Brickyard Beach – Late Summer

Brickyard Beach – Late Summer (10″ x 8″ oil on stretched canvas)

Early in September I went out with my gear and found another local beauty spot. It was really hot that day! I was glad to find a bit of shade to set up in. The challenge as usual with plein air painting was to catch the light quickly – as well as the colour of the water and the shapes and locations of the clouds before everything changes. The result is less detailed but fresher and more dynamic than working from a photo.

Here is Tom’s poem which at first seems to be for another scene but wait for it – the final couplet tells the tale.

In summer gales these waters roil
as wind and tide and waves contend
for who shall make the sailor’s toil
the worst. And who shall best unmend
the flapping canvas, spliced up rope,
a bimini not made to cope
with gusts that come from angles all
around the compass. Masts might fall
as waves come in from every point.
The bow is bounced, the stern is slewed,
the sky with clouds ascudding’s strewed
as the sea tests every joint.
But in the calm it lies serene
as if those storms were never seen!

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

Twin Beaches – High Summer

Twin Beaches – High Summer (10″ x 8″ oil on canvas)

This is a plein air painting from August. The sun was high and warm reflecting back all kinds of glorious colours in the water. I captured a couple of sailboats at anchor as well as a few floating markers. The mountains of the mainland are in the distance. I have a lovely memory of the day when I look at this.

Tom wrote a thoughtful poem that speaks of times long gone the results of which still impact us today.

Upon a time a Spaniard passed this way
anchoring and sending out a brace of boats to sound
the waters all around the quiet bay
where otter, seals, and cod could still be found.
The shore was all alive with other eyes
that watched the strange great ships and wondered where
they had first tasted of sea. What skies
had witnessed their emergence from their lair?
Dark ravens cocked and turned upon the wind
Dark rhymes were brewing in the human heart
Dark beneath the summer sky the sins
of darkness drove the worlds apart.
The ships sailed on, left chaos in their wake
and broken words that promises forsake.

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

On the path to Tofino …oil painting

20180718-on-the-path-to-Tofino
On the path to Tofino (6″ x 8″)

Had the wonderful opportunity to visit the far western edge of this country recently – that is the west coast of Vancouver Island with its incredible Long Beach, charming Tofino, and amazing sunsets! We stayed at Middle Beach Lodge which was lovely. This painting was from a view along the path from the lodge to Tofino …and yes, the wild roses were blooming. The scent of the sea and rich undergrowth of the enormous cedars was a heady combination.

Here is Tom’s wonderful poetic take on this time and place.

Somewhere in the vasty distance
out across the endless sea
moving waves meet wind’s resistance
turning toward us, you and me
who stand upon this western shore
having all and wanting more
while the waves eternal kiss
sand and stone in sunlit bliss
beneath the summer flowers in bloom
whose wafting scent illuminates
our memories in days that wait
for all our yesterdays atuned
to this present joyful place
awash with waves that leave no trace.

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

today’s doodles…studies for a painting

the voyage - first colour sketch
the voyage – first colour sketch

It has been a long time since I posted anything. I haven’t been doing much digital doodling but I have been creating some studies for a painting course I started a couple of weeks ago. The course is called “Illustrative Painting” and so I am trying to establish a narrative of sorts. I have in my mind that the voyage is a metaphor for journeying into the future or even an internal journey of the mind. On describing this concept, Tom sent me this poem – within two hours!! There’s even a short version and a long version…

Elegy for a Future (short version)

The water’s kiss is soft against the blade
that cuts a careworn future from the past;
irrevocable, now the choice is made
to cross the Rubicon and finally cast

a glance ahead: there awaits the shore,
warm coastal waters leading ever on
toward mystery and landscapes to explore
beneath the golden light of other dawns.

Elegy for a Future (long version)

The water’s kiss is soft against the blade
that cuts a careworn future from the past;
irrevocable, now the choice is made
to cross the Rubicon and finally cast

a course into the beckoning unknown
where distant shores, intriguing inlets, wait
for a bold explorer, all alone,
in search of other futures, taunting Fate

while mourning for a life that might have been
in another universe and time,
a different incarnation in between
Tartarus and Nirvana’s distant climes.

That perfect future lies unsullied now
by compromises, awkwardness and pain;
in memory, reclining ‘neath a bough
sipping on a julep with a swain:

an ideal match in all respects, and fair,
in the heaven where such spirits dwell
beyond the reach of merely worldly cares
for heaven means there is no chance of hell.

But now ahead there awaits the shore,
warm coastal waters leading ever on
toward mystery and landscapes to explore
beneath the golden light of other dawns.

There is no destined end or certain truth
that’s final, fixed, unchanging: all that lives
will wend its way toward age from simple youth;
though much is taken, there’s still much to give

unto the years of life that lie ahead
upon this journey toward the Happy Isles,
letting go of Clotho’s tangled thread
and facing toward new futures with a smile.

poetry (c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe

The image of “letting go of Clotho’s tangled thread” in the last stanza caught my imagination – Clotho being one of the Fates in charge of weaving human lives. After I read that I did some more quick sketching.

the voyage - pencil study
the voyage – pencil study

Now the figure is at the moment of departure – just about to let go of the rope. There are more ropes heaped up on the dock – the “tangled threads”. Then I went to the next class and produced the following two studies (among others) – the second shows the teacher’s (Charles Vinh) input – turning the figure towards the viewer.

the voyage - colour study
the voyage – colour study

The ink sketch was done during class before discussing the figure position with the teacher. I added some colour later at home.

the voyage - tonal study
the voyage – tonal study

Here I am trying to establish an interesting balance between tones in the painting, drawing the eye towards the figure.

The next step is to consider the figure in detail with lighting, clothing etc. Next post!

sketches (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

Baie Saint-Paul inspired doodle…

Bay doodle
Bay doodle

reflected mountain
green dragon ripples over
cloud-flecked blue water

This doodle is not a portrait of the Bay… more just a feeling… an impression , one could say 🙂 I visited this beautiful place in Quebec last weekend with friends.

Today I am experimenting with blogging directly from my iPad mini… hence the short text.

UPDATE: Haiku from Tom. See above!
Haiku (c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe

(cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

Drunaïs by moonlight…

"what have I done now?!"

At about the same time as Marlowe (last post) is contemplating his problems, Dru is somewhere else with problems of her own. I thought it was about time I showed our heroine… Decided to just show a suggestion of the background. I hope you can tell she’s on a ship.

UPDATE: In from Tom – new poem!

It seemed like such a fine idea
to cut the cable, setting free
this ship of fools, like wise Sophia
teaching him a lesson, see!
The deed is done, though now I wonder
if in my haste to steal his thunder
by leaving him marooned alone
I’m not mistaken in my tone?
Perhaps if I’d been less reproaching,
not let his people’s ways be mine–
though in my anger it seemed fine–
I wouldn’t now these doubts be broaching.
Now what’s that bumping on the hull!?
A bear, a duck, a wayward gull?

Copyright (C) 2012 TJ Radcliffe

image (cc) 2012 Hilary Farmer

Rothgar!

rarrhh!

Is that how you spell rarrhh?? hmmm
I have been doing a lot of drawing for Songs of Albion so when I decided to do a quick random doodle for the blog, it turned out to be an Albion character – Rothgar the seabear and oracle! We are trying to keep a reasonable buffer so what I am currently drawing won’t be seen on Albion for a couple months – we’ll see how long we can keep this up! All that to say, you may have to wait a bit for more scenes with Rothgar…

UPDATE:I love this new poem from Tom! Check out the original TS Eliot – The Hollow Men – out if you’re not familiar. I especially like Rothgar’s take on the final line! (and it answers the question of the spelling – there’s just one h in rarrh lol)

I am the hollow bear
Whispering of secrets
Waves without waving
Force without motion

My voice alone speaks
Deep the world’s singing
In the name of the wind

This is the living sea
This is the green water
Here the wave’s portraits
Self-painted on sand
Are raised, here they recede
Under the shining sun
I walk alone
Through evening dew and morning mist
Across the sand, across the stone

This is the vision
This healing balm of mystery
What cannot be riven
The knowledge from the knower

Between the act
and the fact
Between the wolf
and the pack
Falls the Shadow
This is the way the world begins
This is the way the world begins
This is the way the world begins
Not with a Bang but a RARRH!

(c) Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

sitting on the shore…

a quiet chat...

I just prepared this drawing for Songs of Albion but thought it would be nice for my blog too! Trying to create a certain kind of atmosphere is sometimes easier in black and white – or actually in this case, shades of grey.
I just saw the new comic for ExtraOrdinary – also in shades or grey. It’s very cool – make sure you move your mouse over the picture for some neat effects!

UPDATE: Thanks to Tom for this lovely evocative sonnet to accompany my image.

Charcoal twilight shadows sketched upon
the canvas sky illume a private tryst
between the silent hour before the Dawn
and the Dusk that lurks behind the mist
at day’s long close. A silent hawk swoops by
while Dusk and Dawn exchange a midnight word
beneath the Northern Summer’s peaceful sky,
a fleeting touch that’s been so long deferred.
They speak the tongues of twilight, voices soft
for sharing secrets commonplace and rare:
just where the Night goes hiding when the waft
of Summer comes to rule the Arctic air.
And when at last they’re parted by the Night
They know they’ll meet again by Austral light.

Copyright (C) 2011 TJ Radcliffe

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

o fishy fish…

just swimmin' around

A recent computer drawing I did trying to achieve a more painterly effect. For some reason I really enjoy creating underwater images even though I don’t scuba dive etc. I have snorkelled (once) and found it fascinating. Perhaps it is time to try that again!

UPDATE: New sonnet from Tom for the fish to swim by…

The blue-green waters fade away to black
Sun’s light above, eternal dark below
The tide in flood will soon be running slack
Until the ebb responds to “to” with “fro”.
Between the light and dark, the flood and ebb
Long kelpen fronds embrace the living sea
Deep in their midst the fishes lurk, the web
of Ocean catches them and sets them free.
They serve no master, make no war or cause
Just swim along through Ocean’s lighted pasture
Tigers of the sea bereft of claws
Riding tides twixt triumph and disaster.
Behold the fish in all its fishy ways
Living life in peaceful sunlit days.

Copyright (C) 2011 TJ Radcliffe

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer


Sea bear – close-up!

raaaahr...um delicious!

Sorry, I am not posting very often this summer. As I mentioned before, a lot of my spare time is going into Songs of Albion and random doodles are happening less often. So today I decided to post one of my recent favourites from the images that have gone up with the story so far… and here is the poem that accompanies it there by Tom Radcliffe – a whimsical take on a famous T.S. Eliot poetic segment.

Rothgar the Seabear, a fortnight famished
Forgot the cry of gulls and the deep sea swell
and the penguins and the whales.
A current under the ship
Swept her along in silence. As she rose and fell
She rubbed her back upon the barnacles of Hull
Entering the vortices.
Human or bear
O you who grip the rudder and gnaw the stern-post,
Consider Rothgar, who thinks it tastes like chicken.

(c) 2011 Tom Radcliffe

image (cc) 2011 Hilary Farmer

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the original poem segment by TS Eliot Death by Water from The Wasteland. As suggested in the comments, it is even more amusing to read them one after the other!