These current times have me experimenting more with my art for some reason. Anyway, this is painted in acrylic which I haven’t done much with for a few years. It felt more playful and less “pressure-y” which was what I needed! And it turned out to be playful too – no surprises there! Acrylic dries so fast that if you decide a colour or shape isn’t working, you can paint over it almost right away. So different from both oils and watercolour.
Tom found inspiration for a very dynamic poem here! He adds some background information in case you’re wondering – like I did – what the heck that word means:
Thylakoids–which sound like they should be some kind of creature on
Edgar Rice Borough’s “Barsoom” (Mars)–are the structure within
chloroplasts where the light-dependent reactions that almost all life on
Earth ultimately depends on take place.
Storms of summer, raging light
crashing down as photic waves
sweep the beaches of the night
and shift dark beasts within their caves:
the sleeping thylakoids are roused
by the light in which they’re doused.
They ride the surges, open wide,
absorb the roaring solar tide
and feel some energy within
as bonds are broken and remade
within this bright and sunny glade,
a garden without sin
where simple surfaces abound
but deep beneath the truth is found.
It doesn’t quite look that wintery here yet since there isn’t any snow on the ground. But I was in the mood to paint snow so I found a photo I took last year where the snow was bending the ferns along the path and a low winter sun shone through the trees.
Crooked branches, beams of light
scatter through the cold wet air
as fleeting day yields to the night:
sun slipping back to winter’s lair.
The slushy snow beneath my boots…
they mire in mud, they skid on roots,
as cold seeps in beneath my coat
while the daylight dims, a mote
of yellow, distant, glimmering light
is all that’s left of this short day
while long before me lies the way
with miles to go before the night
has gripped the forest, cold and deep,
so I walk on, and do not sleep.
An energetic explosion of colour! These rhododendrons were glowing and backlit in a photo I took last spring. The sun was even shining through the leaves so painting it seemed like a good antidote for the dull grey days of late fall. For this painting I added Cad red to my palette – it really pops.
Tom has written lots of poems for my flower paintings by now. It’s pretty amazing that he continues to see new things and have original ideas about them to work into poems!
The limbs of planets forming
around a birthing star
glowing in the morning
turning with the bar
of dust and gas and light
that keeps the stars in line:
dying, rising, slight
against a background dark
with empty deathless night.
Here is another in this series of meditative mandalas. Again it evolved from the centre into something a bit stranger as it went along! Somehow the elderly ladies seemed right and once they were there, well they were clearly knitting the world! In Greek mythology we usually hear about the Fates weaving but Tom took this and ran with it! His poem is below followed by a short commentary.
Each within her cozy private nook
where a clicking sound is all that breaks
the silence while across the centre looks
are exchanged to judge the give and take
required to hold the world in careful balance
between the lunar turns. Each day the talents
weigh against each other, vying with
the promise of a tangle or a kiss
from the One whose rays fall bright between
as the world’s created stitch by stitch:
plaited, purled, and stockinette are switched
to form the fabric, all that’s never seen.
Behind the famous trio of the Fates
the Elder Aunties patiently await.
Apollo (whose rays fall bright between) got the Fates drunk and tricked them into allowing his friend Admetus to outlive his days. I don’t think the Elder Aunties, each assigned to a lunar month, apparently, would be best pleased.
A memory of a winter walk over “the mountain” in Montreal …the squeak of the snow underfoot and air freezing in nostrils… This view from a path in the Parc du Mont-Royal is based on a photo taken recently by a friend – thanks Elena! I love the glow of the sun rising over the St. Laurent in the distance as well as the long shadows in the foreground. I experimented with this small (6×8) painting using thicker brushstrokes of paint to capture the shimmer of light.
Once again, Tom’s words paint the scene into poetry and celebrate the moment.
fire across the winter sky
burning down the frozen hours
rising up above the lie
of snow between the wooden towers
presaging the dance to come
where the world is lost and won
by the shadow and the light
in sweeping depths, abyssal heights
embracing moments on the tide
of light that’s pouring through the trees
stirring an unmoving breeze
along the path where truth abides
between cold past and future tense
moments turning here to hence
I really loved how the quality of light and the grandeur of the sky came across with this one. This is a view of English Bay from around Kitsilano Beach. I took some liberties with the colours enhancing them to give the feeling of that glorious sky.
Tom’s poem paints the scene with words.
as above, so too below
waters burnished by the glow
of golden sunset falling down
wreathing islands with a crown
of cloud and light as evening falls
while some distant seagull calls
across the waters calm and deep
where the day in silence sleeps
We were walking along the shore in Kitsilano a week or so ago and were treated to a spectacular sky with the sun starting to set and gaps in the clouds allowing light to stream through. I didn’t take a picture at that time but the image stuck in my head so that when I went back more recently I took some photos with the idea of combining photos and memory into a painting. As a result this small (6″x6″) painting is a somewhat imaginary landscape which is English Bay but not from an exact viewpoint. I plan to return to this – there are so many ways it could be painted!
Tom wrote a lovely poem for this painting which catches the mood and essence of the piece in just a few words.
Sky of promise
Touching quiet sea
Held within the ragged arms of land
Reaching out to me
Falling from the air into my hand
image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe
The focus here was to achieve the feeling of a sunlit day in Provence – the dance of the dappled light and the happy flowers below the window.
Tom’s sonnet for this painting imagines being behind that window. Lovely!
Light among the shadows hiding darkness
behind the glass transparent where the room
is cool with dappled dimness as the summer
day ascends and banishes the gloom
from secret places dark within the house
dust motes dance across the beams so bright
roses tap against the window panes
holding up a handful more of light
inviting out the occupants to day:
“Come into the warmth of welcome summer!”
call the flowers now in happy song
marching to the season’s swaying drummer.
Day is dancing, dappling the walls:
Melancholy melts and sadness falls.
image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe
Once, for reasons which are not adequately explained in the histories, ten suns rose in the sky instead of the usual one. As you might expect, this caused considerable suffering. The earth became parched and the crops were quickly burnt up. Because of their great suffering, the people promised to give anything he wished to the one who could solve this terrible problem.
I am trying something a bit different – this is the beginning of a story especially for the autumn season. It is traditionally associated with the mid autumn festival in China. The festival is coming up on October 3rd this year. I am retelling the story very freely from a variety of sources and some personal input – there will be about 10 segments – I hope you enjoy it!