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.
There is beauty all around including in the details of the various plants in the under-story of the West Coast woods. For example, here is the shiny green of salal leaves and the brilliant red of the Oregon grape leaves at this time of year. I had fun painting this – such bold, natural complementary colours!
Tom’s wonderful poem puts this tiny detail into a much bigger context of space and time.
The tangled under-story dwells
above dark earth, the ground’s foundation:
listen to the tale it tells
while the wind’s damp susurration
passes by on raven’s wings.
All around us voices sing
of elder days, when on this ground
no human footprint could be found.
The under-story still remembers
life alone beneath the trees
where forest gods might bend their knees
and coax new shoots from winter’s embers.
Ready always with the flame
of spring they leap to life again.
An energetic explosion of colour! These rhododendrons were glowing and backlit in a photo I took last spring. The sun was even shining through the leaves so painting it seemed like a good antidote for the dull grey days of late fall. For this painting I added Cad red to my palette – it really pops.
Tom has written lots of poems for my flower paintings by now. It’s pretty amazing that he continues to see new things and have original ideas about them to work into poems!
The limbs of planets forming
around a birthing star
glowing in the morning
turning with the bar
of dust and gas and light
that keeps the stars in line:
dying, rising, slight
against a background dark
with empty deathless night.
I was recently playing around with some impressionist painting techniques. I used as a starting point a fun youtube video by Ann Feldman. She illustrates six techniques so I picked and blended and generally had fun with it. It was good to reinforce some lessons I don’t always think about while I’m painting …or maybe it was more that I was being deliberate and more intentional about how I used the techniques. In any case, a fun and educational afternoon!
Tom found inspiration in the painting for another of his amazing and fresh poems!
Apple is as apple does:
the eye of the beholder
adds a wisp of artist-love
and brings to life a bolder
vision of what might be real
behind perception’s veil
seeing deeply what we feel
as mere awareness fails
to grasp the essence of the world
in all its mystery hidden
delving down as we are hurled
past barriers forbidden
into the aspects, affine, strange
that move upon the surface
hinting at a deeper range
revealing higher purpose.
Another in my growing series of small oil paintings of flowers. This one was inspired by pictures I took last year about this time of local flowering bushes. They looked pretty exotic to me with their shiny year round foliage and plump, juicy blooms. I am starting to get used to the different flora here but it still seems a bit strange that it’s now the beginning of spring both on the calendar and for the flowers!
Tom wrote a wonderful poem for this one!
Scarlet dresses sweep and dance
through their brief and heady turn
around the ballroom. They advance
from bud to blossom as they burn
with the blooming life of spring
careless of what summer brings.
For now the moment is their all:
to live as if no Autumn’s fall
will ever mute their colours bright.
Today they reign as princesses
whose beauty n’er diminishes
in the face of time’s swift flight.
Their glow will light all future ways
However short may be their days.