Wind. Flower.

Wind. Flower. (24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas)
Wind. Flower. (Detail lower left corner)
Wind. Flower. (Detail upper left corner)
Wind. Flower. (Detail upper right)

I have been working on this painting (off and on) for months. I did post it once before but then after some time went by I decided to add even more layers. The overall photo doesn’t really show it well so I added some detail shots. I really do enjoy this process of building up and scraping away to reveal what’s underneath in places. It started out as a meditation on a friend’s garden I had visited and that is still there, but it dissolved and resolved into something else.

Tom wrote a deeply beautiful poem for this one.

Earth, water, air, and fire
combine, combust, conflate, conspire
to form the mystery of all things:
the solid ground, a ghost that sings
of other Edens lost to time
and futures flying in their prime
toward the secret, never seen.
They flit and flutter, twist and lean
to glimpse beyond this life’s abyss
and catch a moment’s endless bliss.

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

The Old Crabapple

The Old Crabapple (11″ x 14″ oil on canvas)

This one started as a few abstract squiggles and evolved into a memory of a tree from the farm I grew up on. An old gnarled tree, it was really tall for a crabapple. It was gloriously covered in blossoms in the spring and small hard fruit in the fall that my mother made mysteriously delicious jelly from.

Tom’s poem is just perfect for it.

Four-score and ten: my season’s span
from summer warmth to winter snows
from spring’s first bud to autumn’s fan
of drying leaves. My circle’s closed

by blossoms blousing in the breeze
which grow to apples in the heat
turned hard and tart by fall’s first sneeze
then frost like diamonds dusts my feet.

Four-score and ten: my season’s span
’til hence I go where I began.

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

Bumble 3

Bumble 3 (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

OK, this is the third and last bumblebee of this series …but who could blame me? They are so cute and this one even has a heart on its back. I scaled down my brushes a bit to do these but you can clearly see the brush strokes because the painting is so small.

Here is Tom’s poem for this one. I think this bumblebee deserves his nap. 🙂

Not every bee’s a working worker:
some like me are known to chill
upon a leaf. But I’m no shirker!
I just rest when all is still.

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

Bumble 2

Bumble 2 (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

I had so much fun painting the last bumblebee that I did another. It’s a challenge to get the fuzziness just so and the transparency of the wings too. Don’t forget how tiny the paintings in this series are – just 4″ x 4″.

Tom’s poem reflects the bustling busy-ness of the bees!

Scurry, shuffle, search and sniff,
gather pollen all the day.
Circle, flying, catch a whiff
of new flowers… On my way!

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

Wind Flower

Wind Flower (24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas)

This painting started life as an abstract and some elements of that are still here. However, the piece really started to develop after a visit to a friend’s beautiful garden back towards the end of August. That’s when floral elements started to show themselves. I went back and forth on this one for about a month building up layers and thinking about it before I finally decided it was finished. The title comes from the anenomes that are on the right side which are sometimes called “windflower” and as well, the feeling of a breeze drifting through the petals of all the sunlit flowers.

Here is Tom’s lovely haiku which captures the scene so succinctly.

dawn over garden
summer world in soft dissolve
through the morning mist

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

Sunflowers and stripes

Sunflowers and stripes (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Having bought some sunflowers at the market back at the end of August, I had to paint them of course. I decided to use extra thick and juicy brushstrokes a la Van Gogh. Sunflowers just seem to want that approach.

Tom wrote a haiku that gets to the heart of the painting in so few words.

transient fires burn
triumvirate of blossoms
brighten summer days

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

White garden roses

White garden roses (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I do love flowers in their natural setting more than those in a vase. This is a study in white playing with the warm and cool tones to give a natural play of light and shadow on the petals.

Tom wrote a haiku for this one that captures the essence of the moment.

delicate scent wafts
petals open to the sun
summer afternoon

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

Summer dreaming

Summer dreaming (12″ x 16″ oil on raised panel)

I have been playing with more abstract (and abstract adjacent) painting this year. This one was built up over many layers ending up somewhere between impressionism and abstraction. At some point in the process, the moon appeared in the sky and stayed. The feeling was quite dreamy and more subtle than this photo shows but I can’t get another because it sold quickly.

Tom wrote a delightful sonnet with a rhythm of anapestic tetrameter (like Dr. Seuss) which really suits the mood of the painting.

The farmer’s abed and the Moon is reborn
so we’ll dance and we’ll sing from the eve until morn
when we’ll lie down exhausted and sleep through the day.
In the shadows of grasses and flowers we will lay
until the soft darkness ensilvered by stars
creeps out of the gloaming and brings us awake
to drink from the dew by the light of bright Mars
and sip the sweet nectar of flowers ’til we slake
our thirst and our hunger. Our bodies adorned
with trews made of petals, so silken and gay
we’ll jig to a hornpipe like England’s old tars
who served that old pirate, Sir Francis the Drake.
For we are the Fairest of Folk in this land
obeying no law but the bright Moon’s command.

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

Garden goddess

20200612-garden-goddess
Garden goddess (20″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas)

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.

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