Tulips

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Tulips (20″x 20″) oil on canvas

This larger tulip painting doesn’t look much like the study posted previously but I think they each have different things going for them. I especially enjoy the undulating leaves in the foreground in this one.

Here is Tom’s haiku written for this painting. As he said – “Small poem for a large painting! They seem innocent and open, but the wood behind…”

pink, red, open, closed…
tulip blossoms greet spring sun
keeping no secrets

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

Fairy slippers

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Fairy slippers (6″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

Here’s a quick little watercolour with some ink line-work from my sketchbook of some local wildflowers. They are so sweet – a type of orchid looking like Lady slippers but much smaller – hence the name. The whole plant is only about 4″ tall.

Here is Tom’s playful poem reminding us to enjoy life …and get outside when you can! 🙂

Psst! Hey! Let me tell you now
we’ve gotta stick together!
Come in closer, head’s abow,
now here’s the gossip… whether
there will be rain or sun or what
no one is really sure today
so be prepared for dearth or glut
and listen up, hear what I say:
This life is short, and blooming ain’t
the biggest thing you’ll ever do
so don’t be living like a saint!
It’s time to have a blast! Go to!
Enjoy this season as it runs
Enjoy the warm and loving sun!

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

Camellia

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Camellia study (approx. 5″ x 5″ watercolour on paper)

Last fall we did some planting to bring some colour and variation to our property – and so I’d have some flowers to paint! One of the things we put in was a pink camellia. It was covered in pink buds but not all of them survived the cold spring we’ve had. Anyway, some flowers did come out fully – so pretty.  I did this watercolour study for an oil painting and then ended up liking the watercolour better. That can happen.

Tom wrote another amazing poem for this.  Here’s what he said about writing the poem. “I started with the image of the flower as a dancer–can you see her?–and moved to contrast it with soldiers standing, and then Vimy came out of somewhere and I checked the date and it’s 103 years since Easter, 1917, when the battle was fought.
The poem wanted to end after two quatrains. Something to do with short
lives. So this poem is dedicated to them.”

In delicate extravagance arrayed
with gauzy robes that flutter in the airs
dancing through the serried rank’s parade
to music never heard by anywhere
or anyone commanded to march along,
to charge in line-abreast up on a ridge
toward enemies demanded. There’s a song
that only breezes hear, across the bridge
that links the worlds. The silent ranks of stone
are corridors where flowers dance, alone.

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

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

Tangled garden

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Tangled garden (11″ x 14″ oil on raised panel)

This chaotic tangle of flowers reminded me of a country garden run wild. There’s just a hint of a fence or a shed and I really like how the blooms dissolve into the sky.

A lovely whimsical poem from Tom for this one.

It’s not just anyone we wear
these bright summer colours for,
but only you, we truly swear,
who’ve come to see us by the door
of this old shack where once there lived
a hermit. He had much to give
but kept it all for only us:
he planted, tended, went to dust.
So now we’re all that still remains
in memory of one whose will
was loneliness and life fulfilled
by solitude and gentle rains.
So only those whose hearts surrender,
to this place may see our splendor.

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

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

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