Peach plums

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Peach-plums (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)

Fruit in the summer is endlessly pleasing both to taste (so much better that supermarket winter stuff) and to look at. I was at the market and selected the box of plums with a few leaves attached …it makes me feel closer to the tree! I put these warm yellowy-peach coloured plums in a blue bowl that made them sing. Complimentary colours don’t always get me excited but I thought this worked.

Tom’s poem is a riff on a very famous 20th C American poem by William Carlos Williams. If you don’t know it, check out the link. Amusing!

You just need to hear

You have painted
the plums
that were on
the table

and which
I waited to eat
until
you finished

I forgive:
they are beautiful
so bright
and so bold

https://poets.org/poem/just-say

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

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Bowl of cherries – 1 & 2

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Bowl of cherries – 1 (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)
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Bowl of cherries – 2 (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)

After not oil painting for a few months, I wanted to warm up with studies of cherries. The colour of the cherries was so gorgeous, they were calling to me! I painting them twice in the same pottery bowl which was glowing with sunlight and alive with reflections and shadows. Giving some indication of this while maintaining a painterly approach was the challenge. (The second one is more close up as well as subtly different in other ways.)

Here’s a wonderfully fun poem from Tom that argues …cherries alone are not enough!

They say life’s not a bowl of cherries
which seems to me just fine
for who would want their life, so merry,
to be gulped by summer swine
who stand and chat around the bowl
enjoying snacks and banter droll?
I’d rather life be like a feast
confected from odd ends, at least
a mix of bitter, sweet, and sour,
salty, savory, sumptuous:
it seems a bit presumptuous
to let one fruit alone devour
all the rest, however sweet,
I want a life diverse, complete!

images (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

finding a new balance – mandala

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finding a new balance (9″x9″ ink on watercolour paper)

Yes! It has been a long time since I posted anything …but I’m back! Here is the first mandala I’ve done in a while with not one, but two beautiful new poems that Tom wrote. Since we are now living on an island, and the mandala was about finding a new balance in a new context, it seems fitting that one poem highlights the ocean and the other the forest.

Boulders strewn beneath the mass
of Ocean’s dark and vasty deeps
protect the rising reefs of glass
sponges where the mermaids weep
to see these fragile structures shine
in darkness since the dawn of time:
no sun has broken their repose
since species now extinct arose
to master Earth and sea and air
with mighty roars and stomping feet,
they ruled and the world until defeat
by time and chance entombed them there
beneath great Ocean’s darkling waves
where reefs of glass still mark their graves.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/lng-crew-discovers-rare-prehistoric-glass-sponge-reef-1.3514548

The forest hides its secrets well,
they’re measureless beyond account:
a perfect flower, an open dell,
a tiny grotto where the Fount
of Youth may flow into a stream,
until it feeds slow Lethe’s dream
as all about the forest speaks.
Leaves might whisper, branches creak,
each voice a secret now revealed
to anyone with ears to hear,
who dares to overcome their fears
and venture past familiar fields.
The forest watches, listens, waits,
for one who comes, embracing Fate.

(“Lethe” is the river of forgetfulness in Greek mythology.)

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poems (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

 

 

Happy Year of the Pig!

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Happy Year of the Pig! (6″x6″)

We are still in the middle of moving, renovations etc so painting has taken a backseat to other things lately. Very much looking forward to being settled and in a space where I can get back at it!

Here is a pig to welcome the Chinese New Year – health, wealth and happiness to all! I was inspired by the traditional Chinese paper cut art which often includes flowers…

Tom wrote a poem to honour this pig …and this year!

Glitter glowing over mud
a touch of sunlight dapples
a brow enjoying springlike floods
of sunlight. Soon the apples
will be afruiting in the trees
abuzz with busy worker bees
while below the pigs will root
and wallow with great ease. Bring boots
if you’d cavort with happy swine
for they’ve been known to splash and spatter
anyone they want to flatter
with the last and best of wine!
The good brown earth makes hearth and floor
for the happy sow and boar!

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

Remember

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Remember (9″ x 9″ ink on watercolour paper)

Starting with a poppy in the centre of this mandala seemed in tune with this time of year. Poppies and remembering.

Life is rather unsettled at the moment so it may be a while before I watercolour this. I wanted to share the black and white version anyway – since black and white also seems in tune with November.

Tom’s stirring poem:

Storm winds blow the scattered leaves of autumn
through the empty air, across the fields,
into ditches, craters, holes, and trenches
where a sniper aims for lost ideals:
service, duty, glory, resolution,
patriotic feeling, good and right,
huddled in the rank’s malign confusion
readying to rise and charge and strike.
The minutes tick around the face of time
measuring the heartbeats of the dead
breathing in the shadows, asking why
the blood of men so innocent is shed
for empire and for nation and for fear,
when all who seem so far are truly near.

In memory of Private George Lawrence Price, the last Canadian to die in WWI, two minutes before the Armistice:

http://www.inthefootsteps.com/canada-last-hundred-days.html

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

 

Deep memories

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Deep memories (9″ x 9″ ink on watercolour paper)

This mandala was drawn over several days with the intricate motifs taking on a life of their own. I don’t analyze these; they are the process and become whatever they become. The end results aren’t planned and so can be quite surprising.

Tom saw something deep in this mandala inspiring him to write this amazing poem. As I sometimes do, I took the title of the mandala from one of his beautiful lines.

Within the door where dwells the King of All
now slumbering, exhausted by the trials
of life and rule and matters great and small
his ancient face is youthened by a smile
slow, soft and happy, lingering on old
deep memories of when the world was new.
Upon the door, fine-cut into the wood
the pattern of the world stands bold and true
to all that he once dreamed. There is a child
who stands before the door, his eyes entranced
by intricate emblazonments of wild
leaves and flowers spinning through their dance.
The Old King wanders through the door at last
The Young King stands before the living past.

Tom adds: I get a sense of age and tradition as well as wild beauty from this: there’s something timeless and eternal as well as continually renewing.

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

As Stars Look Down – 2019 Mandala calendars

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As Stars Look Down – 2019 mandala and poetry calendar (8.5″ x 11″)

The 2019 calendars are in! Celebrate the seasons and months with my contemplative mandalas and TJ Radcliffe’s delightful poetry! BUY HERE.

Some example months:

As Stars Look Down - March
As Stars Look Down – March
As Stars Look Down - July
As Stars Look Down – July
As Stars Look Down - September
As Stars Look Down – September

images (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poems (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe