Queen Elizabeth I…

Her Majesty...

I am trying out some stylistic alternatives using a highly recognizable historical figure as a model… Queen Elizabeth the First was really quite an interesting character and she had to be pretty tough to keep her throne – and her head! This study also happens to be background work for the alternate-history-fantasy-graphic-novel that I am working on with Tom Radcliffe. It is not yet ready to spring upon the unsuspecting world – but we’re working on it!!

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

UPDATE: New poem in from Tom – see comments for further commentary!

Although this body is a woman’s–weak–
It has the heart and stomach of a king:
A King of England, too. So please do speak
Of all the dangers Rome and Spain will bring
Unto the watered borders of my realm
All girded round by Neptune’s ramparts tall;
A Grand Armada soon will turn its helm
To batter down our Oceanic walls
But though I’m not like Boudicca arrayed
With armoured chariot and iron shield
For God’s true strength I’ve long and chastely prayed;
While England stands her Queen will never yield.
Let come the Spaniard in his ships of war
Let England stand for now and ever-more.

Copyright (C) 2011 Tom Radcliffe


more thinking

Laozi as a youngish man – usually he is portrayed as very old…

Here is a short chapter (44) from the Taoteching as translated by Red Pine. (I really enjoy his version which includes historical commentaries alongside the text.)

Which is more vital
fame or health
which is more precious
health or riches
which is more harmful
loss or gain
the deeper the love
the higher the cost
the bigger the treasure
the greater the loss
who knows contentment
suffers no shame
who knows restraint
encounters no trouble
and thus lives long

名 與 身 孰 親 。
身 與 貨 孰 多 。
得 與 亡 孰 病 。
甚 愛 必 大 費 ﹔
多 藏 必 厚 亡 。
故 知 足 不 辱 ,
知 止 不 殆 ,
可 以 長 久 。

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

the flamenco dancer…


I did this painting recently during a figure painting class. Mostly we worked with nudes but this pose was with a costumed flamenco dancer. Here’s a link to a painting by the teacher, Charles Vinh, which was up in the gallery when we were taking the class… It was good to get instruction on painting on canvas – mostly I’ve worked on paper before… or on the computer, of course!

image (cc) 2010 Hilary Farmer

today’s doodle… the blue chef’s hat

happy chef
happy chef

Since I drew a girl in a red chef’s hat some time ago, a friend back in Taiwan has wanted me to do her portrait in a similar hat. Unfortunately, I am not good at portraiture and so the result looks like her only in the most general sort of way… besides, with the hat on, I had to show her hair tied back – flying all around like usual didn’t seem to have the right feeling with the hat! … so maybe that’s why it looks more like an older sister at best – oh well!

image (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer

today’s doodle – studying…


Here’s a little doodle I did – a portrait of sorts.

Well, it has been a busy few days and not likely to get much less busy for the next while! I will be taking a break from posting on the blog for the next two weeks and hope to have lots of new doodles to share starting up again after that!

It’s finally feeling like summer so enjoy… and for a change try a Taiwan bubble tea. One of my favourite flavours is the simple green tea – “lu cha”. The bubbles or “pearls” are large large tapioca beads. When served cold, the whole is delicious and refreshing in this kind of weather.

My Issa’s cat comic “My Fish!” has been posted as “Mon Poisson!” on Le 12!

Image (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer


the cause of all those sonnets?
the cause of all those sonnets...

Time for another plug for the Sonneteer. This time the illustration is Adelia, the focus of all those sonnets! She is a mix of qualities and it took me a few tries to come up with an imaginary portrait that I was happy with – and that TJ was also satisfied represented her tom-boyish beauty. Here’s the latest sonnet which speaks to Adelia’s looks…

You’ve made a few remarks about your looks
that seem to me at odds with simple fact
so I’ll enumerate a little book
of features that delight me, front to back:
Your short-cut curls of gold, your honey skin,
your wide-set eyes of deepest, clearest blue,
your strong, athletic and so lithesome limbs,
your balanced form, symmetrical and true.
It would be pointless to essay compare
with summer’s days or other abstract concepts;
your beauty is a concrete thing, so rare,
a balance of so many lovely percepts.
Yet still the whole is more than each small part
You soul brings unity to nature’s art.

sonnet (c) 2009 Tom Radcliffe

Romance aside, the sonnets are managing to comment on politics, history and pure science at a rate almost unbelievable given the restrictions of the medium. So if you find any of the above intriguing, check it out – most enlightening!

image (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer

the Sonneteer…

Will - the character behind the sonnets

Today’s post is a plug for a friend, Tom Radcliffe’s new blog – he’s trying something pretty unusual… he’s telling a story all in sonnet form. It’s set on a university campus thus far following the travails of one would-be scholar and poet (Will) as he tries to sway the one who has caught his fancy with verse. Keeping a narrative going in sonnet form seems quite the challenge to me. So far I’m enjoying the development of the story line and the quirks and details in the sonnets. So check out the Sonneteer. I’m sure you’ll find it intriguing and amusing.

There are a few main characters in the story. To start with I decided to illustrate my idea of what the central character Will might look like. He’s a sonnet-writing, Shakespeare-studying physicist… wherever could this idea have come from! lol

image (cc) 2009 Hilary Farmer