Spring marsh

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Spring marsh (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Continuing the “wetscape” series reveling in Spring wet places. The sun was out and so reflections, shadows and transparency were all there to be explored. Curious as well as familiar plants were on show, while the bottom mud glowed in warm tones.

Tom’s poem takes a remote – one could say alien – observer point of view …I love it!

Report from the Away Team

This planet’s flora: great variety
is found among the forests of the north
along the margins where society
has left alone some places of great worth.
The survey team was beamed down to a spot
that isn’t quite unsullied, but has been
protected from the worst of wrack and rot
that permeates so much of what is seen
in other places. Strange bold life-forms grow
in waters rich with nutrients. They are
exotic, most unusual, we know
of nothing like this, far among the stars.
To summarize: there’s something here, unique,
full clothed in beauty, which of beauty speaks.

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

Morning glory …oil painting

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Morning glory (6″ x 6″)

A huge glorious morning glory climbing on my parent’s porch railing …I was feeling like painting just one large bloom and this suited my purposes beautifully. It was curiously striped instead of being solid blue like the “heavenly blue” variety but had its own charm and I had fun playing with the composition and background.

As usual, Tom’s take on the image is beautiful in its own right! He tells me this is a standard sonnet form with a Pushkin rhyme scheme …just because.

Rosette of morning, opening to spring
proudly bearing witness to the fact
that winter’s end is definitely a thing
and summer’s pouring through the cataract
of time as warming days turn into weeks:
over the horizon Solstice peeks
through foliage entangled in the trees
and swayed by gentle summer’s zephyr-breeze.
Each day is met with petals opening wide
to all that hours of sunlight may yet bring
into the fields where climbing vines all cling
to posts and trees with nothing left to hide.
The summer brings us all to bare our all
To dance like flowers knowing not the fall.

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

Morris rose …oil painting

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Morris rose (6″ x 6″)

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.

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

 

tulips and friends …oil painting

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tulips and friends (12″ x 12″)

This abstracted floral was inspired by a photo I took on a recent visit to Victoria. What amazing gardens they have at this time of year! …well from now until September really. Great gardening climate. As you can likely tell by looking at it, I took a lot of liberties painting very loosely and feeling free with it. An impression of something can feel even more real than a photograph in some ways and that’s what I am working on achieving.

Tom has written a sonnet for this one that gives more scope for thought!

This riotous intensity of life
this flowing force of beauty growing tall
this moment of reality, a slice
of time: this Garden does not fail or fall
but bursts forthright upon the worldly stage
to teach the innocent, unlearn the sage
arrest a glance and free the troubled mind
overwhelm the proud, reward the kind.
This Garden waits for all who wander lost
across the empty spaces, forests, fields,
searching for the treasure that time yields
although their lives be rough and tempest tost.
Not somewhere after death is our reward
but here and now in beauty’s soft accord.

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

Summer nights …oil painting

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Summer nights (6″ x 8″)

I was happy to get back to the easel after being out of town for a few days. This is another in my abstracted botanical-fantasy series.

I love Tom’s sonnet for this one …and I’m seeing my own painting with fresh eyes after reading it! (The painting’s title comes from the last line.)

The leaves of night unfold behind
the sunshine of this summer’s day:
beyond blue sky the stars await…
when evening comes they’ll have their say
on matters deep and manners mild;
on things domestic, also wild;
on blossoms speaking truth to power
gently swaying in their bower
reminding Night of Day’s domain
for starlight is but Day afar
on other worlds ’round distant stars
where damsels woo their swains.
Balanced ‘tween the dark and light
Bright flowers bloom on summer nights.

roses …two oil paintings

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rose and buds (6″ x 6″)

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.

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old-fashioned beauty (6″ x 6″)

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.

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

happy daisy mandala…

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happy daisy!

Water colour has transformed the black and white mandala. There are so many ways this could be done that sometimes it is hard to choose but this time, the colour palette and rendering of the single large flower behind the drawing was in my mind from the beginning …a carefree feeling of summer meadows.

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happy daisy – detail

In colour, it is much easier to see the dainty hoverflies. While mimicking the appearance of bees for self-protection, they are stingless. To give an idea of scale, the overall mandala is 8″ in diameter so the yellow centre with all the intricate details is less than 3″ across and the hoverfly is about 1/4″ long which is about full scale – although they do vary in size by species.

Here is Tom’s new sonnet for the colour version. Wonderful!

find the flower soft within the flower
rising moon behind the open fields
where the nightingale sings o’re the bower
of his lover, dreaming as she yields
to seductive songs of other climes:
promises of joy complete, fulfilled
by the long result of flowing time
down the river, through the hollow hills
where ancient magics deep within the Earth
stir, arise from endless eon’s sleep,
go whispering along the banks in mirth
a spell is spoke, a promise made to keep
Beneath the moon two lovers eyes alight
Upon each other, daisies in the night

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe