Rose fantasia

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Rose fantasia (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

This piece was straight from my imagination and pure play. I love these colours and the way the roses are starting to dissolve into the background.

Tom’s poem is as fantastical as the painting! It could be the seed of a wonderful story and yet it’s enough as it is.

“Why must we learn the art of flower making?”
asked the Acolyte. The Master smiled.
The Acolyte went on, “Are we not breaking
the Rule that time is wasted, minds beguiled,
by the frivolous? We reproduce
what Nature does much better. Why is that?”
“Because we find it is an art of use,”
the Master said. He laid a book down flat
and gently tore a page, forbidden text,
that criticized the Emperor and told
the truth about his tyranny’s effects,
written by a monk, now dead, once bold.
Dyed pages made the flower blossoms glow
So in the future scholars might yet know.

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

Pinks plus bee (3 times)

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Pinks plus bee – 1 (6″ x 6″ oil on raised gesso board)
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Pinks plus bee – 2 (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)
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Pinks plus bee – 3 (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Well I don’t usually paint the same subject multiple times but I thought there could be something to learn doing this – and I was preparing for a live demo. This was the first time for me really doing painting as performance art. It ended up being really fun! 😀

The first time I painted it, I realized I was too slow and that I really needed to speed it up to maintain interest …and there wouldn’t be enough time available. So I painted the second one almost twice as fast. The background in particular is much looser as a result in the second one. The third painting above is from the live demo. I did a few touch-ups when I got home but not much actually. Since I was talking and answering questions throughout, it did take some focus and time away from painting. However, I think I was able to show my method and the art group was very engaged and appreciative of the presentation. Happy Day! …and each painting has a cute little bee that is a bit different in each one.

Curious if you have a favourite painting!

Tom had something to say in poetic form about the process …and he is certainly right!

An artist cannot paint the same
picture over, once again,
for the scene has shifted, changed,
and she has moved along the chain
of time from link to golden link
while the sun down blue skies sinks
toward the far horizon lost
as by winds the flowers tossed
change their aspect and their guise
from bright to pale and pale to bright,
tame to wild and wild to right,
each walks with beauty in her eyes
for as she changes day by day
the flowers grow and turn and sway.

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

Hearts

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Hearts (6″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I decided to make an image that I could use for Valentine’s cards and I had so much fun creating this. It was very freeing to be so whimsical. Note the extra hearts created in the texture of the paint or in subtle colours in the background.

Here is the verse Tom wrote for the inside of the cards. How perfect is that!?

My heart drifts up, a butterfly,
upon the breeze as you pass by

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

Winter ditch

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Winter ditch (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Maybe it comes from my days working in architecture, but I enjoy looking at things in “plan view” (straight down). And recently, the beauty of the minutia we usually ignore right at our feet is drawing me in. There is so much life and colour there, once I stop to really look. The summers here get quite warm and very dry so I’m enjoying the rain and wet …well most of the time!

Here’s Tom’s haiku to go with this painting. 🙂

living rill feeds green
ripe grasses catching sunlight
ditch runs with spring rain

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

Forest floor

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Forest floor (6″ x 6″ oil on archival raised gessoed panel)

There is beauty all around including in the details of the various plants in the under-story of the West Coast woods. For example, here is the shiny green of salal leaves and the brilliant red of the Oregon grape leaves at this time of year. I had fun painting this – such bold, natural complementary colours!

Tom’s wonderful poem puts this tiny detail into a much bigger context of space and time.

The tangled under-story dwells
above dark earth, the ground’s foundation:
listen to the tale it tells
while the wind’s damp susurration
passes by on raven’s wings.
All around us voices sing
of elder days, when on this ground
no human footprint could be found.
The under-story still remembers
life alone beneath the trees
where forest gods might bend their knees
and coax new shoots from winter’s embers.
Ready always with the flame
of spring they leap to life again.

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

A bowl of eggs

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A bowl of eggs (8″x 8″oil on archival raised gessoed panel)

They must be raising some pretty fancy chickens locally because these were the latest eggs we bought. The colours are as shown so yes, muted tones of pink, blue, green, yellow, oh, and brown – although we’ve all seen those before! It was a challenge to go for those pastel shades. Maybe I’ll paint a bowl of white eggs sometime – a different kind of challenge.

In Tom’s poem he imagined different eggs, waiting to hatch.

An egg is perfect, smooth, as yet unborn,
bereft of all the cute complexity
of a hatchling, wobbly, still half-formed,
escaping from the shell’s convexity.
Ideas nascent, plans untried, their risks
untaken occupy our feathered nests,
waiting for the chipping of a brisk
relentless beak that will not take a rest
until the prisoner is free and clear
from out the egg and into clear bright air
where dangers lurk, and imperfection, fear,
are gathered ready, pouncing from their lair.
But in their imperfection chicks might rise
and live to soar in unforgiving skies.

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

One fine day

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One fine day (8″ x 10″ oil on archival raised, gessoed panel)

It was a very fine West coast winter day – quite mild and with sunshine! Our walk took us through the woods and out the other side towards farmland and pasture. This view is looking back towards the path to the woods. I like the feeling of this painting. It captures  the cool winter sun and the mystery of the path.

Tom’s poem may mean more if you’ve read Italo Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller” – however, it stands quite well alone. The image of my painting led Tom down a quite different path in his poem. I like it!

If On a Winter’s Day a Traveller

You are reading “If On a Winter’s Day a Traveller”,
perhaps online, or on your phone,
during your commute. The train, the bus,
the streetcar is quite crowded,
jostling and rattling around
as you get your head into the poem.

What lies ahead? The curve of road or track
leads on to darkness, mystery, confused
deep tunnels, full of dusty lights,
or intersections where the traffic snarls
into a knot. There’s no way out
but forward, so you go,
in time.

The screen is dark, you’ve been distracted,
and now the poem is done.

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