Pink roses

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Pink roses (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed cradle board)

Our new home is mostly “natural landscaping” that is, nothing much has been done to the land. There are lots of lovely trees and some typical local under-story – like ferns, salal, and a few wildflowers. However, there is also one lovely little rose tree that came out with a few perfect, sweet, pink roses a few weeks ago. So here’s my take on their fragile beauty.

Tom’s poem is curious and beautiful perhaps not unlike a rose in this setting …and there’s something about it that makes me want to create another completely different painting!

By Any Other Name

plum flowers bloom by the river bank
her coal-black eyebrows
her lips
sparkling red gems
in summer sunlight
now
the river flows between us
rare rose petals drift by

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

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Nectar dreaming mandala

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Nectar Dreaming (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

Have I mentioned it’s been hot here? I continue to have a rather tropical inspiration permeate my work!

Here is a magical poem from Tom …a riff on T.S. Elliot’s “Usk”.

Do not step and break the branch
where snakes slip soft
on forest floor
bright birds dip beaks but not too deep
seeking wisdom
asking more
of ancient mysteries that dwell
down the Amazon
a dell
contains the secret
in grey air
a high safe nest
a serpent’s lair

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

pink star magnolias …oil painting

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Pink star magnolia (9″ x 12″)

The residential streets here in Vancouver are all abloom with cherry blossoms and magnolias. To my eye the magnolias are almost strangely exotic in their extravagance …beautiful and ephemeral.

Tom’s poem almost magically catches that quality and that moment.

From tropic climes to temperate tropes
blooming bright, first off the mark,
before their leaves have burst with hopes
of summer sun and sultry dark
deep starry nights of beauty wild:
magnolias cast off their mild
and staid retiring winter manner
throwing out their blossom’s banners
to catch a bee or beetle’s fancy
drawing them into a tryst
while the sun drives off the mist
in morning glow like yellow tansy.
The stars of Earth shine in the trees
where magnolias catch spring’s breeze.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Spring’s crown …mandala

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Spring’s crown

A celebration of Spring! I just got a new watercolour set and may have been a little over-excited – the colours are so vibrant! Anyway, it is definitely in the spirit of the piece.

Tom’s haiku expresses its essence.

bold compact centre
buds brazenly unfolding
spring’s bright laurel crown

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

spring is cherry blossoms …oil painting

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spring is cherry blossoms!

A small painting before Easter weekend to celebrate this long, slow Vancouver spring. It may be cooler than usual but that sure makes all the blossoms last!

This is just 6″x6″. The size is fun for quick studies and experiments – very freeing! This painting is based on a friend’s photo that she graciously let me use as inspiration. Thanks Claire!

Tom wrote a quirky haiku to go with these Taiwanese cherry blossoms. 🙂

foreshortened phloem
flower’s fragrant fabric
fine filigreed fire

painting (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe

peonies pink and white …oil painting

peonies pink and white
peonies pink and white

I have started up oil painting again – yay! I have done three very small (6″x6″) paintings for an online painting course – Once Upon a Time in Provence with Dreama Perry. I can’t recommend her courses enough – so much inspiration! I will not be posting the paintings I am doing as part of the course and following her instructional videos as they are her copyrighted material in terms of composition, method etc. However, as I go along, I will post other pieces I am doing.

This is a 9×12 oil on gesso board of two peonies in a blue jar using the alla prima method where oil paint is layered wet on wet in a single session. Here the challenges I was focused on were painting the white peony using a subtle variety of colours for the shadows and getting a pleasing effect of transparency and shine for the glass jar.

Tom’s poem to go with this one is a little melancholy but reminds us to see beauty and love life in the moment.

so pretty on the table in the sun
warming up the lonely room with colour
pushing back the shadows and the dun
dreary dullness in the days of dolour
a bright reminder of more happy times
living beauty grown in fertile soil
giving pleasure as the churchbell chimes
calling mourners all to gentle toil
remembering the layered past beyond
this circled sadness of the present instant
skipping stones across a summer pond
listening to the loon in purple distance
a momentary beauty still in life
bringing solace in the midst of strife

painting (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe