A scene from spring in Victoria – the grasses are alive with colour from all kinds of wildflowers while the trees are still bare, waiting for more warmth. Getting all those shades of green is always a challenge and I wanted to hint at the flowers without getting into too much detail.
Tom’s lovely poem perfectly captures that feeling of early spring.
Wet warm showers of April, sweet,
fall between the sprays of light
from the spring-time sun that meets
the rain with promises so bright
they dazzle we who climb the hill
and see the flowers, wild and still
until a gusty breeze ruffs down
their cheery slapdash coloured crowns
and rocks a barren winter oak
whose branches are yet bare and free,
although a tiny bud we see
where the sap has now awoke
beneath blue skies of sun and rain
that bring the world to life again.
Another painting inspired by this past summer’s trip to Desolation Sound, a beautiful place of infinite variety.
Tom’s poem celebrates the the place, the wildlife and the light …and the experience of being there. (Note that “nightjar” is another name for a nighthawk, an insectivore that darts about in the late evening catching its dinner.)
Clouds that wander high and bright
above the forest of the night
where nightjars nest and eagles fly
beneath the ever-changing sky
over waters cold and deep
where octopi and fishes sleep
and dolphins dance while whales progress
as summer breezes soft caress
the trees and islands, rocks and sea,
where in the cove we are set free
from common care and daily grind,
easing soul and freeing mind
to wander wide and ever bright
beyond the forest of the night
where nightjars nest and eagles fly
beneath the changeless evening sky.
Things have been very busy lately – in the best possible way. I had an open studio as part of the Gabriola Island (Canadian) Thanksgiving Studio Tour. So many lovely people came and several bought pieces. After working away on my own for about two years, it was wonderful to have such a positive experience when I let “outsiders” in to see my work!
The style in this painting evolved into something quite like some of the impressionists as I searched for a way to create a shimmer of light on the water. This is not any particular view but it’s very rooted here in the Gulf Islands of the West Coast – the mossy foreground, the light coming through the evergreens and distant mountains reminding us that there’s another world out there.
I love Tom’s poem for this one!
Shadows beckon, light awaits
around the distant point of land
where the evening gently scrapes
against the rocks where cedars stand
upon these timeless island shores
where in winter gale-winds roar
tearing at the ancient trees
that still stand tall in summer breeze
as the evening, warm and long,
breathes in life’s diversity:
mosses, flowers, trees, the sea
that sings the oldest of the songs.
Far beyond these coves and bays
The Ocean sings of elder days.
An exploration of the ocean and mountains at Desolation Sound. I mentioned in a previous post about the amazing beauty there and I will no doubt continue trying to capture it. So far, I feel Tom’s lovely poem is much more evocative of this magical place.
There are no mountains, nor a sea,
nor any forests, green and deep,
but these that beckon, calling me
to pause within their sheltered keep
like a knight on olden fields
who wanders, fighting, never yields,
but battered on he travels still
seeking peace beside a rill
or stream where might a hart bound by
leaving stillness in its wake,
where the knight may bend and slake
his thirst for beauty where the sky
glows in beauty over trees
below the mountains, by the sea.
Here is another painting from the wonderful west coast of Vancouver Island. This was a very popular spot for people to take their dogs. Lots of happy pups cavorting on the beach and in the water. This painting was too large to do alla prima but I still worked quite quickly so that the under layers were still wet and moving enough when I added on the next day. It was three consecutive days of painting.
Tom’s wonderful poem speaks of things not seen directly in the painting, expanding on the visual in the imagination.
A cove that curves in shadow cool
beneath the overhanging trees;
clear waters, shallow tidal pools
reveal the secret of the seas:
that as above so too below
the seaweed wavers row on row
like flowers in the empty fields
and fishes dart as do the eels
like birds through sultry summer air
between the stems, above the buds
avoiding clouds that dance and scud
like waves concealing glimpses rare
into the world that dwells below
while above the flowers blow.
I was quite please how this little painting turned out. It was painted alla prima based on a photo from this summer’s Tofino trip. There are three tiny people in the picture – and since the painting is small, they really are tiny – but recognizable as some family members of mine …at least to me!
Tom wrote a lovely poem for this one!
Somewhere out near the edge of forever
an island rides the waves
drifting down the currents, never
ceasing exploration save
to pause and watch a distant shore
where families walk the strand
happy in their lives and more
secure upon the land
than spending decades on the sea
wild roaming ‘cross the foam
until at last they come alee
and know that they are home.
Had the wonderful opportunity to visit the far western edge of this country recently – that is the west coast of Vancouver Island with its incredible Long Beach, charming Tofino, and amazing sunsets! We stayed at Middle Beach Lodge which was lovely. This painting was from a view along the path from the lodge to Tofino …and yes, the wild roses were blooming. The scent of the sea and rich undergrowth of the enormous cedars was a heady combination.
Here is Tom’s wonderful poetic take on this time and place.
Somewhere in the vasty distance
out across the endless sea
moving waves meet wind’s resistance
turning toward us, you and me
who stand upon this western shore
having all and wanting more
while the waves eternal kiss
sand and stone in sunlit bliss
beneath the summer flowers in bloom
whose wafting scent illuminates
our memories in days that wait
for all our yesterdays atuned
to this present joyful place
awash with waves that leave no trace.
I did this a few months ago messing around with new ink and various brush techniques – an experimental piece. Recently Tom caught sight of it in my sketch book, got inspired and wrote this delightful poem!
I really rather like it here
upon this little hill
Nothing much is far or near
the air is warm and still
This lovely tree casts shade for me
the view is just sublime
A place to contemplate and see
there is no truth but time
Its passage measures all the ways
we learn, forget, and change
Marking out our years and days
which always seems quite strange
For we have only just enough
to do what we must do
So fill it well with love and stuff
and contemplate what’s true.
It is a crazy beautiful time of year for those who like flowers! Here on the west coast, the rhododendrons make a particularly spectacular show. Recently, we had the occasion to be in Bowen Park in Nanaimo where there is an area dedicated to these bushes. It was a riot of color. There was a wedding party there at the same time having photographs taken – I would have been worried about the flowers upstaging the bride! Anyway, this is not the exact scene as I played with the composition but was strongly inspired by that visit. This was a larger piece for me (16×20) – there was just so much to show!
Here is Tom’s lovely poetic response. I learned a new term this week “ekphrastic poetry” which is poetry particularly written in response to a piece of art. I am honoured that Tom has been regularly providing ekphrastic poetry for my art!
Variations on a theme
of colour, light, and forest shade:
rhododendrons by the stream
bloom beneath the sylvan glade
within the garden where the dark
beneath the leaves hides thrush and lark
who dart and flit and hide from view
but pause to sing a song that’s true
while the gentle breezes blow
and bees abuzz from flower to flower
take the sweet and leave the sour
then back to home and hive they go.
This patch of beauty unalloyed
brings to all a touch of joy.
One evening last summer …the air and bay were calm as the sun sank lower and lower until it was a small glowing ball above the trees.
Here is Tom’s inspired poem!
Dusk flows in like liquid light
across the mirror-surfaced bay
harbinger of coming Night
momento of the ending Day:
long shadows for the stars prepare
a sky that dark and light will share
while reflective ripples hold
the sun’s last rays in shadowed folds.
Day’s bold colours, Night’s pure black
meld together, pastel shades
create a beauty unafraid
of time’s slow ebb from flood to slack.
Bright sun in cold black water glows
Where soon more distant stars will show