This one was pure joy to create. I started with the idea of campanula – a flower also know as harebell and bluebell. They are so pretty and dainty. After a couple of sketches, I started applying the transparent layer of oil paints to my smooth gessoed surface. A pattern (similar to but not exactly like the sketches) evolved and continued evolving as I started applying opaque colour. I quite enjoy the way the pattern looks a bit like stained glass.
As usual, Tom has matched his words to the painting catching the mood perfectly!
Bluebells ringing in the sun
calling out now each to each
“Here is summer! Ain’t this fun!
Let’s go dancing on the beach!
Or rocking in this open field
where the music is concealed
within the sound of birds and bees
chirping, buzzing, through the trees
while we toss our joyous heads
and passing breezes ripple through.
Come let’s dance, just me and you!
All your cares and fears be shed!”
For though they are firm-fixed in place
Their dance is full of joy and grace.
I wanted to explore patterns in a way inspired by William Morris. Lemons with their shapely yellow fruit, graceful leaves and pretty blossoms were a perfect subject to play with. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon creating this piece.
Tom’s poem puts the piece into a larger context.
Deep falls the sky behind the lemon trees
that grow beneath a blue which England knows
only through the hint of summer breeze
and ships that carry treasure in their holds:
fine fruits from distant lands where tropic suns
beat upon the backs of all who toil
in field and orchard, where the Empire runs
amok amidst the beauty and the spoil.
In fecund seasons endless bounty waits
for those who do not scruple at the cost
of houses overseeing fine estates
where none wander and yet all are lost.
Yet too this England grows a different kind
who will tend her gardens in our time.
Recently, I have been finding inspiration in unusual places – such as William Morris wallpaper. The patterns can be mesmerizing. I was looking at one before I painted this and while there is something of the underlying structure there, the painting quickly took over with its own voice.
For a painting that looks so light and airy, Tom found a dark side to explore in his poem.
When the guns have fallen still
no missiles scream across the sky
then will flowers cross the sill
and go in search of reasons why
through all the empty world’s expanse
where no lovers meet nor glance
in secret trysts or wedding bands
across the burned and barren lands
over oceans, through the air
around the world and back again
from pole to pole through all terrain
but finding no good reasons there.
No reasons will the future yield
While flowers blow in empty fields.