Bright Varied Thrush

Bright Varied Thrush (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Painting birds is so joyful for me so I wanted to revisit the varied thrush but this time in oils. This piece was not painted alla prima. I let the first layer dry and then was able to scratch through to some of the bright under-painting where I wanted. Check out near the bird’s claws for example. I was quite pleased with the balance between representing something real and having an abstracted feeling. There is a very free feeling in that colourful background.

Here is Tom’s poem that goes with this painting. He actually wrote this one separately from the painting but it turned out to be perfect for it!

Branches glow like ladder-rungs
up, up the trunk in springtime sun:
a thrush alights upon the bark,
it’s orange breast a joyful spark
of colour after winter’s grey
that ushers in the brighter days.

image (c) 2021 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2021 TJ Radcliffe

Hummingbird on a Wire

Hummingbird on a Wire (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

Another Anna’s hummingbird because …they are just so sweet. I had fun playing with colours as well as form.

Here is Tom’s short poem for this tiny painting.

So kind of humans to erect
a fence like this through open fields
where the flower’s first effect
is to make me many meals!

image (c) 2021 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2021 TJ Radcliffe

Seasonal bird – 12

Cedar waxwing in winter (5″ x 6″ acrylic on Arches paper)

I started doing a fun series of birds in December and posted one per day for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with a short poem from Tom for each. Hope you enjoyed them!

Sharp-eyed I wait among the leaves
of cold December days
remembering the summer sun
and misty autumn haze.

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Seasonal bird – 11

Spotted Towhee – raconteur (5″ x 6″ acrylic on Arches paper)

I started doing a fun series of birds in December. I plan to post one per day for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with a short poem from Tom for each. Hope you enjoy!

Well let me tell you, brother mine,
the things that I have seen!
Some have been coarse, and others fine,
if you know what I mean!

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Seasonal bird – 9

Magical cardinal (5″ x 6″ acrylic on Arches paper)

I started doing a fun series of birds in December. I plan to post one per day for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with a short poem from Tom for each. Hope you enjoy!

Not so elegant am I
but patiently I wait.
There’s magic in my wings: I fly
the mistress of my fate!

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Seasonal bird – 8

Spotted Towhee – what’s next? (5″ x 6″ acrylic on Arches paper)

I started doing a fun series of birds in December. I plan to post one per day for the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with a short poem from Tom for each. Hope you enjoy!

This branch will never hold me long
I’ll soon be on my way
For never do I rest in song
Or pause while still it’s day!

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

Crow and blooms 2 …oil painting

20180430-crow-and-blooms-2
Crow and blooms 2 (6″ x 6″)

I had so much fun painting the first “Crow and blooms” that I decided to do another! An incredible burst of rhododendrons is gracing the neighbourhood so they form the backdrop for this crow.

Tom wrote a curious and thought-provoking poem for this crow!

I think perhaps you have assumed
too much about the world at large
so look upon the blousing blooms
and tell yourself, “I am in charge
of everything I can control
and nothing else: the dice may roll
and come up seven, eight, or two
and with that truth I’ve naught to do.”
But when the dice are finally done
then how I ride the winds of chance
or bide my time upon this branch
will be my choice, for lost or won.
For though the wind blows where it might
I will yet rule my turn of flight.

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

Song sparrow…

song sparrow
song sparrow

A while ago I tried to paint this little guy with oil paint but so far it just isn’t working. I am fairly happy with this watercolour, however. I used a photo as inspiration seen here from a blog with a lot of inspiring wild life and wilderness images whose author very kindly gave me permission to work from the photos. Thanks so much!

UPDATE: New awesome poem from Tom! Thanks!!

Tweedle dweedle squee-wee-wee!
Spring is here and I am free
to sing of song of joy and call
to mates and rivals one and all
that I’m the best and brightest bird
that the world has ever heard
for if there were a better one
I’m sure I would have heard of them

poem (c) 2016 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2016 Hilary Farmer

 

today’s doodle – two crows…

two crows joy
two crows joy

For some reason, I was thinking during the week that the next bird in the series needed to be a crow. When I started to look for interesting photos for inspiration, I was reminded of the rhyme “one crow sorrow, two crows joy…” and so of course decided to do two crows – more of a challenge too! I actually did a computer doodle on that theme some time ago (2011!). In any case, I found this fabulous photo (scroll down – it’s the eighth photo in their post) and got to work.

This time, I left the drawing strictly black and white with just a bit of pencil shading – which seemed right for the subject. I had originally thought that it would be 3 1/2″x 5″ like the last doodles I posted but the crows took over the page and spilled onto the margin. Once again, inspired by “Zentangle”… I am pretty pleased with the effect.

UPDATE: New poem from Tom just right for the image as usual – thanks Tom!

We’ve gotta stick together, Bud,
upon this cable’s span
clinging ‘gainst the gusty winds
that blow from Autumn’s fan.

I’ll lean on you, you lean on me
we’ll be OK together
no matter what tomorrow brings,
nor even what the weather.

You’re lookin’ slightly hollow there
your wickerwork’s askew
but stick with me and sure as eggs [*]
you know I’ll stick with you.

Then in the Spring we’ll fly away
and build us nests of gold:
fresh straw and twigs, the very best,
for Fortune’s with the bold

and who is bolder than we two
who cling to this thin wire
up in the sky while groundling folk
stand firmly in the mire?

It isn’t always pleasant here
but ain’t the view just fine?
And when you’re famous-rich I’ll say
you was a friend of mine!

poem (c) 2015 TJ Radcliffe

image (cc) 2015 Hilary Farmer

today’s doodles – barn swallows and owl

swallows on a wire
swallows on a wire

Since my last post I have been pretty busy but at least three weeks of that was a busy vacation! That’s the best kind of busy 😀

Last fall, I was playing around with something called “Zentangle”. It was pretty fun but didn’t ever seem me. Last weekend, I decided to try the technique out on something real instead of an abstract form. The swallows above are the result… with a fair amount of “cheating” – that is I didn’t really follow the rules. Anyway, I was fairly happy with the result so I decided to do another this weekend and that is the owl below.

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

It is really fun to express the form and even emotion using patterns instead of rendering the birds in a truly realistic way. These are both done with ink on paper and are about 3.5″x5″. After the ink was done, I did some shading with pencil for volume and a hint of colour with water colour pencil. I didn’t use any water on them though because the paper isn’t very thick and would have buckled.

I found the photo of the owl here. It’s small on the page but you can click to make it larger and see where the inspiration came from. I know owls are fierce predators but they are awfully cute too!

UPDATE: New poem from Tom in the comments! Delightful! thanks!!
Swallows

“I’m feeling something abstract here,
upon this strand of wire,
as if the Artist had no fear,
was willing to acquire

a method new, a novel set
of rules to break and bend
with pencil shading, ink of jet–
it seems just slightly zen!”

Owl

“O, I say… do you not see
the pattern weaving deep
within the fabric of the world
where silent truths still sleep?

What a pity, for in truth
there’s beauty undiscovered
by all who see just surfaces
and think they have uncovered

all there is to know and see
through all of space and time
but those who know the pattern’s there
they see the world sublime!”

images (cc) 2015 Hilary J. Farmer

poems (c) 2015 TJ Radcliffe