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.
This was painted plein air and alla prima. I took my gear to a local park and carried it down to the beach, setting up looking across the shallows towards Entrance Island with its lighthouse, and the mainland mountains beyond. The sky was also cooperating with some lovely mauve and creamy clouds. So beautiful here… Happy to say someone who saw me painting it while walking their dog bought this piece!
Tom wrote a poem that goes with this painting but also speaks deeply to the feeling of living here, I think.
There is a place where light and water touch
Where distance is illusion and the truth
Swirls the summer clouds.
There is a place where one might hear a note
From orchestras not strictly of this Earth
Echo off the rocks.
There is a place where time itself is still
and waves reflect the motion of the wind
as silent eagles soar.
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!
I just love fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and it is the season! Since I don’t have a garden myself, the next best thing is the local farmers’ market. It is a treat to be able to be fresh local produce …and the double treat is painting what I buy first and then eating it! 😀
Tom came up with a fun and curious poem for this one! A possible and positive near future vision. 😉
Hot fields swelter in the sun
a quiet robot slips along
sensing each and every one:
tomatoes squeezed by gentle tongs
to judge if they are just so ripe
so as to cause bursts of delight
when by human tongue and taste
they are sampled. Not to waste
is the robot’s mission prime
as it putters down the rows
sniffing with its metal nose
so we can eat of fruit divine.
The tireless, staid machine moves on
as humans play from dusk to dawn.
Well, this sprang in part from the freedom and joy I felt painting the last botanical abstract and in part I dreamed her. It happens sometimes. I am often reminded of the Picasso quotation “inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” – definitely if I hadn’t painted that day, the image in my head would have floated away. The painting is strange and weird and I kind of love it.
Tom’s wonderful poem reads almost like a riddle.
She’s always there, within the lurking trees
about to surface, coming into light
where the forest stirs in absent breeze
and the darkness sparkles in the night.
Perhaps you’ll catch her passing swift behind
a walking shadow, dancing with an elf,
or vanishing before your very mind,
until you wonder, “Is that… or myself?”
Her eyes are watching all and seeing naught
but beauty where there’s nothing else to see:
she’s always there, but never seen nor caught
by merely mortal eyes within the trees.
She moves the world, although she does not move,
she is the First, by which all things are proved.
I shamelessly took the name of this small oddity from the poem Tom wrote for it. Every now and then I am moved to paint what I think of as botanical abstracts. I love the colours and the way this one shimmers.
Tom ran with the image and created a delightful accompaniment for the painting. It even has bees’ knees in it!
The forest of the night is fine
with its flaming tyger’s shine
lighting up the trees.
But I prefer the copse of day
wherein strange hybrids grow and sway
attracting stranger bees.
They buzz within the thickets tangled,
with their legs is pollen wrangled
in between their knees.
Passing to each generation
the joys of novel combination,
mixing by degrees.
And from such vigor in the roots
we’re blessed by all the diverse fruits
that do our palates please!
I did this portrait based on a photo from our wedding this summer. What a joyful day! This is the last oil painting I did before packing away the paints for our move. The painting itself is waiting for the last minute in order to be as dry as possible. I was pretty pleased with how this turned out – the likeness is good and there is a loose and fresh quality to the brushwork that I have been having a hard time bringing into portraits.
Tom wrote a poem about the joy of that day …and the joy that continues! ❤
Under the wide and clear blue sky
I speak the truth and do not lie:
glad was my troth and glad is this tye
and to stand beside you is my will.
This be the joy you give to me:
“Here he moves as he longed to be.
Sailing with you across sea
and hiking high on the hill.”