I’m a star, you’re a star

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I’m a star, you’re a star (oil on 6″ x 6″ raised panel)

While I find these tidal pool creatures fascinating and beautiful, there is also something strange and improbable about them. Technically, I was trying to get the sense of the sunlight using glints of bright colours. Definitely fun to paint!

Tom’s poetic take on the subject is a playful spin on a childhood rhyme.

When you wish upon a star
be careful of your wish’s aim:
a ball of gas, quite hot and far,
or something else that shares its name?
For an echinoderm will not
grant the wish that you have got
nor will it listen to appeals
from a human. All your feels
are as nothing to a fish
of the starry ocean kind
which may leave you in a bind
if to it you entrust your wish!
So when you wish, wish on a sun
beneath whose light strange creatures run.

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

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Tidal pool

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Tidal Pool (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Since visiting and then moving to the west coast of Canada, I have had the opportunity to explore nature of kinds that are vastly different from what I grew up with in Ontario. One thing that is especially different and fascinating are tidal pools. Sometimes, a casual glance is rewarded with the view of colourful creatures but even if not, the longer you look, the more you see. Tiny fish, or crabs scuttling along – sometimes wearing someone else’s shell, barnacles using their little feet to kick food into their mouths and it goes on – I couldn’t make this up! Anyway, anemones are one of the more obvious and beautiful creatures to see.

Here is Tom’s playful poem!

An enemy of anemone is my friend
for what do lurking colours oft portend?
A fish ensnared within the lair
of tentacles: entrapped unto its end!

A reticent young innocent defends
the fish whose tail now flailingly extends
from the grip of poisoned nips
of tentacles: a saving hand descends!

A true ally I’ll be, shall I transcend
our different species? For I apprehend
a soul at risk, and so I whisk
off tentacles: the fish no more condemned!

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

finding a new balance – mandala

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finding a new balance (9″x9″ ink on watercolour paper)

Yes! It has been a long time since I posted anything …but I’m back! Here is the first mandala I’ve done in a while with not one, but two beautiful new poems that Tom wrote. Since we are now living on an island, and the mandala was about finding a new balance in a new context, it seems fitting that one poem highlights the ocean and the other the forest.

Boulders strewn beneath the mass
of Ocean’s dark and vasty deeps
protect the rising reefs of glass
sponges where the mermaids weep
to see these fragile structures shine
in darkness since the dawn of time:
no sun has broken their repose
since species now extinct arose
to master Earth and sea and air
with mighty roars and stomping feet,
they ruled and the world until defeat
by time and chance entombed them there
beneath great Ocean’s darkling waves
where reefs of glass still mark their graves.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/lng-crew-discovers-rare-prehistoric-glass-sponge-reef-1.3514548

The forest hides its secrets well,
they’re measureless beyond account:
a perfect flower, an open dell,
a tiny grotto where the Fount
of Youth may flow into a stream,
until it feeds slow Lethe’s dream
as all about the forest speaks.
Leaves might whisper, branches creak,
each voice a secret now revealed
to anyone with ears to hear,
who dares to overcome their fears
and venture past familiar fields.
The forest watches, listens, waits,
for one who comes, embracing Fate.

(“Lethe” is the river of forgetfulness in Greek mythology.)

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

 

 

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

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