It has only been fairly recently in my life that I have had the opportunity to spend much time near an ocean. One of the beautiful mysteries that result from the rising and lowering of the tides are the tidal pools. These pockets of water range in size and contents but even small ones usually have some signs of life and a good long stare is rewarded with a miniature darting crab, the spotting of an anemone, limpit or sea urchin. Once your eyes are in tune, a tiny world comes into focus.
Tom grew up with tidal pools so his haiku is in sync with the pool and the season.
anemones and urchins
cool spring tide rises
After the chill in the air from the precious painting, I was in the mood for something evoking warmer times ahead! This piece is based on a photo from a friend in Taiwan – thanks Claire! – but the flowers look a lot like local azaleas.
Here is a haiku from Tom!
buds dreaming of pink flowers
amidst dark green leaves
I decided to paint a larger work using the earlier small koi pond paintings as inspiration. As the size of a painting increases, the challenges can become exponentially greater. When paint starts drying, my usual alla prima techniques won’t work and it can be a struggle to keep the brushwork loose and fresh. Still, I hope I captured the feeling of the cool autumn evening watching the drifting willow leaves and lazily swimming fish.
Next time, I will try for the same feeling with a greater economy of brushstrokes!
Here is Tom’s haiku – he always uses just the right number of words 🙂
crooked branches bend
koi following time’s long curve
down straight water paths
Another painting from my visit to the Sun Yat-sen Garden in Vancouver. This one focused on the lily pads and reflections from the shore and sky.
Tom’s haiku for this one is …just perfect.
another world waits
through the water’s weathered glass
koi pass bare branches
And if you have a taste to see what this garden looks like …and feels like, check out this short film commissioned by the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden Society of Vancouver. Tom wrote the screen play and it really captures the place in a special way.
This small (8″x 8″ oil on canvas) painting is based on a photo I took a couple of weeks ago at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden here in Vancouver. It was a cloudy day but bright so I took advantage of the afternoon to do a little sight-seeing in my still relatively newly adopted city. The koi quietly swimming by while the willow leaves drifted on the surface of the water was a beautiful moment. It is a very picturesque Chinese garden and so there will likely be more paintings to come from my visit.
Tom’s beautiful haiku also captures the moment.
sky falls on water
dry leaves burn in autumn sun
koi pass by below
Although I have been posting ink and water colour pieces for more than a month, I have been oil painting as well. Here is an experiment from earlier this month – my first try painting on linen! It came with a clear gesso finish but using my technique which involves a transparent under-painting, I thought it would be better to have a regular white gesso base. So I applied and sanded three coats before starting to paint. It had a nice texture and a level of slickness that I really liked working on. Linen is a good bit more expensive than canvas, but it might just be worth it!
A few years ago, I tried a painting of orchids and wasn’t really satisfied with how it turned out. They are challenging! So although I had photos of some outrageously exotic orchids I took at a show a couple of years ago, I hadn’t dared paint any until recently. This type of orchid doesn’t look at all like a typical florists’ orchid but more like an extravagant “lady slipper”. I played around with the background since the flowers were against a concrete wall in the photo and I wanted some strong colour while still keeping the flowers as the star of the piece. Can’t you just imagine them deep in a jungle with the smell of humid earth all around?
Tom was inspired to write this haiku!
passing flowers drape
beauty on grey forest air