I just had a three day open studio as part of the Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour. It was a wonderful experience slightly tempered by the necessity of keeping strict COVID protocols. Welcoming people into our space after being quite solitary for the past year and a half was heart-warming. People were so thrilled to be able to take part in this activity and visit many artists studios throughout the long weekend. This painting was shown at the central gallery where each artist displays one piece of work.
The idea for “skyflowers” – or clouds that taken on the aspect of various flowers – drifted into my mind and just had to be painted. The seascape part is very much inspired by the local waters here amongst the Gulf Islands off Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.
Here are irises cascading into the ocean behind an island at sunset.
I built up and scratched away layers to enhance the evening glow in this part of the sky.
One more piece of sky clearing showing the shape of the iris clouds.
This painting is definitely not the last of this series. 🙂
About a week after my first visit to Nola’s pond, I had the chance to go back and focus on the now blooming waterlilies. What a treat. There is something about painting waterlilies …I guess Monet was onto something!
Another lovely day in late June spent painting a garden. I was so pleased to be able to create this piece which ended up having quite a personal resonance for the owner.
And here is the setup in the strong sunshine we had that day.
Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my plein air set up? It’s a Coulter Easel, and I have been using it for a couple of years now both for plein air and often (at least for smaller paintings) in the studio too. It is compact and very ergonomic with the palette and painting held at the perfect heights for working …and in cases like this with sloped ground, it is very easy to adjust a leg of the tripod to compensate for the terrain.
Another friend/neighbour invited me to paint their lovely garden. I really enjoyed the pond here! A chance to get into the shadows and reflections in the pond as well as the varied planting around (and in) it. In June, the irises were still blooming and the waterlilies were just starting to show some colour.
Back to plein air painting. I have a friend who lives quite close by and has a most delightful garden. I painted there three times this summer and each time it was a different kind of treat. In May, the peonies, roses and irises were showing all their bounty. So lush and joyful.
My next exploration with a big sky. This one was starting to get closer to what was in my head. I had a vision of clouds as flowers and thought “why not?” As artists we do not have any constraints expect those we put on ourselves. Kandinsky said, “There is no must in art, because art is free.” Whatever I imagine, I can paint! So freeing!
Tulip Time was painted back in April when the tulips were fresh and delightful. Each season brings its own charm. I painted this one plein air out on the deck but simplified the background.
I decided to do a flatlay to show this painting off in a different way for my new website. By-the-way, that is up and running now! Same web address (www.hilaryfarmer.com) will take you to my newly hosted and fresh looking website. Hope you check it out!
Playing with twisting branch shapes and spring blooms, this was done from my imagination. It is a very freeing way to work! …And a bee because then you can smell the apple blossoms and hear the hummmm of activity when looking at the painting.
Here is Tom’s delightful haiku for this piece.
crooked branches trace stark shapes across winter sky where bees buzz in spring
I have been working on this painting (off and on) for months. I did post it once before but then after some time went by I decided to add even more layers. The overall photo doesn’t really show it well so I added some detail shots. I really do enjoy this process of building up and scraping away to reveal what’s underneath in places. It started out as a meditation on a friend’s garden I had visited and that is still there, but it dissolved and resolved into something else.
Tom wrote a deeply beautiful poem for this one.
Earth, water, air, and fire combine, combust, conflate, conspire to form the mystery of all things: the solid ground, a ghost that sings of other Edens lost to time and futures flying in their prime toward the secret, never seen. They flit and flutter, twist and lean to glimpse beyond this life’s abyss and catch a moment’s endless bliss.