During my studio tour a few weeks ago, someone found this nest as they were crossing the front yard and brought it to me. It must have fallen from a tree long past the time when it was in use. It’s quite small so maybe the right size for a junco but I think they use some mud in construction. I am really not sure what kind of bird built this nest. So sweet and delicate with tiny feathers still attached …I had to paint it! Focusing on the weaving pattern of the fine twigs was very meditative. I placed it on my journal – I love that colour. 🙂
Here’s a painting I did back in the spring but missed posting. I was in a local shop, caught a glimpse of some of these wonderful lemons and had to take at least one home. The colour as you can see, is much oranger than regular lemons and I really enjoyed how the slices glowed in the sunlight. They are also just sweet enough to eat as is …OK pretty tangy! I also had some fun with the wave pattern Japanese plate I put the lemon pieces on.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
that were on
I waited to eat
they are beautiful
and so bold
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”.)
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.
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.