Tulips

20200501-Tulips
Tulips (20″x 20″) oil on canvas

This larger tulip painting doesn’t look much like the study posted previously but I think they each have different things going for them. I especially enjoy the undulating leaves in the foreground in this one.

Here is Tom’s haiku written for this painting. As he said – “Small poem for a large painting! They seem innocent and open, but the wood behind…”

pink, red, open, closed…
tulip blossoms greet spring sun
keeping no secrets

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

Spring flames

20200429-Tulips-study
Spring flames (6″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Here is a little study from when the tulips were just starting to show their colours. I was playing with the brush strokes and the colour palette for this. Although I actually like how it looks, the bigger painting of tulips I did after turned out quite different. Hopefully I can post that one soon.

Tom wrote a beautiful poem for this one.

Some fires burn more brightly in the sun
and in the dark retreat to embers, cool,
exploding once again to join the fun
while playing for the rest of us the Fool
who trips and stumbles, bounces up again
whenever springtime sunshine touches down
to warm the Earth while shyly singing wrens
banish by their edicts every frown.
Behold the flames that stir the winter heart,
rising toward the sky in hopeful light
to lift the spirits, signalling the start
of another day before the night.
For though the fire is fleeting it will burn
again in other hearts as seasons turn.

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

Garden vibe

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Garden vibe (8″ x 8″ acrylic on raised wood panel)

These current times have me experimenting more with my art for some reason. Anyway, this is painted in acrylic which I haven’t done much with for a few years. It felt more playful and less “pressure-y” which was what I needed! And it turned out to be playful too – no surprises there! Acrylic dries so fast that if you decide a colour or shape isn’t working, you can paint over it almost right away. So different from both oils and watercolour.

Tom found inspiration for a very dynamic poem here! He adds some background information in case you’re wondering – like I did – what the heck that word means:
Thylakoids–which sound like they should be some kind of creature on
Edgar Rice Borough’s “Barsoom” (Mars)–are the structure within
chloroplasts where the light-dependent reactions that almost all life on
Earth ultimately depends on take place.

Storms of summer, raging light
crashing down as photic waves
sweep the beaches of the night
and shift dark beasts within their caves:
the sleeping thylakoids are roused
by the light in which they’re doused.
They ride the surges, open wide,
absorb the roaring solar tide
and feel some energy within
as bonds are broken and remade
within this bright and sunny glade,
a garden without sin
where simple surfaces abound
but deep beneath the truth is found.

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

 

Fairy slippers

20200501-Fairy-slippers
Fairy slippers (6″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

Here’s a quick little watercolour with some ink line-work from my sketchbook of some local wildflowers. They are so sweet – a type of orchid looking like Lady slippers but much smaller – hence the name. The whole plant is only about 4″ tall.

Here is Tom’s playful poem reminding us to enjoy life …and get outside when you can! 🙂

Psst! Hey! Let me tell you now
we’ve gotta stick together!
Come in closer, head’s abow,
now here’s the gossip… whether
there will be rain or sun or what
no one is really sure today
so be prepared for dearth or glut
and listen up, hear what I say:
This life is short, and blooming ain’t
the biggest thing you’ll ever do
so don’t be living like a saint!
It’s time to have a blast! Go to!
Enjoy this season as it runs
Enjoy the warm and loving sun!

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

Dancers

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Dancers (6″ x 12″ watercolour on paper)

Another piece that popped into my head and had to be realized. I thought the face looked a bit like Audrey Hepburn but the image was from my imagination.

Tom wrote a wonderful sonnet to accompany this one. I took the title for the painting from his poem.

Is there a dancer dreaming of the flowers
or a flower dreaming of the dance
waving on the winds that sweep and scour
the stage while all the chorus line’s advance
is checked by stems too short for metre’s travel
and so they bow and shimmy in reverse
before their strict formation can unravel
into a flock of petals, or still worse
inelegant and wobbly razzle-dazzle
unfit for such refined and proper blooms
despite just feeling oh so slightly frazzled
knowing that the end of dancing looms?
For days the flowers dance upon the breeze
bringing all who see them to their knees.

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

Camellia

20200403-Camellia
Camellia study (approx. 5″ x 5″ watercolour on paper)

Last fall we did some planting to bring some colour and variation to our property – and so I’d have some flowers to paint! One of the things we put in was a pink camellia. It was covered in pink buds but not all of them survived the cold spring we’ve had. Anyway, some flowers did come out fully – so pretty.  I did this watercolour study for an oil painting and then ended up liking the watercolour better. That can happen.

Tom wrote another amazing poem for this.  Here’s what he said about writing the poem. “I started with the image of the flower as a dancer–can you see her?–and moved to contrast it with soldiers standing, and then Vimy came out of somewhere and I checked the date and it’s 103 years since Easter, 1917, when the battle was fought.
The poem wanted to end after two quatrains. Something to do with short
lives. So this poem is dedicated to them.”

In delicate extravagance arrayed
with gauzy robes that flutter in the airs
dancing through the serried rank’s parade
to music never heard by anywhere
or anyone commanded to march along,
to charge in line-abreast up on a ridge
toward enemies demanded. There’s a song
that only breezes hear, across the bridge
that links the worlds. The silent ranks of stone
are corridors where flowers dance, alone.

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

Periwinkle in the grass

20200331-periwinkles
Periwinkle in the grass (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Painting continues to be a challenge right now. I am painting much slower and more deliberately than usual. There is beauty all around where I live and especially at this time of year but it has been difficult to focus on that given the world situation. In any case, there are periwinkles in the yard that have been blooming for a couple of weeks already and they made a natural choice for painting.

My method was a bit different for this one. I started with  an under-painting of transparent burnt orange colour. (There’s only a bit of that still showing.) Then I built up the rest over a few days …so not alla prima.

Here’s Tom’s lovely poem for this piece. Enjoy!

Stars that cluster in the night
burning blue against the fall
of darkness, burning hot and bright,
expending everything and all
for brief eons of renown
as a constellation’s crown
in some distant elsewhere sky.
They burn and live and then they die
in vast explosions, sending seeds
to find their resting place in clouds
where younger stars will be endowed
with all a younger planet needs.
Then other creatures will arise
and look in wonder to the skies.

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

Rose fantasia

20200204-rose-fantasia
Rose fantasia (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

This piece was straight from my imagination and pure play. I love these colours and the way the roses are starting to dissolve into the background.

Tom’s poem is as fantastical as the painting! It could be the seed of a wonderful story and yet it’s enough as it is.

“Why must we learn the art of flower making?”
asked the Acolyte. The Master smiled.
The Acolyte went on, “Are we not breaking
the Rule that time is wasted, minds beguiled,
by the frivolous? We reproduce
what Nature does much better. Why is that?”
“Because we find it is an art of use,”
the Master said. He laid a book down flat
and gently tore a page, forbidden text,
that criticized the Emperor and told
the truth about his tyranny’s effects,
written by a monk, now dead, once bold.
Dyed pages made the flower blossoms glow
So in the future scholars might yet know.

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

Pinks plus bee (3 times)

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Pinks plus bee – 1 (6″ x 6″ oil on raised gesso board)
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Pinks plus bee – 2 (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)
20200131-pinks-plus-bee
Pinks plus bee – 3 (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Well I don’t usually paint the same subject multiple times but I thought there could be something to learn doing this – and I was preparing for a live demo. This was the first time for me really doing painting as performance art. It ended up being really fun! 😀

The first time I painted it, I realized I was too slow and that I really needed to speed it up to maintain interest …and there wouldn’t be enough time available. So I painted the second one almost twice as fast. The background in particular is much looser as a result in the second one. The third painting above is from the live demo. I did a few touch-ups when I got home but not much actually. Since I was talking and answering questions throughout, it did take some focus and time away from painting. However, I think I was able to show my method and the art group was very engaged and appreciative of the presentation. Happy Day! …and each painting has a cute little bee that is a bit different in each one.

Curious if you have a favourite painting!

Tom had something to say in poetic form about the process …and he is certainly right!

An artist cannot paint the same
picture over, once again,
for the scene has shifted, changed,
and she has moved along the chain
of time from link to golden link
while the sun down blue skies sinks
toward the far horizon lost
as by winds the flowers tossed
change their aspect and their guise
from bright to pale and pale to bright,
tame to wild and wild to right,
each walks with beauty in her eyes
for as she changes day by day
the flowers grow and turn and sway.

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

White rhododendrons against the sky

20200112-white-rhododendrons-against-the-sky
White rhododendrons against the sky (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Even when flowers are white, they aren’t really white. There’s shades of mauve, pale blue, pale yellow etc. It is a fun exercise to decide how to give volume and a sense of the sunlight using those subtle colours. Interestingly, the buds for these white blooms were pink!

Tom’s poem captures a moment that parallels the feeling of the painting perfectly. Tom has started posting his poems on a website called Hello Poetry.  Check out his poems there!

It’s quiet here beneath the waxy leaves
looking through the flowers at the sky
so changeless blue. The faintest summer breeze
stirs the rhododendrons as I lie
within the peaceful darkness, damp and cool.

Voices in the distance, kids at play,
cars along the boulevard hiss by,
furtive couples fumble down the way,
off to learn the meaning of a sigh
by the river’s isolated pool.

I close my eyes and feel the Earth beneath
the world above the universe. I fly
to distant lands where dragons form a wreath
around my life, where magic will not die,
and knights defend the helpless from the cruel.

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