Red blooms

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Red blooms (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

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
perturbations fine

against a background dark
with empty deathless night.

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

pink rhododendrons …oil painting

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pink rhododendrons (6″ x 6″)

This is another painting inspired by a visit to a rhododendron garden a month or so ago. It was quite wonderful, colourful, and vibrant. Interestingly, although I decided to leave the bee from my reference photo out, Tom somehow saw it in the painting anyway! Those blooms were certainly inviting to the busy pollinators!

When a bee approaches fecund flowers
along a line so straight and always true
its senses buzz with subtleties and powers
that draw it where sweet blossoms bloom anew
with nectar sweet and pollen rich, inviting
a happy bee to search and find, alighting
upon the petals nearest to the anther,
pirouetting like a tiny dancer
to sweep long hairy legs that catch a load
of all that workers, queens and lazy drones
are craving most within their honeyed homes:
so eagerly she flies the homeward road
leaving far behind the sheltered grove
where blossoms bloom in red and pink and mauve.

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

Rhododendron garden …oil painting

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Rhododendron garden (16″ x 20″)

It is a crazy beautiful time of year for those who like flowers! Here on the west coast, the rhododendrons make a particularly spectacular show. Recently, we had the occasion to be in Bowen Park in Nanaimo where there is an area dedicated to these bushes. It was a riot of color. There was a wedding party there at the same time having photographs taken – I would have been worried about the flowers upstaging the bride! Anyway, this is not the exact scene as I played with the composition but was strongly inspired by that visit. This was a larger piece for me (16×20) – there was just so much to show!

Here is Tom’s lovely poetic response. I learned a new term this week “ekphrastic poetry” which is poetry particularly written in response to a piece of art. I am honoured that Tom has been regularly providing ekphrastic poetry for my art!

Variations on a theme
of colour, light, and forest shade:
rhododendrons by the stream
bloom beneath the sylvan glade
within the garden where the dark
beneath the leaves hides thrush and lark
who dart and flit and hide from view
but pause to sing a song that’s true
while the gentle breezes blow
and bees abuzz from flower to flower
take the sweet and leave the sour
then back to home and hive they go.
This patch of beauty unalloyed
brings to all a touch of joy.

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

Crow and blooms 2 …oil painting

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Crow and blooms 2 (6″ x 6″)

I had so much fun painting the first “Crow and blooms” that I decided to do another! An incredible burst of rhododendrons is gracing the neighbourhood so they form the backdrop for this crow.

Tom wrote a curious and thought-provoking poem for this crow!

I think perhaps you have assumed
too much about the world at large
so look upon the blousing blooms
and tell yourself, “I am in charge
of everything I can control
and nothing else: the dice may roll
and come up seven, eight, or two
and with that truth I’ve naught to do.”
But when the dice are finally done
then how I ride the winds of chance
or bide my time upon this branch
will be my choice, for lost or won.
For though the wind blows where it might
I will yet rule my turn of flight.

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

rhododendrons …oil painting

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rhododendrons (6″ x 6″)

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.

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