Tangled Garden

Tangled Garden (8″ x 10″ oil on panel)

Recently I decided to go out locally with a friend plein air painting. We had an idea to go to a nearby farm field and paint the cows in their bucolic setting! Great idea but the farmer had moved the cows and there wasn’t one to be seen. I will spare you the details of how each place we decided to try fell flat for one reason or another. I think we were on our fifth idea – and putting miles on in our search – when my friend suggested calling a friend of hers and going to their garden. Well that turned out to be wonderful! They gave us wine and snacks and I got to paint the last hollyhocks of the season and an enormous bumblebee …a lovely afternoon of painting after all.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

May Blooms

May Blooms (11″ x 14″ oil on canvas)

This one was painted en plein air out on our deck on this lovely sunny Victoria Day long weekend. It took two afternoon sessions because of the larger than usual canvas and the quickly changing light. Luckily, it was sunny both Saturday and Sunday so I was able to continue in very similar conditions. I decided to really abstract the background elements – both the slatted table the vase was sitting on and the forest and sky beyond are represented by playing around in value tones. With the bouquet itself, I had a lot fun deciding which elements to pull out in some detail and which to make more suggestive. A very pleasant way to spend some time with the scent of lilacs wafting by…

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Autumn Market Blooms

Autumn Market Blooms (8″ x 10″ oil on canvas panel)

This was a demo painting I did during a workshop earlier this fall for a lovely group of women. Market flowers seemed the perfect subject – almost the last fresh local flowers of the season. Despite wandering around during my own painting process to check the students’ progress, I ended up with a piece I was pretty pleased with. It’s fresh and loose.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Skyflowers

Skyflowers (30″x30″ oil on canvas)

I just had a three day open studio as part of the Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour. It was a wonderful experience slightly tempered by the necessity of keeping strict COVID protocols. Welcoming people into our space after being quite solitary for the past year and a half was heart-warming. People were so thrilled to be able to take part in this activity and visit many artists studios throughout the long weekend. This painting was shown at the central gallery where each artist displays one piece of work.

The idea for “skyflowers” – or clouds that taken on the aspect of various flowers – drifted into my mind and just had to be painted. The seascape part is very much inspired by the local waters here amongst the Gulf Islands off Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.

Here are irises cascading into the ocean behind an island at sunset.

Skyflowers (Detail)

I built up and scratched away layers to enhance the evening glow in this part of the sky.

Skyflowers (Detail)

One more piece of sky clearing showing the shape of the iris clouds.

Skyflowers (detail)

This painting is definitely not the last of this series. 🙂

images (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Pansies and Weavings

Pansies and Weavings (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

I painted this one for my Mother. She’s an avid gardener and loves pansies. She also weaves, so I combined those two loves here. If you look closely, you can see subtle hearts in the background.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! (She got the painting in the mail a couple of days ago, so it’s OK to post!)

Tom wrote a beautiful haiku tying this painting to the larger world.

every year in spring
nature weaves her colours deep
soft fabric petals

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

Arranging flowers

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Arranging flowers (11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas)

I have been playing more with acrylics lately than I have for a long time. Feeling experimental! This peonies in a vase composition was painted from my imagination using lots of layering, mark-making and impasto – another piece that felt very freeing.

Tom’s haiku is a perfect accompaniment!

cut blossom glass vase
petals falling in the sun
lazy summer morn

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Floral abstract

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Floral Abstract (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

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

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

White rhododendrons, blue sky

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White rhododendrons, blue sky (16″ x 20″ oil on archival panel)

I painted this one about a month ago from photos I took (not this year) of a large rhododendron garden in a nearby park. I say nearby, but it would have still required a ferry ride to visit this park and we haven’t been off our small island since the shutdown started almost three months ago.

Tom just wrote an amazing poem this weekend that speaks to the times we live in as much as this painting. I feel profoundly grateful to have inspired it with my art.

storm clouds rising           somewhere up ahead
blossoms tossing            shadowed on the wind
skies are changing           blue is running red
searching for forgiveness           for our sins
in the darkness               under forest cover
eyes that hide           from hunters passing by
we hold these truths
                  clutched to us like our mother
we tell these stories       hoping they're a lie
raindrops splashing         fat upon the flowers
shaking leaves and          dampening the ground
summer's waking thunder           tolls the hour
what never has been lost         cannot be found
young buds open          now their time has come
senescent giants falling            free the sun

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) TJ Radcliffe

 

Tulips

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Tulips (20″x 20″) oil on canvas

This larger tulip painting doesn’t look much like the study posted previously but I think they each have different things going for them. I especially enjoy the undulating leaves in the foreground in this one.

Here is Tom’s haiku written for this painting. As he said – “Small poem for a large painting! They seem innocent and open, but the wood behind…”

pink, red, open, closed…
tulip blossoms greet spring sun
keeping no secrets

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe