Painting birds is so joyful for me so I wanted to revisit the varied thrush but this time in oils. This piece was not painted alla prima. I let the first layer dry and then was able to scratch through to some of the bright under-painting where I wanted. Check out near the bird’s claws for example. I was quite pleased with the balance between representing something real and having an abstracted feeling. There is a very free feeling in that colourful background.
Here is Tom’s poem that goes with this painting. He actually wrote this one separately from the painting but it turned out to be perfect for it!
Branches glow like ladder-rungs up, up the trunk in springtime sun: a thrush alights upon the bark, it’s orange breast a joyful spark of colour after winter’s grey that ushers in the brighter days.
I have just finished a series of eight mini oil paintings. I thought it would be fun to try tiny creatures on tiny paintings. It was! 🙂 Remember, it may look large on your screen but these are very small.
Tom has written delightful short poems – one for each. Enjoy!
Now really, Darling, don’t you see that when I’m posed beside this berry my colours bold and wild and free are so much brighter, fun, and merry?
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, it was time to try a self-portrait. There is a likeness and I had fun painting it so as an experiment, I am happy. Maybe I didn’t need to use every colour though – the background is extremely exuberant! 😀
Tom’s poem – written as usual on seeing the painting – surpassed it, turning out more beautiful than the painting. This is another poem that makes me want to follow up with a new painting!
A face to wake to in the morning
rising with the brimming dawn
where adventures are aborning
anywhere that light has shone.
Wryly watching all the beauty,
never shirking artist’s duty,
capturing the world’s strange ways
of being through the summer days.
She paints the beauty of the night,
nor to gaudy day denies
the magic of her loving eyes:
all the world, so clear and bright.
Those eyes that see me in the day
And in the night while firelight plays.
Following on from the previous abstract, although done on another hot day in the studio, this one is cooler and more water-y …and possibly full of scales or little fishes. I felt it definitely had a tropical vibe too.
Tom has seen different things and has brought both his scientific mind and poetic magic to this piece!
Tadpoles over river-stones
rushing forward up the stream
toward a place that’s all unknown
to the likes of you or me
where tails will shrink until they go
and legs will sprout and then they’ll grow
and gills are lost to gasping lungs
as tadpoles climb up Darwin’s rungs
’til at the top they’ll find a pad
to rest in dappled summer sun
while knowing that the race they’ve run
was worth the effort, hard and mad
to reach a place of rest and peace
and all are equal, most to least.
It is a crazy beautiful time of year for those who like flowers! Here on the west coast, the rhododendrons make a particularly spectacular show. Recently, we had the occasion to be in Bowen Park in Nanaimo where there is an area dedicated to these bushes. It was a riot of color. There was a wedding party there at the same time having photographs taken – I would have been worried about the flowers upstaging the bride! Anyway, this is not the exact scene as I played with the composition but was strongly inspired by that visit. This was a larger piece for me (16×20) – there was just so much to show!
Here is Tom’s lovely poetic response. I learned a new term this week “ekphrastic poetry” which is poetry particularly written in response to a piece of art. I am honoured that Tom has been regularly providing ekphrastic poetry for my art!
Variations on a theme
of colour, light, and forest shade:
rhododendrons by the stream
bloom beneath the sylvan glade
within the garden where the dark
beneath the leaves hides thrush and lark
who dart and flit and hide from view
but pause to sing a song that’s true
while the gentle breezes blow
and bees abuzz from flower to flower
take the sweet and leave the sour
then back to home and hive they go.
This patch of beauty unalloyed
brings to all a touch of joy.
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.
It was in my mind to try painting mandalas in oils and so this was back to a very meditative process. I had no idea what I was going to paint until I started at the centre – the only given was a radial symmetry. This one started fairly geometrically but then transformed into flowers? butterflies? peacock feathers? It could be many things and I like the ambiguity!
Here is Tom’s wonderfully circular poem!
…bold and bright the peacock’s eyes
turn as inward colours rise
flaring forth in red and gold
leaping out with joy as bold…