazz, used to practice transcribed solo cello suites by J.S. Bach for hours and hours a day for years and years. trust me, it is really really hard to play like he did, like you are randomly exploring the notes on a saxophone, when you are more familiar with the music of Bach than anyone else in the jazz world!

    “Floral Abstract”, in that regard, then captures something essential about flowers though it may seem like not being able to “fully” see the flowers would distract from the paintings floral nature. You really capture the unexplainable “joie d’vivre” of a mixed bouquet, the formlessness within form that transcends form itself. Seriously…

  2. oooooh, such great energy! “…the curve of time is spiraling.” Superb. I agree, allowing a painting to paint itself is very much a completely different experience, but o, so worth it. This is a gorgeous painting!

    1. Thank you so much! I am fighting my current piece a bit …not always easy to get in that space …then again I went through a bit of an awkward teen period on this one too. 😆

      1. Love how you put that…awkward teen period, perfect! I wonder if it’s attributed to an inner push or momentum of always stretching our creative boundaries? Looking forward to your next piece!

      2. I would like to think it’s because when we experiment, we truly don’t know what kind of “adult” our piece will become. It’s hard to let go and let them be their own thing. …I’m a bit behind with posting so what I’m currently working on may not come up for a while – after some other pieces that have been waiting patiently to show themselves.

  3. This is a lovely painting. I agree with you when you say that abstract painting takes longer than figurative work . There’s such a lot more thinking and deciding going on !

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