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

Jane’s Garden May

Jane’s Garden May (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Back to plein air painting. I have a friend who lives quite close by and has a most delightful garden. I painted there three times this summer and each time it was a different kind of treat. In May, the peonies, roses and irises were showing all their bounty. So lush and joyful.

Jane’s Garden May plein air setup

images (c) 2021 Hilary Farmer

painting of irises…

first, to cover the canvas

The is the beginning stage of a painting which ended up as a Christmas present. It doesn’t look great at this point but getting some paint on the canvas helps break the ice and get over that initial “fear of the blank page”. There is also a very rough indication of the direction of the final piece. In the end, some of this layer will actually show through as watery reflections.

taking shape

At this point, quite a lot of the painting has been sketched in but it is still quite rough. The leaves in the background for example are very gestural… the painting was now set aside for a couple of months. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it to my liking but in the end I decided to give it a shot.

finished!

Sometimes working on a painting, I need to cultivate a “let’s just see what happens” attitude. If I am trying to hard to make it come out a particular way, it is less likely to succeed than if I flow with where the painting wants to go. That sounds flaky but it works for me! In this case, the leaves got quite a lot more definition and some aspects of the water were highlighted to get a shimmer as well as other details being enhanced. Unfortunately, the photo isn’t great. I need some tips on photographing paintings – anyone? At least I took several the photographs before varnishing it. After, even though it improved the look of the painting, the extra sheen was really difficult to work around.

close-up

and a close-up of the final painting.

Happy New Year and happy painting – or whatever your creative urges may be in 2012!

images (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer