Sea Girt View

Sea Girt View (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

A last plein air from this past summer. As you can see, another gorgeous day, sunny and a bit breezy out in the bay. This view takes in Entrance Island and the mainland to the east. In the foreground some of the curious and fascinating limestone formations that are a common sight here.

Sea Girt View (Setup with under-painting)

Here’s my setup with the under-painting layer already done. In the photograph it’s harder to see the island and distant mountains than was actually the case. You can get a good idea of the rolling limestone “dunes” with embedded limestone rocks though. I’ve been a bit intimidated about trying to capture these formations but I think it turned out quite well!

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Queen Anne’s Meadow

Queen Anne’s Meadow (16″ x 20″ oil on canvas)

This is the next in my “Skyflowers” series inspired by the southern Ontario farmland I grew up around and the late summer wildflower Queen Anne’s Lace. Here the clouds are both puffy cumulus and wildflowers. Have you ever noticed that most Queen Anne’s Lace have one tiny flower in the middle that’s red or purple? Of course they are mostly clusters of tiny white flowers so they work well as clouds, I think.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Summer Heat

Summer Heat (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

This is another of my plein air from this past summer. It was August and although the “heat dome” had passed, it was still very warm that day. So the title reflects the time of year and the heat as well as the wonderful red-orange of the cascading crocosmia. This view could only be painted while I was standing in the direct sunshine so I had to take breaks in the shade every 15 or 20 minutes. Well worth the experience …and I can still feel the heat when I look at this one.

image (C) 2021 Hilary Farmer

Lily-pond

Lily-pond (12″ x 12″ oil on canvas)

I painted this one for a specific local show which isn’t until January but I wanted to make sure it would be dry in lots of time for varnishing. All the paintings in the show will be the same format (12″ x 12″) and the same price but all different styles and subjects. I really hope mine appeals to someone …who doesn’t like waterlilies, right?!

Tom wrote a poem for this one about the power of illusions.

Some days I think that I could walk across
the mirror-surface of this lily-pond
stepping on the stones of green and gloss
all my weight supported by the fronds
of floating pads. Their vines are columns, stone
could not provide as much support or strength
as their living sinews, summer-grown
from roots and stems, prodigious in length.
Could I not walk on water, dance on air?
Could I not just this once defy the laws?
Could I not touch the face of one so fair?
Could I not have effect without a cause?
Some days there are illusions that have power
But none so great as one strong lily’s flower.

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

Drumbeg view – summer

Drumbeg view – Summer (8″ x 10″ oil on canvas)

Another plein air piece from July. There is a wonderful park along the ocean that I hope to paint many more times. The mood of the sky and water is different every time. This day, the tide was somewhat low showing shallow rocks extending out from shore. A leaning tree, some wave action and a calm sky complete the scene.

Tom wrote another haiku for this one encapsulating in words my memory of painting that afternoon.

somewhere to the south
beyond warm summer mists
passage to the sea

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

Shadowed paths

Shadowed paths (16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas)

This is the next in my abstract explorations. There is play with depth and texture as well as colour (of course). It makes me think of a hot end-of-summer day …but it’s cool in the woods.

Tom’s poem takes a different and perhaps darker path with references to:
[Proverbs, 4:16-17
“For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is
taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

When in the middle of my life
I found myself within a darkened wood
though lit by faerie lights that floated up
and over trees mysterious. Their shapes
were strange and unfamiliar, hung
with vines that grow the grapes from whence
a famous vintage will be pressed
yclept the wine of violence in the Book.
I do not taste them as I softly pass
along the shadowed paths that wend their way
between the gnarled trunks. I do not eat,
nor drink from rills that run between the roots
as deeper down I go. The woods are silent,
dark, and deep… You know the rest, I think,
but I pass by, upon the other side.

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

Evening sky

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Evening sky (8″ x 8″ oil on raised panel)

Another painting inspired by this past summer’s trip to Desolation Sound, a beautiful place of infinite variety.

Tom’s poem celebrates the the place, the wildlife and the light …and the experience of being there. (Note that “nightjar” is another name for a nighthawk, an insectivore that darts about in the late evening catching its dinner.)

Clouds that wander high and bright
above the forest of the night
where nightjars nest and eagles fly
beneath the ever-changing sky

over waters cold and deep
where octopi and fishes sleep
and dolphins dance while whales progress
as summer breezes soft caress

the trees and islands, rocks and sea,
where in the cove we are set free
from common care and daily grind,
easing soul and freeing mind

to wander wide and ever bright
beyond the forest of the night
where nightjars nest and eagles fly
beneath the changeless evening sky.

image (c) 2019 Hilary Farmer
poem (c0 2019 TJ Radcliffe

Summer hum

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Summer hum (11″ x 14″ oil on stretched linen)

The feeling of the warmth and sleepy yet full vitality, of a summer afternoon –  blackberry bushes alive with the sounds of bumblebees stocking up on pollen. This painting was finished just in time for my recent open studio and I was delighted at the reactions. The feeling I was trying to convey definitely made its way from eye to heart. That’s the best thing I, as an artist, can hope to achieve!

Maybe it’s the scale (the bees for example are about double life-sized) but the photo does not convey the feeling of the painting very well. That’s always a bit of a problem but for some reason, with this one there’s a bigger difference.

And here is Tom’s delightful poem which riffs on the notion of “the boys of summer”.

The bees of summer take the field
running ’round the diamond flowers
praying that the day will yield
a bounty worthy of their powers
to seek that sweet-spot in the sun
as from base to base they run
always heading back to home
to swing again and go alone
as fast as ever they can fly
gathering the crowd’s applause
who in winter’s frozen pause
will remember warmer skies.
The bees of summer never cease
while the score may still increase.

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

I’m a star, you’re a star

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I’m a star, you’re a star (oil on 6″ x 6″ raised panel)

While I find these tidal pool creatures fascinating and beautiful, there is also something strange and improbable about them. Technically, I was trying to get the sense of the sunlight using glints of bright colours. Definitely fun to paint!

Tom’s poetic take on the subject is a playful spin on a childhood rhyme.

When you wish upon a star
be careful of your wish’s aim:
a ball of gas, quite hot and far,
or something else that shares its name?
For an echinoderm will not
grant the wish that you have got
nor will it listen to appeals
from a human. All your feels
are as nothing to a fish
of the starry ocean kind
which may leave you in a bind
if to it you entrust your wish!
So when you wish, wish on a sun
beneath whose light strange creatures run.

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