La Bee en Rose

La Bee en Rose (4″ x 4″ oil on raised panel)

The last in this series of mini paintings celebrating small creatures. Sorry (not sorry) about the title! I find the bilingual pun amusing. 😀

I love sweet fuzzy bumble bees and this one is definitely getting all the pollen from the rose that’s possible. It’s a bit hard to remember the warm sunny weather we were having when I painted this one with the November rain pounding down overhead …but looking at this small painting does bring back that summer feeling.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Rose Sunset

Rose Sunset (8″ x 10″ oil on Arches Oil Paper)

This is another in my “Skyflowers” series. Having so much fun with this. It’s whimsical and there are so many ways to play with the idea. Here I really like the cascade of roses transforming from cooler to warmer depending on how the sunset would affect them.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

June Blooms

June Blooms (8″ x 10″ oil on linen)

Fun with colour and flowers! Another view from a friend’s garden this summer. This one was painted in the studio from photo references rather than plein air though. I enjoyed getting into the textures and depths as well as letting the buds dissolve into the sky.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Margaret’s Garden

Margaret’s Garden (8″x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Another lovely day in late June spent painting a garden. I was so pleased to be able to create this piece which ended up having quite a personal resonance for the owner.

Margaret’s Garden (Setup)

And here is the setup in the strong sunshine we had that day.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my plein air set up? It’s a Coulter Easel, and I have been using it for a couple of years now both for plein air and often (at least for smaller paintings) in the studio too. It is compact and very ergonomic with the palette and painting held at the perfect heights for working …and in cases like this with sloped ground, it is very easy to adjust a leg of the tripod to compensate for the terrain.

images (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Jane’s Garden May

Jane’s Garden May (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Back to plein air painting. I have a friend who lives quite close by and has a most delightful garden. I painted there three times this summer and each time it was a different kind of treat. In May, the peonies, roses and irises were showing all their bounty. So lush and joyful.

Jane’s Garden May plein air setup

images (c) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Wind. Flower.

Wind. Flower. (24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas)
Wind. Flower. (Detail lower left corner)
Wind. Flower. (Detail upper left corner)
Wind. Flower. (Detail upper right)

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.

image (c) 2021 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2021 TJ Radcliffe

Wind Flower

Wind Flower (24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas)

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

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

White garden roses

White garden roses (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I do love flowers in their natural setting more than those in a vase. This is a study in white playing with the warm and cool tones to give a natural play of light and shadow on the petals.

Tom wrote a haiku for this one that captures the essence of the moment.

delicate scent wafts
petals open to the sun
summer afternoon

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Close embrace

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Close embrace (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

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

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe

Rose fantasia

20200204-rose-fantasia
Rose fantasia (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

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.

image (c) 2020 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2020 TJ Radcliffe