Mouse-eyed view

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Mouse-eyed view (oil on 8″ diameter raised birch panel)

My first round painting! So much fun to try this. I kind of love it. 🙂 Hard to photograph though because of seeing the background so I blacked it out digitally.

I adore Tom’s playful poem for this! It made me see my own painting in a new way. 😀

A mouse-eyed view from way down here:
it sees the world all round
and sneaks along without a fear
upon the secret ground.

A blade of grass is ever-tall
to creatures of the Earth.
The trees and stars both rise and fall
above a mousie’s birth.

“For I was born,” might say a mouse,
“with Maple crossing Mars
and Douglas Fir in Retrograde…
the fault’s not in my stars

but in the trees that chart a course
across the stars so chill.
For as they turn so does the world…
and yet, I have my will.

Although I cannot move the trees
I’ll bend my life’s own course
and chew down grasses to the lees
and dance without remorse

beneath the high and distant sky
where silent stars all drift
above still trees where soft winds sigh…
my life is Fortune’s gift!”

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

I’m a star, you’re a star

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I’m a star, you’re a star (oil on 6″ x 6″ raised panel)

While I find these tidal pool creatures fascinating and beautiful, there is also something strange and improbable about them. Technically, I was trying to get the sense of the sunlight using glints of bright colours. Definitely fun to paint!

Tom’s poetic take on the subject is a playful spin on a childhood rhyme.

When you wish upon a star
be careful of your wish’s aim:
a ball of gas, quite hot and far,
or something else that shares its name?
For an echinoderm will not
grant the wish that you have got
nor will it listen to appeals
from a human. All your feels
are as nothing to a fish
of the starry ocean kind
which may leave you in a bind
if to it you entrust your wish!
So when you wish, wish on a sun
beneath whose light strange creatures run.

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

Mouse-ville mandala

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Mouse-ville (9″x 9″ ink and watercolour)

This mandala started with mouse-like shapes around the centre and evolved from there. I had fun with the houses which are similar but all different. I hope you enjoy looking at all the little details – I know I enjoyed drawing them!

Tom’s poem is playful and whimsical like the mandala!

We are the mice of Plimsoll Close
and we will keep you on your toes
rustling through your drawers at night
searching for a crumb that might
satisfy our search for tastes
that delight our palates. Haste
is not our way, we’re patient mice
who will pass up a grain of rice
in hope sincere that we will find
a candied walnut, orange rind,
or some such savory delight
before the end of this fine night.

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

Neighbour cat

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Neighbour cat (11″ x 17″ oil on linen)

This is a bit larger piece than most I’ve been doing lately. Linen is a lovely surface to work on and so although it went through a less lovely phase, I plowed on and think I brought it together. Unlike the smaller paintings, this was not done alla prima (in one session). I worked on it for three days. This scene makes me think of small towns where cats are apt to watch the people passing by while enjoying the sun.

Once again, Tom has tapped into the spirit of the painting with his poem!

On lazy summer Sunday afternoons
when bees are bumbling through the blooming flowers
and vines are climbing up the trees festooned
with squirrels all seeking shelter from the powers
of sun and heat, it’s time for cats to prowl
along the fences, greeting with a growl
any interlopers who might stray
into the yard from houses far away
for though those squirrels are out of reach just now
they’ll keep for later when they’re on the ground
and a cat has energy new found
as the sun prepares to take a bow.
For in high summer even hunting cats
will seek a shady spot and gently nap!

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

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