Moon at Tofino

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Moon at Tofino (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed wood cradle)

Another view from our lovely visit to Tofino this summer. This time I was focused on the warmth of the sky tones and the shimmer of the water. The moon was clearly visible as the sky was dimming with the setting sun.

Tom was inspired by the image to write this lovely poem.

Uncertain hours between the day
and when there falls soft summer night
emboldens me to finally say
just what I feel. The Moon so bright
embellishes both sea and land
with pastel tones that paint the strand
where soft reflections summon forth
memories both south and north
of time together, warm and cold
your shape tight held against my own
your eyes on mine, two souls, alone:
in dusk the changing light makes bold.
“I’ve loved you always, evermore;
once lost at sea, I’ve touched your shore.”

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

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On the path to Tofino …oil painting

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On the path to Tofino (6″ x 8″)

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.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

cedar island dreams …ink & watercolour

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cedar island dreams

A study of the local Gulf Islands landscape. The ink part was done with carbon black ink in a fountain pen with an ultra fine but flexible nib – really nice to draw with! A quick wash of watercolour brought it to life.

Tom’s evocative haiku! (I took the title of the piece from the haiku – not vice versa.)

face turned up, warm sun
eternally reflecting
cedar island dreams

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

day’s end …oil painting

Day's End
Day’s End (8″ x 10″)

A walk in Stanley Park towards the end of December was full of inspiration for me. The low sun gave a special glow to the sky and water. I included some people walking along the seawall give a sense of scale to the piece. Back to a small alla prima piece …so happy!

Tom wrote an especially wonderful poem for this one. It may make you think of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”  but is really very different.

Stopping by Water on a Winter Evening

Winter light on silhouettes,
reflecting pools of evening dark,
standing here without regrets
as the sunset lights a spark
drifting down the cooling air
across the water calm and fair
toward the mystery of the shore:
trees will stand forevermore
upon these mountain slopes so steep
plunging down into the sea
as the future waits for me
in the silence, dark and deep,
for I have miles to go and yet
here I stand, without regret

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

A Fishes’ Tao…

A Fishes' Tao
A Fishes’ Tao

Well, this is the next in the series of my …animandalas. The form is still inspired by mandalas but has evolved to the point where I felt it wanted its own name. 😉 This time images of fish were swimming around my brain and starting from the yin-yang fish at the centre, through the kelp forest out to the flying fish at the edge, so much fun to create!

a quadrant - closeup view
a quadrant – closeup view

By special request, a close-up to show the level of detail.

UPDATE: Poem from Tom! Thanks and yay!

deep within blue ocean’s silent whirl
pools of darkness tidal currents curl
soft black ribbons round unspoken fish
entwined in mind where emptiness meets wish
upon the twinkle in a minow’s eye
while through kelp the seried ranks swim by
and large above the flying fishes leap
undreaming through the air while fast asleep
aware of only surfaces and shiny
scales that sing the music of the world
across tsunami waves that guard the briny
deep within blue ocean’s silent swirl

poem (c) 2016 Tom Radcliffe

image (c) 2016 Hilary Farmer

today’s doodles…studies for a painting

the voyage - first colour sketch
the voyage – first colour sketch

It has been a long time since I posted anything. I haven’t been doing much digital doodling but I have been creating some studies for a painting course I started a couple of weeks ago. The course is called “Illustrative Painting” and so I am trying to establish a narrative of sorts. I have in my mind that the voyage is a metaphor for journeying into the future or even an internal journey of the mind. On describing this concept, Tom sent me this poem – within two hours!! There’s even a short version and a long version…

Elegy for a Future (short version)

The water’s kiss is soft against the blade
that cuts a careworn future from the past;
irrevocable, now the choice is made
to cross the Rubicon and finally cast

a glance ahead: there awaits the shore,
warm coastal waters leading ever on
toward mystery and landscapes to explore
beneath the golden light of other dawns.

Elegy for a Future (long version)

The water’s kiss is soft against the blade
that cuts a careworn future from the past;
irrevocable, now the choice is made
to cross the Rubicon and finally cast

a course into the beckoning unknown
where distant shores, intriguing inlets, wait
for a bold explorer, all alone,
in search of other futures, taunting Fate

while mourning for a life that might have been
in another universe and time,
a different incarnation in between
Tartarus and Nirvana’s distant climes.

That perfect future lies unsullied now
by compromises, awkwardness and pain;
in memory, reclining ‘neath a bough
sipping on a julep with a swain:

an ideal match in all respects, and fair,
in the heaven where such spirits dwell
beyond the reach of merely worldly cares
for heaven means there is no chance of hell.

But now ahead there awaits the shore,
warm coastal waters leading ever on
toward mystery and landscapes to explore
beneath the golden light of other dawns.

There is no destined end or certain truth
that’s final, fixed, unchanging: all that lives
will wend its way toward age from simple youth;
though much is taken, there’s still much to give

unto the years of life that lie ahead
upon this journey toward the Happy Isles,
letting go of Clotho’s tangled thread
and facing toward new futures with a smile.

poetry (c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe

The image of “letting go of Clotho’s tangled thread” in the last stanza caught my imagination – Clotho being one of the Fates in charge of weaving human lives. After I read that I did some more quick sketching.

the voyage - pencil study
the voyage – pencil study

Now the figure is at the moment of departure – just about to let go of the rope. There are more ropes heaped up on the dock – the “tangled threads”. Then I went to the next class and produced the following two studies (among others) – the second shows the teacher’s (Charles Vinh) input – turning the figure towards the viewer.

the voyage - colour study
the voyage – colour study

The ink sketch was done during class before discussing the figure position with the teacher. I added some colour later at home.

the voyage - tonal study
the voyage – tonal study

Here I am trying to establish an interesting balance between tones in the painting, drawing the eye towards the figure.

The next step is to consider the figure in detail with lighting, clothing etc. Next post!

sketches (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

elegant terns… oil paintings in progress

elegant terns dancing
elegant terns dancing
elegant terns in repose
elegant terns in repose

I have recently started what will likely be a series of paintings of birds – especially shore birds. I love the way they tie sky and water together – and I want to spend some time experimenting with painting water. It is a challenge so far but will improve I trust.

Why the yellow sky? I was inspired by some traditional Japanese screen paintings which use a lot of gold leaf and also the interesting use of colour by more recent artists such as the Fauvists. It is a way of giving myself freedom to play by not being too realistic from the start.

Elegant terns make a great subject because they appear to have so much personality and are particularly dynamic in their movements.

The two above paintings are in different states of completion. The top one has been worked on for three sessions and should be finished the next time I can work on it. The lower one has just been worked on for one session so far. I quite like the soft feeling but at the same time, want to increase the contrast by strengthening the black and white. I will post them again when they are finished if I like how they turn out.

My four year blogiversary was two days ago – it’s been  an interesting process to track my own progress  – and I am still enjoying it!

oil paintings 12″x 12″ (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer