Late Summer Sunset

Late Summer Sunset (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

There have been some stunning sunsets lately. I tried to recreate the feeling of one particularly lovely one I saw on the way home at dusk. My aim was to explore how the pale orange faded into the turquoisey-blue above. Since that evening, it has started getting cooler so now looking at this, I see the beginning of the end of summer…

On another note, why is there a special name for pale red and pale purple but not pale orange?? Or what would you call it?

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Indian Summer

Indian Summer (24″ x 36″ oil on canvas)

We’re now nearing the end of summer but Indian Summer still won’t be for quite a while. In Canada, we expect some cold fall weather first and then a feeling of the return of summer before it’s true Indian Summer. This painting was a commission to celebrate autumn in the Niagara region of Ontario and I was really happy with how it came together. I hope you can hear the rustling of the corn stalks and smell the hazy atmosphere of the last real warmth before winter sets in.

Here are a couple of details…

Indian Summer (Detail lower left corner)
Indian Summer (Detail, lower right corner)

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Summer Nocturne

Summer Nocturne (11″ x 14″ oil on panel)

This imagined landscape evolved as I painted. I enjoyed the play of dark and light as well as all the shifts of colour in the sky and water. We do get such incredible tints in the skies at dusk here – I swear some of the colours are beyond expressing. I will continue to try though! 😉

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Western Light

Western Light (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

I don’t often paint over other paintings but this time I did! I admit it felt good to place thick brushstrokes and use the palette knife over the other piece. I’m not sure this is entirely successful but as an imaginary landscape, it certainly has lots of energy. I think I would like to play more with thick application of paint in future.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Summer Glow and A Warm Light

Summer Glow (6″ x 8″ oil on panel)

I just got back a few days ago from being away for a couple of weeks. I was feeling a bit rusty and maybe even a little resistant to getting my oils out when a friend invited me to her place to plein air paint together. She has a lovely garden with a great variety of textures and colours so it was a lot of fun. I definitely feel back in the groove now! I did two little paintings. This first (above) was really loose and abstract inspired by the California lilacs and other shrubs.

A Warm Light (6″x 8″ oil on panel)

This second one was looking in another direction towards the orange door to her studio and the pots of flowers on the small deck in front. While I left the first one as it was, this one I tweaked in the studio slightly to enhance the dark/light contrast.

Which do you prefer??

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer


Tranquility (11″ x 14″ oil on panel)

I spent several days on this one layering up the paint and carving out the shapes …exploring until I felt I had achieved the feeling I was looking for …tranquility. This was done as a commission but with complete free rein in terms of subject and execution. I feel both grateful and humbled to be given this kind of freedom in a commission. The location where it will hang has a spa-like calm feeling so I wanted to build on that with this painting. The yellow waterlilies (or spadderdocks) are reminders for them of canoeing on the Ontario lakes they love.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Twin Beaches – May

Twin Beaches – May (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

I have painted plein air at this location a few times now and every time it’s so different. The level of the water and the direction of flow of the tide …the colour of the water …and the sky, the quality of the light – so much can change by season and by time of day. Of course things are changing even during the time it takes to create a small painting. On this day, the tide was coming in quite quickly but I mostly kept the original water level. I loved the colours in the shallows and on the wet sand.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

The Commons – Waiting to Bloom

The Commons – Waiting to Bloom (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Back in April, Elsa Bluethner and I gave a workshop on plein air painting at a local festival. It took the form of information sharing especially about approach and equipment and then we each did a demo. Mine looked towards the south showing a pretty gate to a community garden. This spring has been very cool and things are taking a long time to bloom. The small fruit tree in the foreground was just trying to start opening its buds.

Despite the cool grey day, everyone seemed to enjoy the event. I think we may be starting up a plein air club soon …as soon as it finally warms up!

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Degnen Bay Plein Air

Degnen Bay – Cold Spring Afternoon (8″x10″ oil on raised panel)

I went out plein air painting with an artist friend early in April to a protected bay on our coast. Lucky us that’s only about a 15 minute drive. There were a few boats moored here but I decided to focus on the fleeting sky and cloud structure and the effect of that on the water. Especially happy with the sky!

I didn’t want to start another 8×10 but my friend was still painting and had a 6×8 linen panel she was willing to give me to try. So here’s the second painting of the afternoon looking another direction. We were getting rather chilled so I ended up tweaking this one back in the studio.

Degnen Bay – Evening Light (6″ x 8″ oil on linen panel)

Once again, I decided to focus on the natural aspects of the scene – the lengthening shadows and new green of the spring trees while mostly ignoring any man made structures.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer


Exultation (24″x36″ oil on canvas)

Painting a larger piece with the theme of birds in flight seemed natural after creating the smaller ones. The scale of this one allowed much more in terms of setting. The whole thing evolved intuitively as the layers built up. One of the final elements was the bridge crossing a narrow chasm in the foreground. I suddenly realized there was a path to look out over the ridge. That must be some spectacular view! I enjoyed the idea of that other view which here is just hinted at but the main feature is the sky full of birds darting and skimming through the air – the feeling of exultation.

“Exultation” (detail)
“Exultation” (detail)