Kitsilano market artichokes

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Kitsilano market artichokes (8″ x 10″ oil on canvas)

This is from a photo I took while I was living in Vancouver. There are various local markets around town and one fall day I visited one in Kitsilano – mounds and mounds of fruit and veggies to see! Artichokes combine wonderful shapes with fantastic giant flowers. What more can an artist ask for?

Here is Tom’s playful poetic piece!

Edible or beautiful
that’s the choice for artichokes:
for flowers are unsuitable
for the palate when they’ve broke
from out of inflorescences
and into excess essences
of beauty tough. It’s really not
just what you wanted when you bought
those artichokes. The market stall
was running out of produce then,
a few odd plants with hairy stems
and some artichokes, that’s all!
But if we eat the unbloomed few
the others will provide a view!

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

Beacon Hill wildflowers

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Beacon Hill wildflowers (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

A scene from spring in Victoria – the grasses are alive with colour from all kinds of wildflowers while the trees are still bare, waiting for more warmth. Getting all those shades of green is always a challenge and I wanted to hint at the flowers without getting into too much detail.

Tom’s lovely poem perfectly captures that feeling of early spring.

Wet warm showers of April, sweet,
fall between the sprays of light
from the spring-time sun that meets
the rain with promises so bright
they dazzle we who climb the hill
and see the flowers, wild and still
until a gusty breeze ruffs down
their cheery slapdash coloured crowns
and rocks a barren winter oak
whose branches are yet bare and free,
although a tiny bud we see
where the sap has now awoke
beneath blue skies of sun and rain
that bring the world to life again.

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

Tangled garden

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Tangled garden (11″ x 14″ oil on raised panel)

This chaotic tangle of flowers reminded me of a country garden run wild. There’s just a hint of a fence or a shed and I really like how the blooms dissolve into the sky.

A lovely whimsical poem from Tom for this one.

It’s not just anyone we wear
these bright summer colours for,
but only you, we truly swear,
who’ve come to see us by the door
of this old shack where once there lived
a hermit. He had much to give
but kept it all for only us:
he planted, tended, went to dust.
So now we’re all that still remains
in memory of one whose will
was loneliness and life fulfilled
by solitude and gentle rains.
So only those whose hearts surrender,
to this place may see our splendor.

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

Red blooms

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Red blooms (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

An energetic explosion of colour! These rhododendrons were glowing and backlit in a photo I took last spring. The sun was even shining through the leaves so painting it seemed like a good antidote for the dull grey days of late fall. For this painting I added Cad red to my palette – it really pops.

Tom has written lots of poems for my flower paintings by now. It’s pretty amazing that he continues to see new things and have original ideas about them to work into poems!

The limbs of planets forming
around a birthing star
glowing in the morning
turning with the bar

of dust and gas and light
that keeps the stars in line:
dying, rising, slight
perturbations fine

against a background dark
with empty deathless night.

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

Thistle

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Thistle – 8″ diameter oil on raised panel

I have a few other paintings that were done earlier, but I wanted to share this one right away since Tom’s poem made me think of Remembrance Day recently past. When I painted it, I was enjoying the form, colour and texture …but I appreciate that Tom sees things in my paintings that give another layer to them, a whole other life.

The heather’s deep, my bonny lass,
where horses haven’t trampled down
the sturdy men and brittle grass
this day when all our sorrows drown
and somewhere pipes are calling still
across the glen and through the hills
to bring us back from wrack and war
which we will study no’ the more.
We do not answer, rise, nor march
to follow down the piper’s call
for we will feast in other halls
beneath the sky’s eternal arch.
Above us still the thistle grows
Our prickly, coarse, and perfect rose.

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

Summer hum

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Summer hum (11″ x 14″ oil on stretched linen)

The feeling of the warmth and sleepy yet full vitality, of a summer afternoon –  blackberry bushes alive with the sounds of bumblebees stocking up on pollen. This painting was finished just in time for my recent open studio and I was delighted at the reactions. The feeling I was trying to convey definitely made its way from eye to heart. That’s the best thing I, as an artist, can hope to achieve!

Maybe it’s the scale (the bees for example are about double life-sized) but the photo does not convey the feeling of the painting very well. That’s always a bit of a problem but for some reason, with this one there’s a bigger difference.

And here is Tom’s delightful poem which riffs on the notion of “the boys of summer”.

The bees of summer take the field
running ’round the diamond flowers
praying that the day will yield
a bounty worthy of their powers
to seek that sweet-spot in the sun
as from base to base they run
always heading back to home
to swing again and go alone
as fast as ever they can fly
gathering the crowd’s applause
who in winter’s frozen pause
will remember warmer skies.
The bees of summer never cease
while the score may still increase.

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

Flower of spring

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Flower of spring (11″ x 14″ oil on raised panel)

I painted this towards the end of summer. The image of these early blue spring flowers had stayed in the back of my mind for months and so I finally got around to painting them. Commonly called blue squill, they are most beautiful as a grouping …like stars scattered in the grass.

Tom’s haiku celebrates their (possible) origin.

fine flower of spring
dreams of far Siberia
beneath warmer suns

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