A bowl of eggs

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A bowl of eggs (8″x 8″oil on archival raised gessoed panel)

They must be raising some pretty fancy chickens locally because these were the latest eggs we bought. The colours are as shown so yes, muted tones of pink, blue, green, yellow, oh, and brown – although we’ve all seen those before! It was a challenge to go for those pastel shades. Maybe I’ll paint a bowl of white eggs sometime – a different kind of challenge.

In Tom’s poem he imagined different eggs, waiting to hatch.

An egg is perfect, smooth, as yet unborn,
bereft of all the cute complexity
of a hatchling, wobbly, still half-formed,
escaping from the shell’s convexity.
Ideas nascent, plans untried, their risks
untaken occupy our feathered nests,
waiting for the chipping of a brisk
relentless beak that will not take a rest
until the prisoner is free and clear
from out the egg and into clear bright air
where dangers lurk, and imperfection, fear,
are gathered ready, pouncing from their lair.
But in their imperfection chicks might rise
and live to soar in unforgiving skies.

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

Kitsilano market artichokes

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Kitsilano market artichokes (8″ x 10″ oil on canvas)

This is from a photo I took while I was living in Vancouver. There are various local markets around town and one fall day I visited one in Kitsilano – mounds and mounds of fruit and veggies to see! Artichokes combine wonderful shapes with fantastic giant flowers. What more can an artist ask for?

Here is Tom’s playful poetic piece!

Edible or beautiful
that’s the choice for artichokes:
for flowers are unsuitable
for the palate when they’ve broke
from out of inflorescences
and into excess essences
of beauty tough. It’s really not
just what you wanted when you bought
those artichokes. The market stall
was running out of produce then,
a few odd plants with hairy stems
and some artichokes, that’s all!
But if we eat the unbloomed few
the others will provide a view!

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

Market apples

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Market apples (8″ x 10″ oil on raised gessoed panel)

Everything at the market is so inspiring at this time of year! I deliberately chose the apples that still had some leaves attached – partly because then I can tell that the apples are really fresh …but mostly because I like to paint the leaves. The wooden bowl I put the apples in has an oval shape – the view is pretty much looking straight down. I painted this alla prima and had lots of fun playing with colour as usual.

Tom wrote a nostalgic feeling poem for this one.

Early mornings on the way to school
in crisp September under shifting skies
I’d pick an apple, hard and tart and cool:
a burst of flavour telling me no lies,
just flooding all my senses with its taste
and texture, scent, and colour, then the crack
of every bite in autumn silence. Haste
devoured it to the core. No looking back
upon a lonely childhood would be fair
without those moments pure and full, delight
in what the world might be, what’s waiting there
for anyone who reaches for a height.
Apples gave us knowledge, so it’s told
Apples gave me beauty, bright and bold.

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

Market Tomatoes

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Market Tomatoes (6″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

I just love fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and it is the season! Since I don’t have a garden myself, the next best thing is the local farmers’ market. It is a treat to be able to be fresh local produce …and the double treat is painting what I buy first and then eating it! 😀

Tom came up with a  fun and curious poem for this one! A possible and positive near future vision. 😉

Hot fields swelter in the sun
a quiet robot slips along
sensing each and every one:
tomatoes squeezed by gentle tongs
to judge if they are just so ripe
so as to cause bursts of delight
when by human tongue and taste
they are sampled. Not to waste
is the robot’s mission prime
as it putters down the rows
sniffing with its metal nose
so we can eat of fruit divine.
The tireless, staid machine moves on
as humans play from dusk to dawn.

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

Peach plums

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Peach-plums (6″ x 6″ oil on gessoed panel)

Fruit in the summer is endlessly pleasing both to taste (so much better that supermarket winter stuff) and to look at. I was at the market and selected the box of plums with a few leaves attached …it makes me feel closer to the tree! I put these warm yellowy-peach coloured plums in a blue bowl that made them sing. Complimentary colours don’t always get me excited but I thought this worked.

Tom’s poem is a riff on a very famous 20th C American poem by William Carlos Williams. If you don’t know it, check out the link. Amusing!

You just need to hear

You have painted
the plums
that were on
the table

and which
I waited to eat
until
you finished

I forgive:
they are beautiful
so bright
and so bold

https://poets.org/poem/just-say

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

Scent of fall

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Scent of fall (6″ x 8″ oil on gessoed wood cradle)

What can I say? It’s fall and so it’s time to be inspired by all the fruit that is ripe and delicious right now. Pears have such a beautiful form and playing with colour within that shape was a pleasure.

I love how Tom’s poem combines all the senses in curious ways – just right to celebrate the overwhelming sensory input of the season. (The painting’s title is taken from the poem.)

Flagrant tapestry of light
disposed upon a simple plate
gives great pleasure to the sight
beguiling those who stand and wait
for just a taste of beauty’s touch
or perfume’s lovely sound. So much
is taken, still yet more abides,
and to us now on art’s spring tides
come simple feasts for senses all
served up with synethetic flair
that melds the mind with plate and pairs
sweet voice with the scents of fall:
a smorgasbord of pure delight
to lift our fancy in its flight.

(Tom says: Note Tennyson reference in “much is taken, much abides”.)

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

Apple three ways

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Apple three ways (8″ x 18″ oil on canvas)

I was recently playing around with some impressionist painting techniques. I used as a starting point a fun youtube video by Ann Feldman. She illustrates six techniques so I picked and blended and generally had fun with it. It was good to reinforce some lessons I don’t always think about while I’m painting …or maybe it was more that I was being deliberate and more intentional about how I used the techniques. In any case, a fun and educational afternoon!

Tom found inspiration in the painting for another of his amazing and fresh poems!

Apple is as apple does:
the eye of the beholder
adds a wisp of artist-love
and brings to life a bolder

vision of what might be real
behind perception’s veil
seeing deeply what we feel
as mere awareness fails

to grasp the essence of the world
in all its mystery hidden
delving down as we are hurled
past barriers forbidden

into the aspects, affine, strange
that move upon the surface
hinting at a deeper range
revealing higher purpose.

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

Apples on a pedestal …oil painting

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Apples on a pedestal (9″ x 12″)

More apples. This time there was more space to breathe around the subject and the footed bowl and background became an important part of the composition. The colours and pattern of the background looked good in my minds eye and were a pleasure to paint. The piece came together really smoothly.

Tom’s poem approaches the subject from another viewpoint compared to the previous apple poem …another kind of knowledge. Once again it seems just right for the painting!

Upon a pedestal ensconced
above a blue tabula rasa
just waiting for some renaissance
artiste, who from forbidden Lhasa,
high in Himalayan climes,
has walked the paths and learned the rhymes
of gurus old and lamas young
until she knows what’s wrought or wrung
from patterns cast upon the wall
of Plato’s cave are hardly all
that we can know when truth is sung:
for the artist sees the deep
where hidden knowledge lurks and leaps.

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer

poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Joy’s apples …oil painting

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Joy’s apples (6″x6″)

Sometimes, the paint and the brush and the moment all come together …a joyful afternoon of painting!

Tom’s poem takes an interesting turn – a meditation on the role of apples in the enlightenment? I love it!

These golden apples in the sun
fallen from the rooted branch
by the force of Newton spun
into a tale, an avalanche
of strange insight to the world
while through vasty depths we’re hurled
by gravity, momentum too
lifted up by mighty thews
of mystery: the apple’s fall
set in motion worlds and more
dancing ‘cross the spinning floor
led by giants, standing tall.
An apple drops in autumn light
and banishes the endless night.

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

three cherries and two lemons …oil paintings

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three cherries (6″ x 6″)

There is something so appealing about painting fruit! They have clear volumes, interesting textures and beautiful colours!

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two lemons (6″ x 8″)

I am currently taking an online painting course …well it’s more than just a painting course. There’s so much to keep one inspired and creating I can’t recommend the courses enough! The two above paintings were created from photos that were included in the course materials. It’s time for me to do more of my own still life setups …just waiting for some nice sunshine for the lighting. In the meantime, these were so much fun to paint! Thank you Timeless Tuscany!

Here is Tom’s humorous poetic take on the idea of still life painting!

Lemons, cherries, on a cloth
resting for the artist’s eye
where by picnickers they’re tossed
to catch a painter on the sly
and lure them into to contemplation
of how to make the saturation
of the colours right and true:
of red that’s red and blue that’s blue.
Still they lie and still they are
placed in textured composition
vying for the best position
looking good from near and far.
Beauty’s mystery revealed
by all that’s opened, all that’s sealed.

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