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.
Another friend/neighbour invited me to paint their lovely garden. I really enjoyed the pond here! A chance to get into the shadows and reflections in the pond as well as the varied planting around (and in) it. In June, the irises were still blooming and the waterlilies were just starting to show some colour.
Another lovely few hours spent in someone’s garden painting a lovely view. Back in June when this was painted, everything was fresh and blooming. All that crazy summer heat we experienced was yet to come.
I have in the past been used to keeping pretty much up to the minute on this blog but actually, I find I have really been enjoying looking back from the distance of a few months and dare I say feeling a sense of accomplishment for everything I did in this (still) rather strange period of history. From the perspective of a bit of time, I no longer see the breaks and gaps but just the work. Interesting.
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 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
These current times have me experimenting more with my art for some reason. Anyway, this is painted in acrylic which I haven’t done much with for a few years. It felt more playful and less “pressure-y” which was what I needed! And it turned out to be playful too – no surprises there! Acrylic dries so fast that if you decide a colour or shape isn’t working, you can paint over it almost right away. So different from both oils and watercolour.
Tom found inspiration for a very dynamic poem here! He adds some background information in case you’re wondering – like I did – what the heck that word means:
Thylakoids–which sound like they should be some kind of creature on
Edgar Rice Borough’s “Barsoom” (Mars)–are the structure within
chloroplasts where the light-dependent reactions that almost all life on
Earth ultimately depends on take place.
Storms of summer, raging light
crashing down as photic waves
sweep the beaches of the night
and shift dark beasts within their caves:
the sleeping thylakoids are roused
by the light in which they’re doused.
They ride the surges, open wide,
absorb the roaring solar tide
and feel some energy within
as bonds are broken and remade
within this bright and sunny glade,
a garden without sin
where simple surfaces abound
but deep beneath the truth is found.
This chaotic tangle of flowers reminded me of a country garden run wild. There’s just a hint of a fence or a shed and I really like how the blooms dissolve into the sky.
A lovely whimsical poem from Tom for this one.
It’s not just anyone we wear
these bright summer colours for,
but only you, we truly swear,
who’ve come to see us by the door
of this old shack where once there lived
a hermit. He had much to give
but kept it all for only us:
he planted, tended, went to dust.
So now we’re all that still remains
in memory of one whose will
was loneliness and life fulfilled
by solitude and gentle rains.
So only those whose hearts surrender,
to this place may see our splendor.
This abstracted floral was inspired by a photo I took on a recent visit to Victoria. What amazing gardens they have at this time of year! …well from now until September really. Great gardening climate. As you can likely tell by looking at it, I took a lot of liberties painting very loosely and feeling free with it. An impression of something can feel even more real than a photograph in some ways and that’s what I am working on achieving.
Tom has written a sonnet for this one that gives more scope for thought!
This riotous intensity of life
this flowing force of beauty growing tall
this moment of reality, a slice
of time: this Garden does not fail or fall
but bursts forthright upon the worldly stage
to teach the innocent, unlearn the sage
arrest a glance and free the troubled mind
overwhelm the proud, reward the kind.
This Garden waits for all who wander lost
across the empty spaces, forests, fields,
searching for the treasure that time yields
although their lives be rough and tempest tost.
Not somewhere after death is our reward
but here and now in beauty’s soft accord.
This apparently grey and white cat is actually very colourful when you look closely! Maybe it’s all the flowers rubbing off. This was painted alla prima on linen inspired by an image seen in the online painting course I am taking.
Tom’s poem for this one is particularly playful and fun! 🙂
A cat acreep among the pots
searching for a little mouse
that scuttles through the grassy plot
returning to its hidden house
where on seeds it may just chew
or make a savoury lentil stew
for it may be a mouse-gourmand
who wants the best, in fact demands
tasty freshness in its food
and so it braves the creeping cat
who at some clatter glances back
and misses out! O such a mood
the kitty’s in on her return,
and too the mouse, whose stew has burned!
A view of my parent’s country garden in the summer. I love the lush density of the flowers and the richness of the colours! …and yes, I know that these flowers are not all perennials but they come up every year and that’s perennial enough for me!
A tangle deep, wrapped in enigma
growing wild without the stigma
of replanting year by year:
perennials that know no fear
of frost nor snow nor deer nor rabbits
growing wild has been their habit
since a time long out of mind
toward the sun they turn and climb
over each and reaching high
growing wild beneath the sky