Cloudless Evening

Cloudless Evening (6″ x 6″ oil on panel)

A small intuitive landscape, this one is definitely inspired by local scenes. I have been very fortunate over the years to have several opportunities to sail around the islands and bays of the the west coast of Canada. Awe inspiring – even overwhelming – the seascapes and landscapes here continue to feed my creative soul.

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer


Girl in Wetsuit

Girl in Wetsuit (9″x12″ oil on panel)

Named for the sculpture the painting shows, Girl in Wetsuit (the sculpture) is located just off the seawall around Stanley Park in Vancouver. She definitely refers to the mermaid sculpture in Copenhagen but I think I like this one better! The tide is fairly low here but sometimes, she is not far out of the water giving a dynamic relationship with the ocean.

I may yet come back and tweak the painting but over the recent couple of weeks where I wasn’t able to paint, I have come to rather like the sketchiness.

(C) 2023 Hilary Farmer


“Enduring” (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

A new piece inspired by the cliffs and rock formations around where I live. In this case, I have included the cormorants that form seasonal colonies here. From below, it looks like they make their homes on the narrowest ledges. The stone wall also has strange round pockets that seem to make more congenial nesting locations.

A couple of details below.

“Enduring” (detail middle, right)

You can see the shadow of the cormorant in flight on the cliff.

“Enduring” (detail bottom right)

Some fun with splashing surf.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Plein Air at Clarke’s Bay

Clarke’s Bay View (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Recently, I went out painting with a group my friend Elsa Bluethner and I started up – “Gabriola Plein Air Painters”. I did two paintings that day. This was the first, then we went for a quick swim, then another painting. What a lovely late summer afternoon!

Clarke’s Bay Sparkles (6″ x 8″ oil on panel)

This was the second painting looking towards the left of the first one and into the almost blinding sparkles on the water. I was pretty pleased with how I captured the feeling of the light in this one.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Misty Mountains

Misty Mountains (11″ x 14″ oil on canvas)

This painting was inspired by our recent trip to the Sunshine Coast. On the day we left (by sailboat) the mist and clouds had crept in, the rain was starting and the wind was picking up. The crossing of the strait ended up being quite uncomfortable! However, the view looking back up Jervis Inlet definitely made up for it. Photos really don’t do it justice. This is definitely a case where it is wonderful to be a painter instead of a photographer. I was able to paint it as I remembered the view with just some photographic reference. Although the colour palette might look fairly monochrome, there is a surprising range of colours in it.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Back Eddys View

Back Eddys View (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

We recently went on a trip to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. It’s not so far from where we live but it was still very different and a real holiday. We stayed at a place near Egmont. This location allowed us to do a boat trip up Princess Louisa Inlet – which is gorgeous! – and to see the Skookumchuk narrows – which was fascinating. The tide there runs the second fastest in the world at up to 19 knots creating tidal falls and enormous whirlpools.

This view however, was painted plein air one evening just looking out from the cabin we rented. There will be more paintings inspired by this trip later…

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Banana Slug

Banana Slug (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

I hadn’t painted a mini in a while and for some reason a banana slug seemed like a good idea! They are a distinctive creature that we have here on the West coast and while some may just find them slimey, I think they’re rather …well, actually beautiful with their varying shades of yellow, dark spots etc. This one is nicely contrasted with some soft green mosses.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Sea Girt View

Sea Girt View (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

A last plein air from this past summer. As you can see, another gorgeous day, sunny and a bit breezy out in the bay. This view takes in Entrance Island and the mainland to the east. In the foreground some of the curious and fascinating limestone formations that are a common sight here.

Sea Girt View (Setup with under-painting)

Here’s my setup with the under-painting layer already done. In the photograph it’s harder to see the island and distant mountains than was actually the case. You can get a good idea of the rolling limestone “dunes” with embedded limestone rocks though. I’ve been a bit intimidated about trying to capture these formations but I think it turned out quite well!

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Daniel’s Way View

Daniel’s Way View (8″x 10″ oil on raised panel)

A sunny day back in the spring. I was perched rather precariously on a large rock with my setup. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo, you’ll just have to trust me on that! 😉

The sea looks different every time …and the scudding clouds and the distant mountains too. Looking at a plein air painting always takes me back to the feeling of being in that place at that time, with the feel of the breeze and the smell of the ocean. Looking at this I just remembered I was visited by sea lions while I was painting this one. If they had come much closer, I would have packed up but they stayed down on the rocks off to the right of the frame of this painting. It was pretty magical.

Daniel’s Way View setup – looking not as steep as it actually was!

images (c) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Brickyard Beach Spring

Brickyard Beach Spring (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

A pleasant day in late March. The local buffleheads were out – that’s a kind of black and white duck. Plein air painting can be such a wonderful way to connect with the world. Looking at a painting I have done in nature always takes me right back to that moment.

Tom wrote a haiku for this painting celebrating spring …and buffleheads!

bufflehead breezes
wander down island narrows
ruffling spring waters

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