To close out 2021 a larger piece that I worked on over a couple of months and finished recently. Inspired by the local juncos who are so quick flitting about. Often, they are only recognized by the flash of white in their tails. There is a feeling of Autumn in this piece as well, with arbutus berries and leaves and also signs of new rain in puddles. Realistic elements and other more abstracted passages balance each other.
A curious, possibly mystical presence grew out of the shadows as I was painting. A glowing figure overlooks the forest pool – a naiad? What do you think?
This painting was built up with many layers of acrylic paint often scraping and scratching down to previous layers while the newest layer was still wet… I did this one in June and I remember that crayons were also involved – which you can still see traces of if you look closely.
This painting started life as an abstract and some elements of that are still here. However, the piece really started to develop after a visit to a friend’s beautiful garden back towards the end of August. That’s when floral elements started to show themselves. I went back and forth on this one for about a month building up layers and thinking about it before I finally decided it was finished. The title comes from the anenomes that are on the right side which are sometimes called “windflower” and as well, the feeling of a breeze drifting through the petals of all the sunlit flowers.
Here is Tom’s lovely haiku which captures the scene so succinctly.
dawn over garden summer world in soft dissolve through the morning mist
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
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.
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
This abstracted floral was inspired by a photo I took on a recent visit to Victoria. What amazing gardens they have at this time of year! …well from now until September really. Great gardening climate. As you can likely tell by looking at it, I took a lot of liberties painting very loosely and feeling free with it. An impression of something can feel even more real than a photograph in some ways and that’s what I am working on achieving.
Tom has written a sonnet for this one that gives more scope for thought!
This riotous intensity of life
this flowing force of beauty growing tall
this moment of reality, a slice
of time: this Garden does not fail or fall
but bursts forthright upon the worldly stage
to teach the innocent, unlearn the sage
arrest a glance and free the troubled mind
overwhelm the proud, reward the kind.
This Garden waits for all who wander lost
across the empty spaces, forests, fields,
searching for the treasure that time yields
although their lives be rough and tempest tost.
Not somewhere after death is our reward
but here and now in beauty’s soft accord.