Dancers

20200410-Audrey
Dancers (6″ x 12″ watercolour on paper)

Another piece that popped into my head and had to be realized. I thought the face looked a bit like Audrey Hepburn but the image was from my imagination.

Tom wrote a wonderful sonnet to accompany this one. I took the title for the painting from his poem.

Is there a dancer dreaming of the flowers
or a flower dreaming of the dance
waving on the winds that sweep and scour
the stage while all the chorus line’s advance
is checked by stems too short for metre’s travel
and so they bow and shimmy in reverse
before their strict formation can unravel
into a flock of petals, or still worse
inelegant and wobbly razzle-dazzle
unfit for such refined and proper blooms
despite just feeling oh so slightly frazzled
knowing that the end of dancing looms?
For days the flowers dance upon the breeze
bringing all who see them to their knees.

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

The view from here

20200326-The-view-from-here
The view from here (16″ x 20″ oil on archival gessoboard)

The world has changed a lot in a few short weeks …weeks that have felt very, very long. I want to continue posting images that reflect joy and beauty as I see it, but there are obvious challenges given the situation.

After the lockdown started where we are, it took a week or so for me to get into a headspace where I could start painting again. What came out was not a specific view, but reflected both the landscape here and my feeling of how surreal the unchanged local beauty seems in this context as well as the feeling of connectedness within separation of this time. This painting was not an alla prima piece. I kept coming back over several days layering paint until I achieved something close to the vision I had.

Tom as usual responded to the painting with a deeply beautiful poem.

Trees at Twilight

Behind the trees a secret lies
that whispers on the evening light
that speaks of other times and skies
before the day becomes the night…
as brightness falls the air is still
behind the forest, where the will
of Nature rules the tides and time
to make of this a place sublime
where the truth that can’t be spoken
drifts across the twilight sea
dipping deep to set us free
of all our yesterdays unbroken.
These silent sentinels behold
more beauty than is known or told.

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Thistle

20191120-thistle
Thistle – 8″ diameter oil on raised panel

I have a few other paintings that were done earlier, but I wanted to share this one right away since Tom’s poem made me think of Remembrance Day recently past. When I painted it, I was enjoying the form, colour and texture …but I appreciate that Tom sees things in my paintings that give another layer to them, a whole other life.

The heather’s deep, my bonny lass,
where horses haven’t trampled down
the sturdy men and brittle grass
this day when all our sorrows drown
and somewhere pipes are calling still
across the glen and through the hills
to bring us back from wrack and war
which we will study no’ the more.
We do not answer, rise, nor march
to follow down the piper’s call
for we will feast in other halls
beneath the sky’s eternal arch.
Above us still the thistle grows
Our prickly, coarse, and perfect rose.

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

Summer hum

20191006-Summer-hum
Summer hum (11″ x 14″ oil on stretched linen)

The feeling of the warmth and sleepy yet full vitality, of a summer afternoon –  blackberry bushes alive with the sounds of bumblebees stocking up on pollen. This painting was finished just in time for my recent open studio and I was delighted at the reactions. The feeling I was trying to convey definitely made its way from eye to heart. That’s the best thing I, as an artist, can hope to achieve!

Maybe it’s the scale (the bees for example are about double life-sized) but the photo does not convey the feeling of the painting very well. That’s always a bit of a problem but for some reason, with this one there’s a bigger difference.

And here is Tom’s delightful poem which riffs on the notion of “the boys of summer”.

The bees of summer take the field
running ’round the diamond flowers
praying that the day will yield
a bounty worthy of their powers
to seek that sweet-spot in the sun
as from base to base they run
always heading back to home
to swing again and go alone
as fast as ever they can fly
gathering the crowd’s applause
who in winter’s frozen pause
will remember warmer skies.
The bees of summer never cease
while the score may still increase.

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