Bumbling Bees

Bumbling Bees (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

Another mini oil painting celebrating some of my favourite pollinators. I love to see and hear bumbling bees moseying from flower to flower in the garden. They are a big part of what makes the garden feel alive – not just plants growing and flowering but all the small creatures enjoying them too.

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer


Monarch Pair

Monarch Pair (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

Monarch butterflies are lovely especially when set off against a blue sky, I think. This mini oil painting started with just the Monarch on the left but I thought one looked a bit lonely so added a second …a bit of a challenge to paint one edge one like that! They were the most common butterfly around when I was a kid – sadly not so common now.

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer

Kelp Forest

Kelp Forest (30″ x 40″ oil on canvas)

I so enjoyed creating my recent small kelp painting that I really wanted to do a large scale piece. This allowed me to look at some elements of the scene in a lot more detail such as the foreground sea anemones that look so much like flowers. Working at a larger scale also gives much more scope for large brush strokes and creating an enveloping atmosphere. I love the seal that gazes outward, calmly curious about us, the viewer.

Here are a few details to give a better sense of the texture and brushwork.

Lower right – sea anemones
Lower left – kelp and fishies
Top – light filters down
Right side – seal gazes outward

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer

Winter Robin

“Winter Robin” (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Well, you may have noticed that this is an English or European robin, not a North American one. Usually I paint only our local native species but this was a delightful exception since it was a commission for someone who used to live in England. This robin looks so full of joy he simply has to sing! I was quite pleased with how this turned out. Sometimes while painting commissions, I do too much second guessing but this one flowed pretty well.

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer

Mouse of Spring

Mouse of Spring (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

I have painted two new minis (I’ll post the other soon) for a show of tiny art. So excited that the largest size allowed is 4″ x 4″! So mine will look large 😀

With “Mouse of Winter” painted previously, I decided to paint a couple more mice to make up my three pieces for this multi-artist show. This spring mouse is surrounded by apple blossoms so sweet. Even when painting very small I like to use all my usual techniques such as adding thick paint and scratching back into the surface. I sure hope they dry in time!

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer

Rabbits and the Moon

“Rabbits and the Moon” (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the Year of the Rabbit!

Having spent time in Taiwan and China, I have a fondness for the culture and wanted to share this little painting I just created. Way back in the mists of the dawn of this blog (OK it was 2009), I retold and illustrated the famous story of the Rabbit and the Moon goddess Chang-e – “Why there’s a Rabbit on the Moon”. It’s in multiple pages but here’s one of my favourites. Anyway, this new piece is completely different and yet perhaps the roots of this oil painting are in the elements of some of those illustrations I made using GIMP so long ago.

And yes I know that Chinese New Year starts on the new moon but this piece really wanted a full moon – artistic license!

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer

Raven Sky

Raven Sky (30″ x 40″ oil on canvas)

I have been working on this larger piece for a while. The colours are more muted than I often use but fit with my mood and the season – late autumn with its short and gloomy days. Ever-present ravens still flap overhead though animating the sky. To my thinking, this painting just shows three or four ravens as they move through time and across space. Details below.

Raven Sky (detail upper left)

Layering oil paint then scraping to reveal colours below results in a sky that glows like an opal.

Raven Sky (detail lower left)

Ravens do like to perch on the very top of the tree!

Raven Sky (detail center bottom)

I love how this glows and the sketchiness of it.

Raven Sky (detail upper right)

Some bird shapes are more subtle than others…

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Mouse of Winter

“Mouse of Winter” (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

My latest mini. I do love painting these wee ones! Small creatures on small paintings are just the thing to try out new ideas and techniques. Here as well as regular oil paints, I used some R&F pigment sticks of pure oil colour. I also did some scraping and scratching to get the look I wanted.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer