Brickyard Beach – Late Summer

Brickyard Beach – Late Summer (10″ x 8″ oil on stretched canvas)

Early in September I went out with my gear and found another local beauty spot. It was really hot that day! I was glad to find a bit of shade to set up in. The challenge as usual with plein air painting was to catch the light quickly – as well as the colour of the water and the shapes and locations of the clouds before everything changes. The result is less detailed but fresher and more dynamic than working from a photo.

Here is Tom’s poem which at first seems to be for another scene but wait for it – the final couplet tells the tale.

In summer gales these waters roil
as wind and tide and waves contend
for who shall make the sailor’s toil
the worst. And who shall best unmend
the flapping canvas, spliced up rope,
a bimini not made to cope
with gusts that come from angles all
around the compass. Masts might fall
as waves come in from every point.
The bow is bounced, the stern is slewed,
the sky with clouds ascudding’s strewed
as the sea tests every joint.
But in the calm it lies serene
as if those storms were never seen!

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

Sunflowers and stripes

Sunflowers and stripes (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Having bought some sunflowers at the market back at the end of August, I had to paint them of course. I decided to use extra thick and juicy brushstrokes a la Van Gogh. Sunflowers just seem to want that approach.

Tom wrote a haiku that gets to the heart of the painting in so few words.

transient fires burn
triumvirate of blossoms
brighten summer days

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

White garden roses

White garden roses (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I do love flowers in their natural setting more than those in a vase. This is a study in white playing with the warm and cool tones to give a natural play of light and shadow on the petals.

Tom wrote a haiku for this one that captures the essence of the moment.

delicate scent wafts
petals open to the sun
summer afternoon

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

Summer dreaming

Summer dreaming (12″ x 16″ oil on raised panel)

I have been playing with more abstract (and abstract adjacent) painting this year. This one was built up over many layers ending up somewhere between impressionism and abstraction. At some point in the process, the moon appeared in the sky and stayed. The feeling was quite dreamy and more subtle than this photo shows but I can’t get another because it sold quickly.

Tom wrote a delightful sonnet with a rhythm of anapestic tetrameter (like Dr. Seuss) which really suits the mood of the painting.

The farmer’s abed and the Moon is reborn
so we’ll dance and we’ll sing from the eve until morn
when we’ll lie down exhausted and sleep through the day.
In the shadows of grasses and flowers we will lay
until the soft darkness ensilvered by stars
creeps out of the gloaming and brings us awake
to drink from the dew by the light of bright Mars
and sip the sweet nectar of flowers ’til we slake
our thirst and our hunger. Our bodies adorned
with trews made of petals, so silken and gay
we’ll jig to a hornpipe like England’s old tars
who served that old pirate, Sir Francis the Drake.
For we are the Fairest of Folk in this land
obeying no law but the bright Moon’s command.

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

Twin Beaches – High Summer

Twin Beaches – High Summer (10″ x 8″ oil on canvas)

This is a plein air painting from August. The sun was high and warm reflecting back all kinds of glorious colours in the water. I captured a couple of sailboats at anchor as well as a few floating markers. The mountains of the mainland are in the distance. I have a lovely memory of the day when I look at this.

Tom wrote a thoughtful poem that speaks of times long gone the results of which still impact us today.

Upon a time a Spaniard passed this way
anchoring and sending out a brace of boats to sound
the waters all around the quiet bay
where otter, seals, and cod could still be found.
The shore was all alive with other eyes
that watched the strange great ships and wondered where
they had first tasted of sea. What skies
had witnessed their emergence from their lair?
Dark ravens cocked and turned upon the wind
Dark rhymes were brewing in the human heart
Dark beneath the summer sky the sins
of darkness drove the worlds apart.
The ships sailed on, left chaos in their wake
and broken words that promises forsake.

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

A Knock at the Door

A Knock at the Door (Book written by Tom and illustrated by me!)

I am so pleased to see the second volume of the Inner Islands Trilogy in print! I loved illustrating it and following the adventures of the wonderful characters Tom created. All of the illustrations were drawn in pen and ink with brushed ink washes.

You can order it from Amazon at this link from Canada
From this link from the U.S.
And from this link from the U.K.

Illustrations (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
Written and cover layout (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Lily-pond

Lily-pond (12″ x 12″ oil on canvas)

I painted this one for a specific local show which isn’t until January but I wanted to make sure it would be dry in lots of time for varnishing. All the paintings in the show will be the same format (12″ x 12″) and the same price but all different styles and subjects. I really hope mine appeals to someone …who doesn’t like waterlilies, right?!

Tom wrote a poem for this one about the power of illusions.

Some days I think that I could walk across
the mirror-surface of this lily-pond
stepping on the stones of green and gloss
all my weight supported by the fronds
of floating pads. Their vines are columns, stone
could not provide as much support or strength
as their living sinews, summer-grown
from roots and stems, prodigious in length.
Could I not walk on water, dance on air?
Could I not just this once defy the laws?
Could I not touch the face of one so fair?
Could I not have effect without a cause?
Some days there are illusions that have power
But none so great as one strong lily’s flower.

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

April

April (11″ x 14″ oil on stretched linen)

This one was a commission. I had it mostly done back in March when everything shut down but I did a couple of final tweaks recently and finally got to hand deliver it to the new owner. I was quite pleased with how it turned out – the setting and the dog’s expression were such a pleasure to paint. And I’m happy to say the new owner was delighted. In case you’re wondering, this beloved pup was part (mostly?) Irish wolfhound.

Tom wrote a touching poetic tribute to go with the painting.

There is a dog that moves the hearts of men,
whose soulful eyes see further than our own:
far into realms and regions past the ken
of those of us whose spirits dare not roam
beyond these castle walls of bone and flesh
and into spaces where the angels fly
unhampered by how gears of logic mesh
to make this cold illusion where we die
and are not swept into the heart of God
where our absent friends are joyously
awaiting us. Do not mistake a dog
for one without a soul. At peace and free:
where there is love, there still she is alive
to greet us in the morning as we strive.

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

Drumbeg view – summer

Drumbeg view – Summer (8″ x 10″ oil on canvas)

Another plein air piece from July. There is a wonderful park along the ocean that I hope to paint many more times. The mood of the sky and water is different every time. This day, the tide was somewhat low showing shallow rocks extending out from shore. A leaning tree, some wave action and a calm sky complete the scene.

Tom wrote another haiku for this one encapsulating in words my memory of painting that afternoon.

somewhere to the south
beyond warm summer mists
passage to the sea

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

Shadowed paths

Shadowed paths (16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas)

This is the next in my abstract explorations. There is play with depth and texture as well as colour (of course). It makes me think of a hot end-of-summer day …but it’s cool in the woods.

Tom’s poem takes a different and perhaps darker path with references to:
[Proverbs, 4:16-17
“For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is
taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

When in the middle of my life
I found myself within a darkened wood
though lit by faerie lights that floated up
and over trees mysterious. Their shapes
were strange and unfamiliar, hung
with vines that grow the grapes from whence
a famous vintage will be pressed
yclept the wine of violence in the Book.
I do not taste them as I softly pass
along the shadowed paths that wend their way
between the gnarled trunks. I do not eat,
nor drink from rills that run between the roots
as deeper down I go. The woods are silent,
dark, and deep… You know the rest, I think,
but I pass by, upon the other side.

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