Close embrace

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Close embrace (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Another abstract piece where I followed the flow of the paint and what the piece seemed to want. My title came to me as the painting was coming close to completion. I was getting the feeling of being hugged as a child by elderly great aunts – all talcum powder and feathers …I didn’t actually have any great aunts like that – just imagining them!

It was really interesting to see how radically different Tom’s vision of the painting is. It’s a reminder how much variation there can be in what people see in abstract paintings.

staccato atmospheric draws
along the stormy front
clouds reach out with questing paws
tornadoes kick with blunt

hard feet of air the hunkered ground
that rises in response
striking back with lightning bound
in power strong it flaunts

its permanence despite the storm
that claws its native soil
for earth abides though it be torn
so patient in its toil

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

Strange hybrids

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Strange hybrids (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed cradle board)

I shamelessly took the name of this small oddity from the poem Tom wrote for it. Every now and then I am moved to paint what I think of as botanical abstracts. I love the colours and the way this one shimmers.

Tom ran with the image and created a delightful accompaniment for the painting. It even has bees’ knees in it!

The forest of the night is fine
with its flaming tyger’s shine
lighting up the trees.

But I prefer the copse of day
wherein strange hybrids grow and sway
attracting stranger bees.

They buzz within the thickets tangled,
with their legs is pollen wrangled
in between their knees.

Passing to each generation
the joys of novel combination,
mixing by degrees.

And from such vigor in the roots
we’re blessed by all the diverse fruits
that do our palates please!

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

 

Summer nights …oil painting

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Summer nights (6″ x 8″)

I was happy to get back to the easel after being out of town for a few days. This is another in my abstracted botanical-fantasy series.

I love Tom’s sonnet for this one …and I’m seeing my own painting with fresh eyes after reading it! (The painting’s title comes from the last line.)

The leaves of night unfold behind
the sunshine of this summer’s day:
beyond blue sky the stars await…
when evening comes they’ll have their say
on matters deep and manners mild;
on things domestic, also wild;
on blossoms speaking truth to power
gently swaying in their bower
reminding Night of Day’s domain
for starlight is but Day afar
on other worlds ’round distant stars
where damsels woo their swains.
Balanced ‘tween the dark and light
Bright flowers bloom on summer nights.

Rose fantasy …oil painting

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Rose fantasy (6″ x 6″)

Like the previous painting, this one was a product of my imagination. I was focused on pattern and tone but after setting up the overall composition, this was a rare (for me) case of the painting telling me what it needed. A wonderfully joyful process!

Tom wrote a haiku to accompany this one. As usual, it feels just right for the piece!

bold rising colours
complex swift simplicities
evoke the rose

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

 

botanical abstract …oil painting

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Botanical (6″ x 6″)

I was trying something quite different for me with this piece. I didn’t have a visual reference, scene or photo – rather, I woke up the night before with an image in my head that I wanted to paint. While this painting is related to that image, it isn’t it – so I’ll likely be playing with the idea for a while. And that makes me happy because this was pretty much the most fun I’ve ever had painting. It was a very intuitive process, much more like how I approach drawing the mandalas. It ended up playful and rather extravagant!

Tom’s take on it was different from mine which is to be expected with an abstract. After reading his poem, I see different things in my painting too.

…in chaos bright the universe is born:
incandescent streamers past the dark
before the stars. Space and time are torn
from nothingness and into quavering quarks
existence pours from portals of the night
where the walls of Now are pierced by Then
letting through the angels in their flight
from Heaven as the Where becomes the When.
Blue shifts to red across the broad expanse
long ropes of stars form loops and empty turns.
Stems rise up, each energetic lance
rides across the the field as giants burn.
Galaxies collapse and swiftly spin
as the doors swing open and now in…

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

flower power …mandala oil painting

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flower power (6″ x 6″)

It was in my mind to try painting mandalas in oils and so this was back to a very meditative process. I had no idea what I was going to paint until I started at the centre – the only given was a radial symmetry. This one started fairly geometrically but then transformed into flowers? butterflies? peacock feathers? It could be many things and I like the ambiguity!

Here is Tom’s wonderfully circular poem!

…bold and bright the peacock’s eyes
turn as inward colours rise
flaring forth in red and gold
leaping out with joy as bold…

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