Beacon Hill wildflowers

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Beacon Hill wildflowers (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

A scene from spring in Victoria – the grasses are alive with colour from all kinds of wildflowers while the trees are still bare, waiting for more warmth. Getting all those shades of green is always a challenge and I wanted to hint at the flowers without getting into too much detail.

Tom’s lovely poem perfectly captures that feeling of early spring.

Wet warm showers of April, sweet,
fall between the sprays of light
from the spring-time sun that meets
the rain with promises so bright
they dazzle we who climb the hill
and see the flowers, wild and still
until a gusty breeze ruffs down
their cheery slapdash coloured crowns
and rocks a barren winter oak
whose branches are yet bare and free,
although a tiny bud we see
where the sap has now awoke
beneath blue skies of sun and rain
that bring the world to life again.

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

Flower of spring

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Flower of spring (11″ x 14″ oil on raised panel)

I painted this towards the end of summer. The image of these early blue spring flowers had stayed in the back of my mind for months and so I finally got around to painting them. Commonly called blue squill, they are most beautiful as a grouping …like stars scattered in the grass.

Tom’s haiku celebrates their (possible) origin.

fine flower of spring
dreams of far Siberia
beneath warmer suns

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

White star magnolias …oil painting

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White star magnolias (6″ x 6″)

More joy painting magnolias! The grey rainy weather we’ve been having is mitigated by the sight of these beautiful blooms along the streets. As with the previous magnolia painting, as well as expressing the feeling of the flowers, an important part was to imply a background while strongly simplifying the actual background that was there.

Tom’s poem reminds us of just how much we appreciate these flowers at the end of a dark and gloomy winter.

Dashing flowers in the dark
ahead of all the dull police
who would lock away the spark
that from the sky just like a thief
they’ve stolen: all the starry light
that twinkles in the winter night!
They’ve run with it into the spring
which to the poor downtrodden brings
a breath of hope to ease the pain
of dreary lives all painted grey
showing them a better way
to stand against the boring grain.
Each petal wild and yet just so:
in dark or day they brightly glow.

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

pink star magnolias …oil painting

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Pink star magnolia (9″ x 12″)

The residential streets here in Vancouver are all abloom with cherry blossoms and magnolias. To my eye the magnolias are almost strangely exotic in their extravagance …beautiful and ephemeral.

Tom’s poem almost magically catches that quality and that moment.

From tropic climes to temperate tropes
blooming bright, first off the mark,
before their leaves have burst with hopes
of summer sun and sultry dark
deep starry nights of beauty wild:
magnolias cast off their mild
and staid retiring winter manner
throwing out their blossom’s banners
to catch a bee or beetle’s fancy
drawing them into a tryst
while the sun drives off the mist
in morning glow like yellow tansy.
The stars of Earth shine in the trees
where magnolias catch spring’s breeze.

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

Spring’s crown …mandala

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Spring’s crown

A celebration of Spring! I just got a new watercolour set and may have been a little over-excited – the colours are so vibrant! Anyway, it is definitely in the spirit of the piece.

Tom’s haiku expresses its essence.

bold compact centre
buds brazenly unfolding
spring’s bright laurel crown

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

tidal pool …ink and watercolour

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tidal pool

It has only been fairly recently in my life that I have had the opportunity to spend much time near an ocean. One of the beautiful mysteries that result from the rising and lowering of the tides are the tidal pools. These pockets of water range in size and contents but even small ones usually have some signs of life and a good long stare is rewarded with a miniature darting crab, the spotting of an anemone, limpit or sea urchin. Once your eyes are in tune, a tiny world comes into focus.

Tom grew up with tidal pools so his haiku is in sync with the pool and the season.

patiently waiting
anemones and urchins
cool spring tide rises

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