Happy Year of the Pig!

20190205-Year-of-the-PigR
Happy Year of the Pig! (6″x6″)

We are still in the middle of moving, renovations etc so painting has taken a backseat to other things lately. Very much looking forward to being settled and in a space where I can get back at it!

Here is a pig to welcome the Chinese New Year – health, wealth and happiness to all! I was inspired by the traditional Chinese paper cut art which often includes flowers…

Tom wrote a poem to honour this pig …and this year!

Glitter glowing over mud
a touch of sunlight dapples
a brow enjoying springlike floods
of sunlight. Soon the apples
will be afruiting in the trees
abuzz with busy worker bees
while below the pigs will root
and wallow with great ease. Bring boots
if you’d cavort with happy swine
for they’ve been known to splash and spatter
anyone they want to flatter
with the last and best of wine!
The good brown earth makes hearth and floor
for the happy sow and boar!

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2019 TJ Radcliffe

Advertisements

mandala sequence – 3 of 3

20171104-middle-kingdom-mandala-bw
Middle Kingdom mandala

Well, after struggling the previous day with the mid section of the mandala this final third felt like a gift. As I was meditating, the image arose in my mind of lotus leaves forming a canopy over this world. I love the whimsical, surreal sense it gives the whole. Hope you do too!

Here is Tom’s response as the final third of this mandala series narrative experiment. Love this!

Rising high above the mountains
lotus blossoms spread their leaves
catching water from the fountains
of the scudding Hyades
as from rain-wracked winter skies
cataracts fall on the wise
who avert all-seeing eyes
from an army on the rise
until the warriors of home
meet in battle cruel invaders
as the king upon his throne
commits his great dissuader:
Art unfolding on the plain
sends attackers home again.

But wait! there’s more!! Tom so enjoyed the final image that he wanted to write a separate poem for the image as stand alone. This poem is less action packed and more meditative. There is one more version of this mandala planned …what will Tom’s poetic response be after it’s painted?!

curving round horizon near
a world within a pond
ancient garden, absent fear
embracing lotus fronds
little mountains rising small
weighty, deep, and dense
dragons hide in clouds too tall
beyond the garden fence
here within this perfect world
wisdom sits and waits
in the sky the curlews skirl
above the open gates
though none may leave and none may enter
all are drawn into the centre

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poems (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe

mandala sequence – 2 of 3

20171102-mandala-sequence-2-of-3
Middle Kingdom mandala part 2 of 3

Well, I have to admit I got a bit “in my head” with this one – not as meditative as an approach as I try to bring to mandala drawing. But after reading Tom’s poem for the first part, this is how I continued the mandala. The scene unfolds with bridges, people and stylized Chinese clouds with dragons lurking …and Tom followed with the next poem for the series.

All across the Middle Kingdom
gossips gather in the streets
“Will the Emperor’s dominion
yield to rude invader’s feet?”
“Of course the Throne is will never fall
to the horsemen of the steppes!
Our warriors will give their all
to keep the raiders from our steps!”
On the walls the mages conjure
summoning the dragon-clouds
to ward the kingdom from its danger:
up they rise so fierce and proud!
While the sentinels beyond
huddle ‘neath the lotus fronds.

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe

painting study – the poet…

the poet - sketch
the poet – sketch

Time to think about a new painting for my class – even though I won’t have time to complete it before the end of the course next week.
This idea came to me when a friend was describing a painting she had seen. The strong image in my head turned out to be very different from the actual painting and I decided that it would be an interesting project to try to make my image into reality.
This one is called “the poet” but is meant to be an imaginary portrait of Li Bai, one of the most – if not the most – famous Chinese poet. Perhaps he is looking too studious… Anyway, it is not an exercise in historical accuracy!

UPDATE: New poem from Tom perfectly captures the mood of the scene and even a bit of the flavour of Li Bai’s poetry!!

Walnut writing desk
rice-wine close at hand

I look down… wondering.
What name evokes “immortal”

yet completes the poet’s rhyme:
“moon’s reflection cold and white”?

(c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe

(cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

China trip – bye bye Beijing and west coast interlude

quiet Beijing hutong morning
quiet Beijing hutong morning

Before flying back to Canada, I had a few days in Beijing staying in a lovely small courtyard hotel in the Drum and Bell district again. Because of a strong rain the night before, the air was actually quite pleasant and the sky was blue that morning!

Beijing rush hour hutong style
Beijing rush hour hutong style

The hutongs (the traditional alleys of Beijing) have their own busy-ness but it is not like the regular traffic jams of the larger streets. Everything is at a smaller scale – even the vehicles.

