Tom – a portrait

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Tom (8″x10″ oil on gessoed wood)

I did this portrait based on a photo from our wedding this summer. What a joyful day! This is the last oil painting I did before packing away the paints for our move. The painting itself is waiting for the last minute in order to be as dry as possible. I was pretty pleased with how this turned out – the likeness is good and there is a loose and fresh quality to the brushwork that I have been having a hard time bringing into portraits.

Tom wrote a poem about the joy of that day …and the joy that continues! ❤

Under the wide and clear blue sky
I speak the truth and do not lie:
glad was my troth and glad is this tye
and to stand beside you is my will.

This be the joy you give to me:
“Here he moves as he longed to be.
Sailing with you across sea
and hiking high on the hill.”

Tom noted – Straight pastiche of Stevenson’s Requiem: https://www.bartleby.com/103/15.html
“Tye” means both a knot, and a village green or patch of common land.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

 

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Signs of fall

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Signs of fall (9″ x 12″ watercolour on paper)

For the next few weeks there will be less (or no) oil paintings and more watercolour or ink pieces. We are moving soon and the idea of trying to move wet oil paintings makes me cringe. Anyway, it is great to have other, quicker drying media that are also fun!

Dancing patterns of leaves fascinate me at this time of year and the colour play can be subtle or bold making for potentially endless variety. It’s very freeing because basically, all decisions work out looking good!

I always love Tom’s poems but this one is especially wonderful, I think.

Stems of autumn, soft decay
permeates their fallen leaves
yet still some beauty, green and grey,
falls between their stalks and sleeves
as season’s cycle yearns and turns
autumnal colours flare and burn
to scent the air with voiceless smoke
that rises from the forest’s coke
within the loam’s dark furnace hot
where summer crumbles into coals
and for the days of warmth there tolls
a curfew’s bell of iron wrought.
Falling figures through still air
dance for all that may be there.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Moon at Tofino

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Moon at Tofino (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed wood cradle)

Another view from our lovely visit to Tofino this summer. This time I was focused on the warmth of the sky tones and the shimmer of the water. The moon was clearly visible as the sky was dimming with the setting sun.

Tom was inspired by the image to write this lovely poem.

Uncertain hours between the day
and when there falls soft summer night
emboldens me to finally say
just what I feel. The Moon so bright
embellishes both sea and land
with pastel tones that paint the strand
where soft reflections summon forth
memories both south and north
of time together, warm and cold
your shape tight held against my own
your eyes on mine, two souls, alone:
in dusk the changing light makes bold.
“I’ve loved you always, evermore;
once lost at sea, I’ve touched your shore.”

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Scent of fall

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Scent of fall (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed wood cradle)

What can I say? It’s fall and so it’s time to be inspired by all the fruit that is ripe and delicious right now. Pears have such a beautiful form and playing with colour within that shape was a pleasure.

I love how Tom’s poem combines all the senses in curious ways – just right to celebrate the overwhelming sensory input of the season. (The painting’s title is taken from the poem.)

Flagrant tapestry of light
disposed upon a simple plate
gives great pleasure to the sight
beguiling those who stand and wait
for just a taste of beauty’s touch
or perfume’s lovely sound. So much
is taken, still yet more abides,
and to us now on art’s spring tides
come simple feasts for senses all
served up with synethetic flair
that melds the mind with plate and pairs
sweet voice with the scents of fall:
a smorgasbord of pure delight
to lift our fancy in its flight.

(Tom says: Note Tennyson reference in “much is taken, much abides”.)

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Apple three ways

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Apple three ways (8″ x 18″ oil on canvas)

I was recently playing around with some impressionist painting techniques. I used as a starting point a fun youtube video by Ann Feldman. She illustrates six techniques so I picked and blended and generally had fun with it. It was good to reinforce some lessons I don’t always think about while I’m painting …or maybe it was more that I was being deliberate and more intentional about how I used the techniques. In any case, a fun and educational afternoon!

Tom found inspiration in the painting for another of his amazing and fresh poems!

Apple is as apple does:
the eye of the beholder
adds a wisp of artist-love
and brings to life a bolder

vision of what might be real
behind perception’s veil
seeing deeply what we feel
as mere awareness fails

to grasp the essence of the world
in all its mystery hidden
delving down as we are hurled
past barriers forbidden

into the aspects, affine, strange
that move upon the surface
hinting at a deeper range
revealing higher purpose.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Fine feathers

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Fine feathers mandala (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

If peacocks made snowflakes, maybe they’d look like this… I was thinking about the mandala calendar for this year and thoughts of winter months inspired this one.

I love the poem Tom wrote for this. It’s all festive swirl and glitter with hidden depths. Tom says: This one has a (very) little of James Joyce’s famous short story “The Dead” in it, which is often touted as the greatest in the English language, although I’d put Kipling’s “The Gardener” up against it. Here’s a link for those who (like me) haven’t read this yet or would like a refresher. http://www.online-literature.com/james_joyce/958/

Kaleidoscopes of winter snow
fall across the icy sky
upon the ladies as they go
to Christmas soirees, “By the by,
I must admit I love that shawl,
with orchids, stars, a forest tall,
it looks so warm and cozy-soft,
like otters snuggled in a croft
beneath a landscape, frozen, cold
where carolers sing songs of joy
their voices by the stillness buoyed
up to the sky’s wide peaceful fold
as stars look down upon our lives:
like blowing snow we swirl and rise.”

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

California poppies

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California poppies – study (9″ x 12″ oil on gessoed panel)

On a recent trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island, I saw some poppies growing in the dry grasses between the rocks near the ocean. These California poppies glow with a translucent orange and I immediately wanted to paint them – but since I didn’t have my equipment with me, I took a few pictures for inspiration when I got home. The above is my first take – very loose and fast. I like the exuberance of it but it wasn’t quite what I wanted so then I did a larger piece.

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California poppies (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

This was so much fun to paint. I really got into a flow with it.

Tom wrote a wonderful, mysterious poem for the second painting. What he sees and expresses about my work always amazes me but this one is especially mystical …I guess being both a poet and a quantum physicist affects how he sees the world!

tilting down the surreal axis
swirling ’round the complex plane
twisting through the field of praxis
choosing which is what again
while the fractal facets flicker
and the colours gripe and bicker
to achieve a balanced palette
pounding with a wooden mallet
all the powders and infusions
making dyes both true and fast
for this will be a work that lasts
conjuring such bold illusions
that the mind is turned about
what once was certain now is doubt

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe