In dark times it becomes even more important to celebrate the momentary joy and beauty that life brings… the breeze ruffling a field of flowers, the sun sparkling on the crest of a wave, a single golden leaf spiraling to the earth. This piece was created with many layers – painted, scraped and scratched. I hope it speaks to others too.
Tom wrote a wonderful poem that captures and enhances my painting. Thank you Tom for the poem and the painting’s title.
Wandering beyond the drying fens beyond the sunlight-burnished summer fields a tramp might find a doorway to a gem of elder darkness, where the Singer wields her voice like some forgotten hero’s blade sweeping past the stars to split the sky reminding men they are for living made, rising higher, sweeter, as it dies. The Singer tells all hearers of a time when for a moment they may breathe in joy eternal: empty, pure, divine… until an end no one who lives avoids. A wanderer might listen at the door then step in darkness, seeking always more.
This painting was built up in many layers working daily over about two weeks. It looks nothing like its early iterations transforming quite radically from what I thought I was painting at first. The title comes from the subtle figure in the middle of the painting which I didn’t even see until I had decided the painting was finished. I have never painted anything like this before – it was fascinating to see it emerge.
Tom wrote a poem for this piece that transcends and enriches the painting. Thank you.
I am the whisper that you do not hear
I am a ripple through the summer leaves
Too close to see because I’m standing near
Too far to touch my simple floral sleeve
Now come with me upon a journey outward
Now come with me to where you’ve never been
Soft breezes quiver as you look to windward
Soft breezes waft a scent that is not seen
I’m all around you walking on the surface
I’m all there is and all there’ll ever be
There is no way to show you my true purpose
There is no way for you to not be free
I am the voice of thunder and of flame
I am the sacred utterance of my name
Tom says references for this poem include: a gnostic poem called “Thunder, Perfect Mind”, “The Waste Land” (what the thunder said, o you who look to windward…), and Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, image of touching the sleeve of a ghost to go on a journey.
This started as some quick gestures in acrylic paint but was layered over – with many layers of oil paint – into …well, I followed where the painting wanted to go – a fascinating process. It can take me much, much longer to paint an abstract piece than something more realistic even though the individual brushstrokes can be bold and decisive.
Here is Tom’s poem which brings more thoughts and depths to what is seen here.
the curve of time is spiraling
toward a conscious centre
cutting holes where angels bring
our souls that they may enter
this world of finite time and space
where one thing after next
proceeds with soft diurnal pace
to make such strange effects
as flowers that are first a seed
then afterward a bud
until they blossom, finally freed
then fade in autumn’s flood
as seasons pass through space while time
gives views from all the angles
and our souls have heard the chimes
and given up their tangles
Well for me this was one of those moments – I saw the shape of the board and a vision formed in my mind of what to paint …and I painted it. There was some evolution as I painted but this is pretty much per my original vision. Happy! She is called Sophia because the name means wisdom.
Without discussing what the painting meant to me with Tom, he came up with a poem that says in words what I hoped to express in paint. To be honest, we never do discuss the paintings before he writes the poetry – sometimes I am amazed and surprised by what he sees, and sometimes like this time, there is a remarkably singular vision.
The Lady of the Lake has seen
the colours of the western sky
where the future’s past has been
as swallows dance and nightjars fly
between the sunset and the dawn
as the silent stars are drawn
so slowly up the vault of heaven
where the will of man is leavened
with the love of woman, strong
whose waits with patience, fortitude,
and just a little attitude,
for time’s result, so ever long.
She knows all things will one day be
in futures bright we cannot see.
I did this portrait based on a photo from our wedding this summer. What a joyful day! This is the last oil painting I did before packing away the paints for our move. The painting itself is waiting for the last minute in order to be as dry as possible. I was pretty pleased with how this turned out – the likeness is good and there is a loose and fresh quality to the brushwork that I have been having a hard time bringing into portraits.
Tom wrote a poem about the joy of that day …and the joy that continues! ❤
Under the wide and clear blue sky
I speak the truth and do not lie:
glad was my troth and glad is this tye
and to stand beside you is my will.
This be the joy you give to me:
“Here he moves as he longed to be.
Sailing with you across sea
and hiking high on the hill.”
I was trying something quite different for me with this piece. I didn’t have a visual reference, scene or photo – rather, I woke up the night before with an image in my head that I wanted to paint. While this painting is related to that image, it isn’t it – so I’ll likely be playing with the idea for a while. And that makes me happy because this was pretty much the most fun I’ve ever had painting. It was a very intuitive process, much more like how I approach drawing the mandalas. It ended up playful and rather extravagant!
Tom’s take on it was different from mine which is to be expected with an abstract. After reading his poem, I see different things in my painting too.
…in chaos bright the universe is born:
incandescent streamers past the dark
before the stars. Space and time are torn
from nothingness and into quavering quarks
existence pours from portals of the night
where the walls of Now are pierced by Then
letting through the angels in their flight
from Heaven as the Where becomes the When.
Blue shifts to red across the broad expanse
long ropes of stars form loops and empty turns.
Stems rise up, each energetic lance
rides across the the field as giants burn.
Galaxies collapse and swiftly spin
as the doors swing open and now in…
This one was really asking for vibrancy …and it ended up quite a riot of colour hence the name! Although this mandala is definitely summer themed, since the coming weekend is Easter, if you want, you could imagine those are Easter eggs hidden in there. 😄
Tom seems to have noticed this one was particularly colourful as well!
When too much colour fills the world
it spills into the summer flowers
brightly etched and roughly knurled
raising up their fecund powers
to create new generations
with pollenistic exhalations
spreading life beneath the sun
as the summer’s long days run
from dawn to dusk and back again
the fields of fragrant flowers wave
while dragonflies find what they crave
beneath the summer sun’s long reign.
The world is painted bright and wild
Each colour on the others piled.
A quick doodle today that I started a few days ago… playing with texture and colour.
Busy times – not sure when I will get back to a regular schedule.
UPDATE: new poem (possibly silly) from Tom.
Upon a time a boy of wood
became true flesh and bone,
so mayn’t then a girl of glass
turn from hard-as-stone
to supple, fluid, graceful life
with just a hint of truth
of her glassy origins
touching skin so smooth?
Here’s another doodle on the same theme as last time… flowers, soft blending and exploring the relationship of colours next to and overlapping each other. Still enjoying using Procreate. In fact I have done a few more doodles but haven’t posted them yet. I will try to post another this week.
UPDATE: Original poem from Tom in the comments! Captures the image very well – thanks Tom!
Floral embers smoulder, bursting fire
beneath the gusting winds of warming Spring
raising up the Year King on his pyre
to burn within the sacred garden’s ring
where arms of leafy green are raised up high
to welcome back the Eastern-rising sun
rebirth is in the air across the shire;
Winter’s reign at last is finally done!
So brightly burn the floral fires today
that only for a moment will they last
yet toward the Summer they will light our way
melting Winter’s grip so cold and fast.
So the Year King burns, for he is slain,
Yet all that dies will one day live again.