I have been working on this painting (off and on) for months. I did post it once before but then after some time went by I decided to add even more layers. The overall photo doesn’t really show it well so I added some detail shots. I really do enjoy this process of building up and scraping away to reveal what’s underneath in places. It started out as a meditation on a friend’s garden I had visited and that is still there, but it dissolved and resolved into something else.
Tom wrote a deeply beautiful poem for this one.
Earth, water, air, and fire combine, combust, conflate, conspire to form the mystery of all things: the solid ground, a ghost that sings of other Edens lost to time and futures flying in their prime toward the secret, never seen. They flit and flutter, twist and lean to glimpse beyond this life’s abyss and catch a moment’s endless bliss.
This painting started life as an abstract and some elements of that are still here. However, the piece really started to develop after a visit to a friend’s beautiful garden back towards the end of August. That’s when floral elements started to show themselves. I went back and forth on this one for about a month building up layers and thinking about it before I finally decided it was finished. The title comes from the anenomes that are on the right side which are sometimes called “windflower” and as well, the feeling of a breeze drifting through the petals of all the sunlit flowers.
Here is Tom’s lovely haiku which captures the scene so succinctly.
dawn over garden summer world in soft dissolve through the morning mist
Another abstract piece where I followed the flow of the paint and what the piece seemed to want. My title came to me as the painting was coming close to completion. I was getting the feeling of being hugged as a child by elderly great aunts – all talcum powder and feathers …I didn’t actually have any great aunts like that – just imagining them!
It was really interesting to see how radically different Tom’s vision of the painting is. It’s a reminder how much variation there can be in what people see in abstract paintings.
staccato atmospheric draws
along the stormy front
clouds reach out with questing paws
tornadoes kick with blunt
hard feet of air the hunkered ground
that rises in response
striking back with lightning bound
in power strong it flaunts
its permanence despite the storm
that claws its native soil
for earth abides though it be torn
so patient in its toil
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.
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
sparkling red gems
in summer sunlight
the river flows between us
rare rose petals drift by
I guess I’ve had spirals on my mind lately and this is how they expressed themselves this time! The tulips are the feathery double-petaled type and so look like pink and yellow roses.
Tom wrote this gorgeous poem. I guess he saw roses too!
Beneath the bending swirls of sky
the roses blouse in bending breeze
while the universe goes by
in a silent twirling frieze
of galaxies linked by the tides
of gravity while Earth abides
alone in all the cosmic splendor
and yet unwilling to surrender
to the cold equations of
the empty sky and sterile stars
that twinkle brightly from afar
knowing neither loss nor love.
Beneath the stars in careless flight
Flowers grow against the night
Recently, I have been finding inspiration in unusual places – such as William Morris wallpaper. The patterns can be mesmerizing. I was looking at one before I painted this and while there is something of the underlying structure there, the painting quickly took over with its own voice.
For a painting that looks so light and airy, Tom found a dark side to explore in his poem.
When the guns have fallen still
no missiles scream across the sky
then will flowers cross the sill
and go in search of reasons why
through all the empty world’s expanse
where no lovers meet nor glance
in secret trysts or wedding bands
across the burned and barren lands
over oceans, through the air
around the world and back again
from pole to pole through all terrain
but finding no good reasons there.
No reasons will the future yield
While flowers blow in empty fields.
I find some flowers especially challenging to paint and roses are one of those! Here I tried something more experimental with colour and paint application.
Since these are single-petaled roses, they were not the same challenge as with the regular double-petaled type. I love old-fashioned single-petaled roses. They have a sweet simplicity and usually an amazing scent.
Tom’s wonderful sonnet started by channeling Shakespeare and then quickly went off all his own way!
A rose by any name at all
would still delight a poet’s nose
by putting out its scented call,
to blossom bright and be his Muse.
A simple burst of complex colour
pink and red and maybe yellow
dancing in the foliage
sans pluie et sans la neige:
spring’s eternal budding flower
thorny-sharp and softly scented
in the winter much lamented
for its deep entrancing power.
A rose by any other name
Would still set our hearts aflame.