Fierce Beast (AKA Yogurt)

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Fierce Beast (AKA Yogurt) (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel

I painted this kitty portrait a few weeks ago now but somehow missed posting it. Although the painting isn’t too large, I think I have conveyed the largeness and personality of the cat quite well. He’s quite large – about 20 lbs! and is both cuddlesome and fearsome – at least in his own estimation lol. There were some colours in the background which I wanted to keep, but by making the shapes quite abstract they didn’t distract attention from the cat.

Tom’s poem is another kind of portrait of Yogurt.

Deep within each peaceful cat there dwells
a Beast of Olde, untamed and passing wild:
a creature dark and dangerous and fell,
not even slightly cuddle-some nor mild.
It rarely shows itself, but still, when roused
to the surface slowly it will rise
flooding up from where all anger’s dowsed,
witchery alive within its eyes.
Only thoughtful hesitation keeps
us safe from this fierce beast when it is woke
and waiting, thinking, contemplating leaps
which will leave lamps and crockery a’broke.
Beware the Beast that we have seen before:
Cry havoc and let loose the cats of war

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

Feline kin

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Feline kin – 6″ x 12″ oil on raised panel

This started as a demonstration during my October open studio. I pretty much finished it during the studio tour, but it turns out that I really do need most of my focus on a painting while I’m working on it! Lol. Anyway, after a few touch ups, it turned out OK. I even quite like some aspects of it.

Tom wrote a delightfully imaginative poem for these kitties from which I took the painting title.

What do these green eyes contemplate
beyond mere human ken?
Pupils shrink then dilate
to see from here to then…

far into worlds beyond the known
they stare at random points:
the tip of light’s unruly cone
where time is all disjoint.

For cats can look beyond this Earth
and into other realms.
They dream of forests where our worth
is measured by the elms

while other foliage stands by
to weigh its judgment in
and owls swoop past with silent cries
to greet their feline kin.

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

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

garden of delight …mandala

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garden of delight (9″ x 9″)

I sat down and started doodling in watercolour a few days ago. Usually, I start with the ink drawing, but this time the inking was done last. Perhaps it’s not surprising that this mandala is mostly plant motifs after spending lots of time recently hiking and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Even the green plums were inspired by fruit I saw ripening beside the sidewalk this week. It’s a very rich time of year! …the watchful eyes …well Tom responded to those in his delightful poem – which is where I took the title.

In this garden of delight
where peaches hang and chances might
be taken under watchful eyes
I’m feeling bold and not so wise
as to let the moment pass
and so I bend to kiss a lass
when from behind a tree there sounds
a soft “meow”, the voice rebounds
from tree to branch to leaf to stem
and where was one there now is “them”:
a panoply of watchers wild
who leave us both for now beguiled
by gazes focused, clear, intense
instilling just a bashful sense
of standing naked in the light
of creatures who have walked the night
and yet we two still turn and kiss
for moments pass, and might be missed.

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

garden cat …oil painting

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garden cat (8″ x 10″)

This apparently grey and white cat is actually very colourful when you look closely! Maybe it’s all the flowers rubbing off. This was painted alla prima on linen inspired by an image seen in the online painting course I am taking. 

Tom’s poem for this one is particularly playful and fun! 🙂

A cat acreep among the pots
searching for a little mouse
that scuttles through the grassy plot
returning to its hidden house
where on seeds it may just chew
or make a savoury lentil stew
for it may be a mouse-gourmand
who wants the best, in fact demands
tasty freshness in its food
and so it braves the creeping cat
who at some clatter glances back
and misses out! O such a mood
the kitty’s in on her return,
and too the mouse, whose stew has burned!

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

garden veil mandala…

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garden veil

Pink flowers, green leaves, a tawny cat …and a lacy white tracery.

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garden veil – detail

Here is Tom’s lovely poem.

Lacy network, leafy ruff
worn about my lady’s throat
made from all the finest stuff
like her veil and petticoat.
Through her veil the garden’s wild
panoply of flowers beguiled
as away her time she whiled
by the pool whose bottom’s tiled
with stones and fragments of her soul.
Deep she leans across the pond
reflecting on a memory fond,
before time took it’s mortal toll.
Somewhere children laugh behind
Bringing hope and joy to mind.

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe