Pansies

Pansies (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

A small bouquet of pansies from the garden – subtle shades of velvet. I love how this one came out. It almost makes you want to put your nose to the painting!

Tom wrote a haiku that perfectly evokes the day.

butterflies gather
fluttering in shadowed light
lazy summer days

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

Wind Flower

Wind Flower (24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas)

This painting started life as an abstract and some elements of that are still here. However, the piece really started to develop after a visit to a friend’s beautiful garden back towards the end of August. That’s when floral elements started to show themselves. I went back and forth on this one for about a month building up layers and thinking about it before I finally decided it was finished. The title comes from the anenomes that are on the right side which are sometimes called “windflower” and as well, the feeling of a breeze drifting through the petals of all the sunlit flowers.

Here is Tom’s lovely haiku which captures the scene so succinctly.

dawn over garden
summer world in soft dissolve
through the morning mist

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

Sunflowers and stripes

Sunflowers and stripes (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Having bought some sunflowers at the market back at the end of August, I had to paint them of course. I decided to use extra thick and juicy brushstrokes a la Van Gogh. Sunflowers just seem to want that approach.

Tom wrote a haiku that gets to the heart of the painting in so few words.

transient fires burn
triumvirate of blossoms
brighten summer days

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

White garden roses

White garden roses (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I do love flowers in their natural setting more than those in a vase. This is a study in white playing with the warm and cool tones to give a natural play of light and shadow on the petals.

Tom wrote a haiku for this one that captures the essence of the moment.

delicate scent wafts
petals open to the sun
summer afternoon

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

Summer dreaming

Summer dreaming (12″ x 16″ oil on raised panel)

I have been playing with more abstract (and abstract adjacent) painting this year. This one was built up over many layers ending up somewhere between impressionism and abstraction. At some point in the process, the moon appeared in the sky and stayed. The feeling was quite dreamy and more subtle than this photo shows but I can’t get another because it sold quickly.

Tom wrote a delightful sonnet with a rhythm of anapestic tetrameter (like Dr. Seuss) which really suits the mood of the painting.

The farmer’s abed and the Moon is reborn
so we’ll dance and we’ll sing from the eve until morn
when we’ll lie down exhausted and sleep through the day.
In the shadows of grasses and flowers we will lay
until the soft darkness ensilvered by stars
creeps out of the gloaming and brings us awake
to drink from the dew by the light of bright Mars
and sip the sweet nectar of flowers ’til we slake
our thirst and our hunger. Our bodies adorned
with trews made of petals, so silken and gay
we’ll jig to a hornpipe like England’s old tars
who served that old pirate, Sir Francis the Drake.
For we are the Fairest of Folk in this land
obeying no law but the bright Moon’s command.

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

Lily-pond

Lily-pond (12″ x 12″ oil on canvas)

I painted this one for a specific local show which isn’t until January but I wanted to make sure it would be dry in lots of time for varnishing. All the paintings in the show will be the same format (12″ x 12″) and the same price but all different styles and subjects. I really hope mine appeals to someone …who doesn’t like waterlilies, right?!

Tom wrote a poem for this one about the power of illusions.

Some days I think that I could walk across
the mirror-surface of this lily-pond
stepping on the stones of green and gloss
all my weight supported by the fronds
of floating pads. Their vines are columns, stone
could not provide as much support or strength
as their living sinews, summer-grown
from roots and stems, prodigious in length.
Could I not walk on water, dance on air?
Could I not just this once defy the laws?
Could I not touch the face of one so fair?
Could I not have effect without a cause?
Some days there are illusions that have power
But none so great as one strong lily’s flower.

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

Garden goddess

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Garden goddess (20″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas)

This painting was built up in many layers working daily over about two weeks. It looks nothing like its early iterations transforming quite radically from what I thought I was painting at first. The title comes from the subtle figure in the middle of the painting which I didn’t even see until I had decided the painting was finished. I have never painted anything like this before – it was fascinating to see it emerge.

Tom wrote a poem for this piece that transcends and enriches the painting. Thank you.

I am the whisper that you do not hear
I am a ripple through the summer leaves
Too close to see because I’m standing near
Too far to touch my simple floral sleeve
Now come with me upon a journey outward
Now come with me to where you’ve never been
Soft breezes quiver as you look to windward
Soft breezes waft a scent that is not seen
I’m all around you walking on the surface
I’m all there is and all there’ll ever be
There is no way to show you my true purpose
There is no way for you to not be free
I am the voice of thunder and of flame
I am the sacred utterance of my name

Tom says references for this poem include: a gnostic poem called “Thunder, Perfect Mind”, “The Waste Land” (what the thunder said, o you who look to windward…), and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, image of touching the sleeve of a ghost to go on a journey.

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

Arranging flowers

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Arranging flowers (11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas)

I have been playing more with acrylics lately than I have for a long time. Feeling experimental! This peonies in a vase composition was painted from my imagination using lots of layering, mark-making and impasto – another piece that felt very freeing.

Tom’s haiku is a perfect accompaniment!

cut blossom glass vase
petals falling in the sun
lazy summer morn

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

Floral abstract

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Floral Abstract (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

This started as some quick gestures in acrylic paint but was layered over – with many layers of oil paint – into …well, I followed where the painting wanted to go – a fascinating process. It can take me much, much longer to paint an abstract piece than something more realistic even though the individual brushstrokes can be bold and decisive.

Here is Tom’s poem which brings more thoughts and depths to what is seen here.

the curve of time is spiraling
toward a conscious centre
cutting holes where angels bring
our souls that they may enter

this world of finite time and space
where one thing after next
proceeds with soft diurnal pace
to make such strange effects

as flowers that are first a seed
then afterward a bud
until they blossom, finally freed
then fade in autumn’s flood

as seasons pass through space while time
gives views from all the angles
and our souls have heard the chimes
and given up their tangles

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

White rhododendrons, blue sky

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White rhododendrons, blue sky (16″ x 20″ oil on archival panel)

I painted this one about a month ago from photos I took (not this year) of a large rhododendron garden in a nearby park. I say nearby, but it would have still required a ferry ride to visit this park and we haven’t been off our small island since the shutdown started almost three months ago.

Tom just wrote an amazing poem this weekend that speaks to the times we live in as much as this painting. I feel profoundly grateful to have inspired it with my art.

storm clouds rising           somewhere up ahead
blossoms tossing            shadowed on the wind
skies are changing           blue is running red
searching for forgiveness           for our sins
in the darkness               under forest cover
eyes that hide           from hunters passing by
we hold these truths
                  clutched to us like our mother
we tell these stories       hoping they're a lie
raindrops splashing         fat upon the flowers
shaking leaves and          dampening the ground
summer's waking thunder           tolls the hour
what never has been lost         cannot be found
young buds open          now their time has come
senescent giants falling            free the sun

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