A pleasant day in late March. The local buffleheads were out – that’s a kind of black and white duck. Plein air painting can be such a wonderful way to connect with the world. Looking at a painting I have done in nature always takes me right back to that moment.
Tom wrote a haiku for this painting celebrating spring …and buffleheads!
bufflehead breezes wander down island narrows ruffling spring waters
Playing with twisting branch shapes and spring blooms, this was done from my imagination. It is a very freeing way to work! …And a bee because then you can smell the apple blossoms and hear the hummmm of activity when looking at the painting.
Here is Tom’s delightful haiku for this piece.
crooked branches trace stark shapes across winter sky where bees buzz in spring
This one started as a few abstract squiggles and evolved into a memory of a tree from the farm I grew up on. An old gnarled tree, it was really tall for a crabapple. It was gloriously covered in blossoms in the spring and small hard fruit in the fall that my mother made mysteriously delicious jelly from.
Tom’s poem is just perfect for it.
Four-score and ten: my season’s span from summer warmth to winter snows from spring’s first bud to autumn’s fan of drying leaves. My circle’s closed
by blossoms blousing in the breeze which grow to apples in the heat turned hard and tart by fall’s first sneeze then frost like diamonds dusts my feet.
Four-score and ten: my season’s span ’til hence I go where I began.
Painting birds is so joyful for me so I wanted to revisit the varied thrush but this time in oils. This piece was not painted alla prima. I let the first layer dry and then was able to scratch through to some of the bright under-painting where I wanted. Check out near the bird’s claws for example. I was quite pleased with the balance between representing something real and having an abstracted feeling. There is a very free feeling in that colourful background.
Here is Tom’s poem that goes with this painting. He actually wrote this one separately from the painting but it turned out to be perfect for it!
Branches glow like ladder-rungs up, up the trunk in springtime sun: a thrush alights upon the bark, it’s orange breast a joyful spark of colour after winter’s grey that ushers in the brighter days.
OK, this is the third and last bumblebee of this series …but who could blame me? They are so cute and this one even has a heart on its back. I scaled down my brushes a bit to do these but you can clearly see the brush strokes because the painting is so small.
Here is Tom’s poem for this one. I think this bumblebee deserves his nap. 🙂
Not every bee’s a working worker: some like me are known to chill upon a leaf. But I’m no shirker! I just rest when all is still.
I had so much fun painting the last bumblebee that I did another. It’s a challenge to get the fuzziness just so and the transparency of the wings too. Don’t forget how tiny the paintings in this series are – just 4″ x 4″.
Tom’s poem reflects the bustling busy-ness of the bees!
Scurry, shuffle, search and sniff, gather pollen all the day. Circle, flying, catch a whiff of new flowers… On my way!