This painting was built up in many layers working daily over about two weeks. It looks nothing like its early iterations transforming quite radically from what I thought I was painting at first. The title comes from the subtle figure in the middle of the painting which I didn’t even see until I had decided the painting was finished. I have never painted anything like this before – it was fascinating to see it emerge.
Tom wrote a poem for this piece that transcends and enriches the painting. Thank you.
I am the whisper that you do not hear
I am a ripple through the summer leaves
Too close to see because I’m standing near
Too far to touch my simple floral sleeve
Now come with me upon a journey outward
Now come with me to where you’ve never been
Soft breezes quiver as you look to windward
Soft breezes waft a scent that is not seen
I’m all around you walking on the surface
I’m all there is and all there’ll ever be
There is no way to show you my true purpose
There is no way for you to not be free
I am the voice of thunder and of flame
I am the sacred utterance of my name
Tom says references for this poem include: a gnostic poem called “Thunder, Perfect Mind”, “The Waste Land” (what the thunder said, o you who look to windward…), and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, image of touching the sleeve of a ghost to go on a journey.
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
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
This is a curious piece that came out of how I was feeling in early May. At least I guess it must have! It started off as abstract and the figures just asked to be added at some point. Maybe they are personas of various ways I was feeling about the situation – joyful, fortunate, questioning, questing, striving, toiling…
I will let Tom’s poem say any more words that go with this one.
We’re busy here, so hard at work
when she wanders by:
she sure does catch the eye
with her flagrant fripperies
uncaring of our toil.
To keep the wheels aturning
is why we churn and moil
but she will have none of that.
It’s hard to concentrate
when she’s flaunting everything
we’ve tried to quell, abate,
and keep under control
but there she is, insouciant
just going for a stroll.
This one was quite experimental for me. I did not use my usual transparent under layer method and was playing with some different colours. Like the previous painting this one was from my imagination …but it sure took an unusual direction!
Tom saw a whole different world within my painting and wrote this poem!
A wooden door is built into the wall
of dry-stacked stone that bounds the little lane
between the elf-mounds. Curious, and small,
the door’s ajar, a gate to other planes.
The wood is grey and weathered, like the stones
which grow with moss and lichen, ancient rime.
I put an eye up to the gap. Alone
I’ve wandered here, beyond my proper time.
A face shows by a hollow in the dusk,
someone familiar, yet so far away…
I turn and see the lane-way, feel I must
continue on my journey. I can’t stay.
Above the stars are pentagons of light
while I walk on, across the fields of night.
Even though I put the dimensions on the images of the paintings, it is hard to tell on the screen the impact the size has on the art. This one is a bit larger than I have been working recently and so the cat is larger than life-sized. Feeling bold, I used my largest brushes and painted it alla prima in one 3 hour session. The cat is loosely painted but definitely a portrait of a specific cat and the background – an abstraction of the view out the window beyond – has a pleasing Klimt-esque quality. Sometimes, while painting there’s a feeling of ease and “rightness” – this one had that for me.
Another charming poem from Tom for this piece!
A cat upon the windowsill
all done with years of wandering,
at last a place to warmly chill
while contemplating, pondering
the biggest question of her day:
is it best to sit or lay
oneself upon a a window ledge,
or prowl around and haunt the edge
of every room where there might be
a scrap of kibble, or a slice
of bacon dropped by raiding mice
no cat seems ever quite to see?
The choice is hard, but now it’s made
and in the sunshine she is laid!
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!
Experimental! I have tried doing oil painting mandalas before but this is larger and so I could include more detail …maybe too much detail! There is an obvious floral theme but if you look closer, there are birds all around the outside pointing towards the centre.
Tom’s take on this one inspired the title of the piece.
Birds in camouflage abound
within the bride’s high-flung bouquet
tumbling far above the ground
sent in joy upon its way
toward the waiting hands of all
who stand on toes and reach up tall
to grasp the prize of prizes now,
the talisman that tells them how
their turn is next in love. It bursts
asunder with a flock of birds
that spin in brightly coloured herds
above the crowd now in reverse.
Yet she who’s steadfast, true, and bold
still stands to catch the flower’s hold.
Following on from the previous abstract, although done on another hot day in the studio, this one is cooler and more water-y …and possibly full of scales or little fishes. I felt it definitely had a tropical vibe too.
Tom has seen different things and has brought both his scientific mind and poetic magic to this piece!
Tadpoles over river-stones
rushing forward up the stream
toward a place that’s all unknown
to the likes of you or me
where tails will shrink until they go
and legs will sprout and then they’ll grow
and gills are lost to gasping lungs
as tadpoles climb up Darwin’s rungs
’til at the top they’ll find a pad
to rest in dappled summer sun
while knowing that the race they’ve run
was worth the effort, hard and mad
to reach a place of rest and peace
and all are equal, most to least.
A bright and tropical feeling piece I painted when it was really too hot to be in the studio! I guess that’s why it turned out like this 😀
Tom saw things and then wrote this magical poem!
Beneath this cloak of many colours
beats a heart of fire and flight
rising up it flits and flutters
through the forest of the night
spreading wings of beauty wild
to soar above the dull and mild
turning past the falcon’s gyre
riding winds of pure desire
across the sunlit lands below
where lakes and streams trace out the ways
of humans passing mundane days
from dawn until the gloaming’s glow.
On flies the phoenix through the air
Above a world all unaware.