Market apples

20190817-market-apples
Market apples (8″ x 10″ oil on raised gessoed panel)

Everything at the market is so inspiring at this time of year! I deliberately chose the apples that still had some leaves attached – partly because then I can tell that the apples are really fresh …but mostly because I like to paint the leaves. The wooden bowl I put the apples in has an oval shape – the view is pretty much looking straight down. I painted this alla prima and had lots of fun playing with colour as usual.

Tom wrote a nostalgic feeling poem for this one.

Early mornings on the way to school
in crisp September under shifting skies
I’d pick an apple, hard and tart and cool:
a burst of flavour telling me no lies,
just flooding all my senses with its taste
and texture, scent, and colour, then the crack
of every bite in autumn silence. Haste
devoured it to the core. No looking back
upon a lonely childhood would be fair
without those moments pure and full, delight
in what the world might be, what’s waiting there
for anyone who reaches for a height.
Apples gave us knowledge, so it’s told
Apples gave me beauty, bright and bold.

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

Peach plums

20190708-peach-plums
Peach-plums (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)

Fruit in the summer is endlessly pleasing both to taste (so much better that supermarket winter stuff) and to look at. I was at the market and selected the box of plums with a few leaves attached …it makes me feel closer to the tree! I put these warm yellowy-peach coloured plums in a blue bowl that made them sing. Complimentary colours don’t always get me excited but I thought this worked.

Tom’s poem is a riff on a very famous 20th C American poem by William Carlos Williams. If you don’t know it, check out the link. Amusing!

You just need to hear

You have painted
the plums
that were on
the table

and which
I waited to eat
until
you finished

I forgive:
they are beautiful
so bright
and so bold

https://poets.org/poem/just-say

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

Bowl of cherries – 1 & 2

20190703-bowl-of-cherries-1
Bowl of cherries – 1 (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)
20190704-bowl-of-cherries-2
Bowl of cherries – 2 (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)

After not oil painting for a few months, I wanted to warm up with studies of cherries. The colour of the cherries was so gorgeous, they were calling to me! I painting them twice in the same pottery bowl which was glowing with sunlight and alive with reflections and shadows. Giving some indication of this while maintaining a painterly approach was the challenge. (The second one is more close up as well as subtly different in other ways.)

Here’s a wonderfully fun poem from Tom that argues …cherries alone are not enough!

They say life’s not a bowl of cherries
which seems to me just fine
for who would want their life, so merry,
to be gulped by summer swine
who stand and chat around the bowl
enjoying snacks and banter droll?
I’d rather life be like a feast
confected from odd ends, at least
a mix of bitter, sweet, and sour,
salty, savory, sumptuous:
it seems a bit presumptuous
to let one fruit alone devour
all the rest, however sweet,
I want a life diverse, complete!

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

Scent of fall

20180919-playful-pear
Scent of fall (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed wood cradle)

What can I say? It’s fall and so it’s time to be inspired by all the fruit that is ripe and delicious right now. Pears have such a beautiful form and playing with colour within that shape was a pleasure.

I love how Tom’s poem combines all the senses in curious ways – just right to celebrate the overwhelming sensory input of the season. (The painting’s title is taken from the poem.)

Flagrant tapestry of light
disposed upon a simple plate
gives great pleasure to the sight
beguiling those who stand and wait
for just a taste of beauty’s touch
or perfume’s lovely sound. So much
is taken, still yet more abides,
and to us now on art’s spring tides
come simple feasts for senses all
served up with synethetic flair
that melds the mind with plate and pairs
sweet voice with the scents of fall:
a smorgasbord of pure delight
to lift our fancy in its flight.

(Tom says: Note Tennyson reference in “much is taken, much abides”.)

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Lemon tree

20180809-Morris-inspired-lemon
Lemon tree (12″x 12″ oil on gesso board)

I wanted to explore patterns in a way inspired by William Morris. Lemons with their shapely yellow fruit, graceful leaves and pretty blossoms were a perfect subject to play with. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon creating this piece.

Tom’s poem puts the piece into a larger context.

Deep falls the sky behind the lemon trees
that grow beneath a blue which England knows
only through the hint of summer breeze
and ships that carry treasure in their holds:
fine fruits from distant lands where tropic suns
beat upon the backs of all who toil
in field and orchard, where the Empire runs
amok amidst the beauty and the spoil.
In fecund seasons endless bounty waits
for those who do not scruple at the cost
of houses overseeing fine estates
where none wander and yet all are lost.
Yet too this England grows a different kind
who will tend her gardens in our time.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Apples on a pedestal …oil painting

20180405-more-apples
Apples on a pedestal (9″ x 12″)

More apples. This time there was more space to breathe around the subject and the footed bowl and background became an important part of the composition. The colours and pattern of the background looked good in my minds eye and were a pleasure to paint. The piece came together really smoothly.

Tom’s poem approaches the subject from another viewpoint compared to the previous apple poem …another kind of knowledge. Once again it seems just right for the painting!

Upon a pedestal ensconced
above a blue tabula rasa
just waiting for some renaissance
artiste, who from forbidden Lhasa,
high in Himalayan climes,
has walked the paths and learned the rhymes
of gurus old and lamas young
until she knows what’s wrought or wrung
from patterns cast upon the wall
of Plato’s cave are hardly all
that we can know when truth is sung:
for the artist sees the deep
where hidden knowledge lurks and leaps.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer

poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

last plums …oil painting

20170922-last-plums
last plums

Maybe not the very last of the season but with just a few in the box, it seemed like a good title. Juicy and sweet, they have to be eaten carefully …or with abandon, letting the juice run down your chin and arms!

The glowing purple-red of the plums contrasts with the dull green cardboard box.

Wishing you abundance this harvest season.

(c) 2017 Hilary Farmer