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

From the boardwalk

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From the boardwalk (8″ x 10″ oil on raised gessoed panel)

I am feeling really inspired right now by what I am calling “wetscapes”. This time of year, at least here on the West coast, the ditches are full of rain water and the marshes are overflowing with water and happy ducks, frogs and other signs of spring life. New green grasses are starting to push up through last fall’s dried out stems and dainty sprigs of trailing plants lightly touch the water. Add to that, the reflections, shadows and transparency of the water itself and I could keep on this theme for some time!

Here is Tom’s wonderful poem which parallels the painting so perfectly!

Brightness, darkness, falling both
softly from the spring-time air
teasing dormant life to growth
turning green the golden hair
of grasses dried and brittle now
to the Pleiades they bow
in thanks for rain, which brings new life
to pools and ditches, dark and rife
with strange concoctions, shadowed roots,
tendrils fine exploring through
the muddy depths to find a new
embankment where they push up shoots.
Brightness falls, the rains of spring
Closing now the season’s ring.

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

Winter ditch

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Winter ditch (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Maybe it comes from my days working in architecture, but I enjoy looking at things in “plan view” (straight down). And recently, the beauty of the minutia we usually ignore right at our feet is drawing me in. There is so much life and colour there, once I stop to really look. The summers here get quite warm and very dry so I’m enjoying the rain and wet …well most of the time!

Here’s Tom’s haiku to go with this painting. 🙂

living rill feeds green
ripe grasses catching sunlight
ditch runs with spring rain

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

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