Vancouver reflections on the way out of harour
Vancouver reflections on the way out of harbour

…and after a flight of 12 hours and one night’s sleep, the seemingly surreal beauty of Vancouver, British Columbia as we cruised slowly out of the harbour. (It is great to have a friend with a boat!)

feeling fine
feeling fine

Although the winds were too light at this point to actually sail, the day was beautiful and enjoying the scenery from the shade cast by the sail cover was just about perfect… the word “awesome” got slightly but justifiably overused during these few days 🙂

sunset in the Gulf Islands
sunset in the Gulf Islands

Sunset the first evening after managing to prepare a pretty delicious meal in the galley – or maybe sailing makes you hungry 😉

view from hiking trail
view from hiking trail

Pirates Cove Marine Provincial Park had some nice hiking around and through the point of an island.

otter
otter

Yay! Wildlife!!

sculpted landscape
sculpted landscape

Fantastical rock forms…

tidal pool
tidal pool

Fascinating tidal pools… the very first one I saw had the most diverse inhabitants.

view from shore
view from shore

There she is, still afloat!

Nanaimo Harbour
Nanaimo Harbour

A beautiful day in Nanaimo…

back to Vancouver
back to Vancouver

Strong winds made for a quick trip back to Vancouver and sadly the end of an amazing trip.

photos (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

except #4 (c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe

China trip – Southern Anhui Province – Nanping

rustic charm
rustic charm

Our intention was to head back to Tunxi and then catch a bus to some interesting villages slightly to the east. However, we just missed a bus and would have had to wait 3 hours for the next one so… quick change of plans and we were off (without delay) to Nanping instead. Far fewer tourists and generally more rustic, the village has been the backdrop for many a Chinese period film.

alley of Nanping
alley of Nanping

Even narrow alleys had interesting patterns in the stone.

elaborate roof lines
elaborate roof lines

There were three main family names in this village and each had a large ancestral hall for – family reunions?

mossy formal ancestral hall courtyard
mossy formal ancestral hall courtyard

These ancestral halls were quite elaborate and the courtyards and interior halls were grand and spacious.

tiny alley with signs of modern life
tiny alley with signs of modern life

Fire hydrants and electrical cables are fairly well tucked out or sight. Like the other villages, Nanping seemed to have most modern conveniences.

hall used for the filming of  the Zhang Yimou directed "Ju Dou"
hall used for the filming of the Zhang Yimou directed “Ju Dou”

The colourful fabric still left from the filming of Ju Dou animates the courtyard and gives a small glimpse into the imagined past.

feng shui rules applied...
feng shui rules applied…

The doorways are deliberately staggered so that bad energy can’t rush into the house.

Ming dynasty kitchen!
Ming dynasty kitchen!

Now this kitchen that is really out of date! The house actually had four different eras of kitchens intact – above just the Ming dynasty part. Nanping was the only village we had a guide for and this was one of the interesting tidbits gleaned from her commentary .

winding alley in Nanping
winding alley in Nanping

Another alley curves off to somewhere…

looking back at Nanping
looking back at Nanping

Time to go. While heading out to the main road to catch the bus back to Tunxi, the view back shows Nanping’s beautiful setting with rice paddies and mountains.

water buffalo
water buffalo

Further along the road towards the slightly larger road… a water buffalo and her calf watch somewhat warily from the rice paddy as we pass by.

photos (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

China trip – Southern Anhui Province – Hongcun

first view of Hongcun across the lake
first view of Hongcun across the lake

After lunch we hopped on a bus and went to another world heritage site village called Hongcun. The first view of the village across the small lake was stunning even in the rain!

view from home-stay
view from home-stay

We had booked a home stay for the night so first thing to do was find it and stow our packs. Much more enjoyable visiting the town with less on our backs. The room was simple but the setting just amazing.

in the alleys of Hongcun - the water flows towards the village centre
in the alleys of Hongcun – the water flows towards the village centre

At first the village seemed a confusing maze but it was true that the flow of the water was a constant reference to find the way.

entry court
entry court

This extensive house had a series of courtyards and interesting interiors.

larger courtyard
larger courtyard

What a pleasure to step from a small dark interior into a large courtyard… bright and open while still feeling private and intimate.

courtyard with elaborate carving
courtyard with elaborate carving

The intricate carving in the structural members would have been indicative that the family was particularly wealthy at the time the home was built.

romantic bridge
romantic bridge

This bridge was the backdrop for the opening scene of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon… so beautiful.

about to cross the bridge
about to cross the bridge

So I had to cross it too!

from the top of the bridge
from the top of the bridge

And over the top of the tiny bridge… lotus blossoms ahead!

lovely lotus
lovely lotus

The lotus is not just a beautiful flower but also a cultural and Buddhist symbol – while it grows out of the mud, it floats above it untouched and undisturbed…

photos (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer