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


so colourful!

In honour of Cindy Loo, which posted the final episode today, here’s a parrot I drew a little while ago as a study for some of the birds in the story. Hope you like it and in case you haven’t checked lately – go read Cindy Loo! I love the ending!! There – it’s linked twice – you can’t miss it! 😀

UPDATE: This just in from Tom… and now there are three links to CLY!!

With wings outspread as if adorning
pavilions of the sky
the parrot swoops through golden morning
drawing every eye.

We stand below in cloaks uncoloured
awe-struck by nature’s clothes
that make designers look like dullards
filling racks in rows.

Behold the bird in all its glory
winging through the air
reminding all to read the story
hope to see you there!


Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

happy dance…

where did everybody go?

Tom mentioned a while ago that he thought I should draw some elegant terns sometime – so here they are! Let’s see what he sends in as a response – he certainly won’t be able to resist!

I am trying out a new multi-image format. Elegant terns are most expressive in their movement so this seemed the best way to show them – don’t they remind you of a Snoopy happy dance?!

When trying to be expressive with animals I almost always think first of  The Abominable as the model for how it can be done – if you never have, check it out – cute, touching and full of animals!

UPDATE: Just in from Tom in the comments!

Frame 1 (Cue music):

“I’m a dancing tern
Watch and learn…

Frame 2:

“You and I
We can fly
Or swooping on fish we can dive…!”

Frame 3:

Alternative 1:

elegant terns fly
when they realize true joy
lacks all irony

Alternative 2:

shouldn’t have asked her
if she’s ever gotten laid
since she was an egg

(c) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

the raven…


This would be my Halloween post. There’s a scene in a Terry Pratchett book with a raven sitting on a skull – because that’s so appropriate… as I remember it, the raven was terribly bored. I think this one is practising saying “nevermore” to while away the idle hours of skull-sitting… but he’s very atmospheric!

This week everyone should check out  Machine of Death and buy the book!… A number of my favourite webcomic writers and artists participated in this project/anthology but my most favourite is of course Tom Radcliffe, friend, writer, poet, physicist and frequent contributor to this blog. As well, we have done a silly illustrated story/graphic novel together – well, graphic epic poetry thing called Cindy Loo You (don’t forget to read it!) and have another more webcomic-like project in the works.

UPDATE: From Tom in the comments a very atmospheric poem to go with the image! Enjoy!!

This midnight bird is deeply boring into questions, quandaries soaring
high above his cranial perch where he studies arcane lore:
to catch a poet lightly sleeping, tossing in his dreams and weeping,
where on wings of darkness sweeping comes a raven with a roar
of his mantra, “Nevermore.”

Through the passages of sleep runs the poet far and deep
where Alph the sacred river ran to reach some subterranean shore
whose beaches host the scattered bones of long extinct and ancient poems,
souls of songs whose words have flown, music lost without a score;
quoth the poet, “Nevermore.”

There beside the death of dreams he wades into Alph’s sacred stream
and drinks the waters of forgetting while above the raven soars:
dark on blackness always calling; turning, rising, ever falling,
as the poet’s mind is mauling memories that form his core,
soft repeating, “Nevermore.”

Then a tapping rap erupts to break the dream and interrupt
the poet’s loss of all he is to find a raven at his door
who hops upon his desktop skull where a bird might sit and mull
the human mind’s hard bony hull, hiding brain both hind and fore.
Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

love birds…

give us a kiss...

Another bird doodle…

I recently discovered an amusing historical gem among webcomics… Check out Hark, a vagrant ! and keep an open mind – history was never this funny…

UPDATE: From Tom in the comments, a poem about an older couple (of birds) who had never told each other properly they loved each other… sad and sweet…

“This old branch has seen some things
across the vale of years:
the flocks of fall and flights of spring,
hasn’t it my dear?”

“Don’t be daft, of course it has!
You always say those words
before we fly off to La Paz [*]
in coloured airborne herds”

“Yet still it’s true, and we’ve took part,
so many of those seasons,
since those days, when young at heart
we listened to love’s reasons.”

“Love’s reasons and my father’s beak–
–me in the family way–
it seems to me you didn’t speak
except ‘I do’ to say!”

“That’s just why I’m saying now
it hasn’t been so bad,
this life with you, although we row,
and sometimes I am sad.”

“Well that’s a faint and damning praise!
How do you really feel?
Don’t stint your words or miss a phrase:
what’s in your heart for real?”

“What’s in my heart? It’s full of love.
That’s what I’m trying to tell:
more than mourning fills a dove,
with love for you I swell.
We’ve flown through storms that scattered flocks
yet always found each other,
up on the hills or down by docks
I’ve always found my lover.”

“Well… I… What…? Who…?
That is, I think I mean!
Well, then, my dear, let’s bill and coo,
until it’s time to dream!”

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

getting cozy…


more experiments with birds, colour and texture… and cuteness!

I saw a post recently with a surreal blend of ruined architecture in a jungle… kind of Escher goes to Angkor Wat. If the description seems intriguing check it out!

UPDATE: This in from Tom in the comments!

Err… squawk? Hello!
My name is Pam!
And this here is my brother Sam!
We’re in this tree, he is, I am!
Our mother calls us little lambs

Which doesn’t really make much sense
We’re parakeets… boy is she dense!
But we love her anyway
‘Cause she feeds us lots each day!

We’re getting bigger, Sam and me,
So someday soon we’ll leave this tree
And fly like Mom and Dad, so free!

Meantime we poke our heads out here
To watch for danger far and near
Though Sam is scared I never fear!

But it’s time now for our nap
So we’ll just go and snuggle back
Into our warm and cozy nest
Enjoy your day while we both rest!

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

parakeet doodle…


showing his colours...


I did this doodle on the train on my way home for Thanksgiving (yes Canadian). The jiggly motion of the train explains the especially loose and open quality. I was originally thinking I would touch it up when I got to firmer ground but I decided that I like it this way – it reminds me of the motion of the train ride.

I remember once when sketching on a trip in Portugal, the wind whipped the paper causing a jagged pen line across my drawing.  At first I was annoyed but whenever I look at that drawing I am transported back to the hilltop and the feeling of the wind in my hair as I sketched that church.

UPDATE: New poem from Tom in the comments – thanks Tom!!

Squaaawk! I am a rusty hinge
flying through the air well-singed
with cries of parakeets a-binged
on fruits and nuts from orchard’s fringe!

We flock in floods above the Earth
swoop down wherever there’s a dearth
of colour or of tropic mirth
then off we fly for all we’re worth!

Maybe eagles are more proud
and geese and ducks form bigger crowds
while swans are stately in their shrouds
but parakeets are bright and loud!

For all the sky is ours to roam
an open airy peaceful home
beside the ocean edged with foam
our fight is motion’s endless poem!

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

pretty bird…


long tailed bird


After drawing several creatures of the sea, I thought I might try a few of the sky… This one is a “doctor bird”. I wonder what this little guy is looking so askance at!

I hope you like the new style. I’ve started using a Chinese brush (digital of course) and the effect is quite pleasant I think!

UPDATE: New from Tom in the comments a hilarious poetic response to the image!

It’s awfully high up on this branch!
You too, you too, would look askance
if you’d landed way up here
then realized you have a fear
of heights!

I think that I’ll just take a breath
forget the plunge of certain death
that awaits beneath these things
upon my back: could they be wings?
So light!

Of course! Now I remember what
they are, I am. I just forgot!
Some days I drive myself insane
I’m such a silly goose bird-brain!

You see the problem is my tail,
it’s huge and elegant: I sail
through the skies so gracefully
but my brain’s distastefully
a mite!

So now and then I do forget
just who I am or why I’m wet
when I flutter in a bath
but I look gorgeous on the path
of flight!

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

it’s a duck!


I had a lot of fun working on the water for this one! I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

UPDATE: This in from Tom in the comments – the duck in verse! Thanks Tom!!

This duck has seen the world and some
and well it knows there’s something rum
about what’s going on here’bouts:
it has suspicions, even doubts!

It knows the fishes down below
are thinking thoughts that do not go
with all that’s proper and correct:
they meditate and oft reflect

On questions best not asked. A duck
has simple needs: to eat and breed
fly south in winter, north in spring
and not to question anything!

Copyright (C) 2010 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer