Degnen Bay Plein Air

Degnen Bay – Cold Spring Afternoon (8″x10″ oil on raised panel)

I went out plein air painting with an artist friend early in April to a protected bay on our coast. Lucky us that’s only about a 15 minute drive. There were a few boats moored here but I decided to focus on the fleeting sky and cloud structure and the effect of that on the water. Especially happy with the sky!

I didn’t want to start another 8×10 but my friend was still painting and had a 6×8 linen panel she was willing to give me to try. So here’s the second painting of the afternoon looking another direction. We were getting rather chilled so I ended up tweaking this one back in the studio.

Degnen Bay – Evening Light (6″ x 8″ oil on linen panel)

Once again, I decided to focus on the natural aspects of the scene – the lengthening shadows and new green of the spring trees while mostly ignoring any man made structures.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Abstracted Garden

Abstracted Garden (8″ x 10″ oil on linen panel)

Playing with colour! Warm and cool… and complementary orange and blue. As I painted, the idea of a garden started taking shape – leaf textures and floral forms. Maybe that’s a pond in the upper right. I like the feeling of this piece – calm but full of life. Looking forward to the buds in my garden showing their faces…

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Evening Flight

Evening Flight (8″ x 10″ oil on linen panel)

A second take on the murmuration theme. I enjoyed trying this one with a limited cool palette giving the feeling of quite late in the day. The sun has already gone past the horizon with just a warm glow left and the sky heading towards that pre-darkness deep blue. I love that colour! Silhouetted birds fly in the dusk.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Evening Murmuration

Evening Murmuration (8″ x 10″ oil on linen panel)

I started with the idea of a murmuration in my mind. The dips and turns of the birds flying together, the rustle of their wings… Later, the colours came telling me it was evening. Birds dart and soar, perhaps snatching the odd insect out the the air before retiring to roost for the night.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

Gull Muses

Gull Muses (11″x 14″ oil on stretched linen)

Further exploration of the ocean’s edge, this is another intuitive painting which grew into itself. I really didn’t know what I was going to paint, but I was feeling drawn again to the rocky coastal zone. The pops of colour are more realistic than the semi-abstracted painting might seem, since there are all colours of seaweeds here as well as purple and orange starfish.

(C) 2022 Hilary Farmer

June Blooms

June Blooms (8″ x 10″ oil on linen)

Fun with colour and flowers! Another view from a friend’s garden this summer. This one was painted in the studio from photo references rather than plein air though. I enjoyed getting into the textures and depths as well as letting the buds dissolve into the sky.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

April

April (11″ x 14″ oil on stretched linen)

This one was a commission. I had it mostly done back in March when everything shut down but I did a couple of final tweaks recently and finally got to hand deliver it to the new owner. I was quite pleased with how it turned out – the setting and the dog’s expression were such a pleasure to paint. And I’m happy to say the new owner was delighted. In case you’re wondering, this beloved pup was part (mostly?) Irish wolfhound.

Tom wrote a touching poetic tribute to go with the painting.

There is a dog that moves the hearts of men,
whose soulful eyes see further than our own:
far into realms and regions past the ken
of those of us whose spirits dare not roam
beyond these castle walls of bone and flesh
and into spaces where the angels fly
unhampered by how gears of logic mesh
to make this cold illusion where we die
and are not swept into the heart of God
where our absent friends are joyously
awaiting us. Do not mistake a dog
for one without a soul. At peace and free:
where there is love, there still she is alive
to greet us in the morning as we strive.

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

Summer hum

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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

Ying in the Window

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Ying in the Window (11″ x 14″ oil on linen)

Even though I put the dimensions on the images of the paintings, it is hard to tell on the screen the impact the size has on the art. This one is a bit larger than I have been working recently and so the cat is larger than life-sized. Feeling bold, I used my largest brushes and painted it alla prima in one 3 hour session. The cat is loosely painted but definitely a portrait of a specific cat and the background – an abstraction of the view out the window beyond – has a pleasing Klimt-esque quality. Sometimes, while painting there’s a feeling of ease and “rightness” – this one had that for me.

Another charming poem from Tom for this piece!

A cat upon the windowsill
all done with years of wandering,
at last a place to warmly chill
while contemplating, pondering
the biggest question of her day:
is it best to sit or lay
oneself upon a a window ledge,
or prowl around and haunt the edge
of every room where there might be
a scrap of kibble, or a slice
of bacon dropped by raiding mice
no cat seems ever quite to see?
The choice is hard, but now it’s made
and in the sunshine she is laid!

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