Looking Back

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Looking Back (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed wood)

An exploration of the ocean and mountains at Desolation Sound. I mentioned in a previous post about the amazing beauty there and I will no doubt continue trying to capture it. So far, I feel Tom’s lovely poem is much more evocative of this magical place.

There are no mountains, nor a sea,
nor any forests, green and deep,
but these that beckon, calling me
to pause within their sheltered keep
like a knight on olden fields
who wanders, fighting, never yields,
but battered on he travels still
seeking peace beside a rill
or stream where might a hart bound by
leaving stillness in its wake,
where the knight may bend and slake
his thirst for beauty where the sky
glows in beauty over trees
below the mountains, by the sea.

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

 

 

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Ying in the Window

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Ying in the Window (11″ x 14″ oil on linen)

Even though I put the dimensions on the images of the paintings, it is hard to tell on the screen the impact the size has on the art. This one is a bit larger than I have been working recently and so the cat is larger than life-sized. Feeling bold, I used my largest brushes and painted it alla prima in one 3 hour session. The cat is loosely painted but definitely a portrait of a specific cat and the background – an abstraction of the view out the window beyond – has a pleasing Klimt-esque quality. Sometimes, while painting there’s a feeling of ease and “rightness” – this one had that for me.

Another charming poem from Tom for this piece!

A cat upon the windowsill
all done with years of wandering,
at last a place to warmly chill
while contemplating, pondering
the biggest question of her day:
is it best to sit or lay
oneself upon a a window ledge,
or prowl around and haunt the edge
of every room where there might be
a scrap of kibble, or a slice
of bacon dropped by raiding mice
no cat seems ever quite to see?
The choice is hard, but now it’s made
and in the sunshine she is laid!

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

Self-portrait

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Self-portrait (12″x12″ oil on gessoed panel)

Well, it was time to try a self-portrait. There is a likeness and I had fun painting it so as an experiment, I am happy. Maybe I didn’t need to use every colour though – the background is extremely exuberant! 😀

Tom’s poem – written as usual on seeing the painting – surpassed it, turning out more beautiful than the painting. This is another poem that makes me want to follow up with a new painting!

A face to wake to in the morning
rising with the brimming dawn
where adventures are aborning
anywhere that light has shone.
Wryly watching all the beauty,
never shirking artist’s duty,
capturing the world’s strange ways
of being through the summer days.
She paints the beauty of the night,
nor to gaudy day denies
the magic of her loving eyes:
all the world, so clear and bright.
Those eyes that see me in the day
And in the night while firelight plays.

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

Cliffs and trees

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Cliffs and trees – 1 (4″ x 6″ watercolour postcard)

We took a trip up the coast of British Columbia this summer to a place of great beauty called Desolation Sound. Keeping in mind how many extraordinary places there are around, this was still almost unbelievable.

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Cliffs and trees – 2 (4″ x 6″ watercolour postcard)

These two little watercolours were the only paintings I did on site. I don’t know – maybe I was too busy soaking it all in but I am glad I at least I did these sketches. They do give the feeling of the sunlight and the scale of the cliffs and trees around the clove where we moored our sailboat. (Yes, I feel very lucky.)

I am sure there will be more paintings coming from memories of this trip.

As Tom’s poem so wonderfully evokes, we shared this place with many other creatures.

Stepping stones of giants climb
long pathways to the summer sky
where slow vultures dream in time
as eagles pass kingfishers by
before they circle down to land
in treetops reaching high, they stand
above the surface of the bay
where the sunlight dances, plays
with breezes blowing from the Sound.
Water ripples, calms again,
in warming depths the fishes claim
no better place was ever found.
I drift upon the waters, free
of care beneath the cliffs and trees.

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

Her

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Her (12″ x 12″ oil on gessoed panel)

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.

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

Strange hybrids

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Strange hybrids (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed cradle board)

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!

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