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

oil painting… resplendent quetzal!

extraordinary exotic bird
extraordinary exotic bird

After painting the cardinals last fall, I wanted to try a more exotic bird species. There are some amazing birds out there! Since I had never seen one of these beautiful birds in the wild, I used a combination of a number of photos I found on line as a basis for the bird and the background. This site has a striking quetzal photo and some interesting information.

The quetzal lives in the canopy of the rainforest and a loves to eat wild avocados, so I am showing him (yes, it is a male quetzal) in that setting. The style is not completely  realistic but I have tried to show the quirky appearance of this bird and get something of the iridescent shimmer of the feathers. I may yet make some tweaks before I decide that the painting is finished and sign it (beyond the digital signature shown here).

Hope this brings some warmth to the winter deep freeze so many are experiencing!

UPDATE: New poem from Tom in the comments. It took longer than usual to get back to the right mindset for writing poetry that would match a painting of a quetzal. Happy you’re back in the mood – thanks Tom!

Beneath the empty tropical blue sky
beneath the canopy of hungry leaves
beneath the cloak of feathers brightly dyed
there beats a heart of peerless peace and ease
within a breast of red a coat might envy
below a head of strangely fuzzy green
above a tail that causes quite a frenzy
whene’er a milliner comes on the scene.
Yet high upon his branch the quetzal calm
surveys with dignity and steady gaze
gripping with uniquely trogon palm
well-hidden in the forest-foam of baize.
Such beauty isn’t made for human sight
but for his dowdy love in jungle night.

poem (c) 2015 TJ Radcliffe

painting (cc) 2015 Hilary Farmer

quick doodle… loon arising…

about to laugh...
about to…

This is a really quick doodle (maybe under a minute) I tweeted the other day. Tom tweeted back this great haiku:

lo! arising loon
just to speak on weighty things
then light on water!

I really like the idea that the loon got distracted from his important speech by the beauty of the scene. ummm… what was I going to say again??

I’ve been painting more than doodling lately so it takes longer to get something blog-worthy but I should have something new soon… and I have worked some more on the paintings in progress in the previous post so I may post them again for the comparison. I feel like I am starting to get somewhere – while recognizing the length of the road… enjoying the journey though!

Take a minute and check out this lovely sketch – but then I am very fond of cats – and this blog is from a cat’s perspective – very cute!

image: Hilary Farmer (cc) 2013

haiku: Tom Radcliffe (c) 2013

Happy Halloween!

two crows joy!

Today’s doodle was inspired by the crows I saw while out walking on the “mountain” recently. Today I was watching them call to each other, puffing up with each breath and putting their whole body into each caw. It was actually bright and sunny while I was walking but I thought a grey sky worked better for the doodle!

UPDATE: This poem just in from Tom in the comments – thanks Tom!!

The raucous rhythm of the crows
Adumbrates the sky
Rattles ’round the Mountain, blows
Across the City, nigh

Unto the river wide and deep
That flows into the sea
Between the banks where creatures creep
Through forests by the lea.

Each door-hinge “SCRAW!” with rusty strength
Reverberates beneath
The cloudy sky, across the length
Of woodland and of heath

Until the Autumn leaves are all
Shook loose and fluttered down
Leaving just the crow’s harsh call
Between the sky and ground!

Copyright (C) 2011 TJ Radcliffe

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer