After not oil painting for a few months, I wanted to warm up with studies of cherries. The colour of the cherries was so gorgeous, they were calling to me! I painting them twice in the same pottery bowl which was glowing with sunlight and alive with reflections and shadows. Giving some indication of this while maintaining a painterly approach was the challenge. (The second one is more close up as well as subtly different in other ways.)
Here’s a wonderfully fun poem from Tom that argues …cherries alone are not enough!
They say life’s not a bowl of cherries
which seems to me just fine
for who would want their life, so merry,
to be gulped by summer swine
who stand and chat around the bowl
enjoying snacks and banter droll?
I’d rather life be like a feast
confected from odd ends, at least
a mix of bitter, sweet, and sour,
salty, savory, sumptuous:
it seems a bit presumptuous
to let one fruit alone devour
all the rest, however sweet,
I want a life diverse, complete!
Following on from the previous abstract, although done on another hot day in the studio, this one is cooler and more water-y …and possibly full of scales or little fishes. I felt it definitely had a tropical vibe too.
Tom has seen different things and has brought both his scientific mind and poetic magic to this piece!
Tadpoles over river-stones
rushing forward up the stream
toward a place that’s all unknown
to the likes of you or me
where tails will shrink until they go
and legs will sprout and then they’ll grow
and gills are lost to gasping lungs
as tadpoles climb up Darwin’s rungs
’til at the top they’ll find a pad
to rest in dappled summer sun
while knowing that the race they’ve run
was worth the effort, hard and mad
to reach a place of rest and peace
and all are equal, most to least.
This is another painting inspired by a visit to a rhododendron garden a month or so ago. It was quite wonderful, colourful, and vibrant. Interestingly, although I decided to leave the bee from my reference photo out, Tom somehow saw it in the painting anyway! Those blooms were certainly inviting to the busy pollinators!
When a bee approaches fecund flowers
along a line so straight and always true
its senses buzz with subtleties and powers
that draw it where sweet blossoms bloom anew
with nectar sweet and pollen rich, inviting
a happy bee to search and find, alighting
upon the petals nearest to the anther,
pirouetting like a tiny dancer
to sweep long hairy legs that catch a load
of all that workers, queens and lazy drones
are craving most within their honeyed homes:
so eagerly she flies the homeward road
leaving far behind the sheltered grove
where blossoms bloom in red and pink and mauve.
Well, this rendering was a bit experimental but in the end I think it worked. For one thing, usually I pick a point outside of the circle as the light source but this time, the light radiates from the centre. It gives the whole a sort of camp-fire-lit feeling which I like a lot. At the same time, it is pretty strange and eerie!
Tom caught the feeling and brought a deep poetic truth to it. Here is his amazing poem for this mandala.
We are your faces, lit by firelight Finely tuned to captivate emotion Gazing inward, turning back to night Circling the flame's eternal motion We are your faces, waiting for a time When you will wear us out in light of day Speaking through us, trying to be kind Or angry, sad, bemused... some other way We are your faces, we know who you are When you take us off as darkness falls Above the lighted circle distant stars Wheel across the sky at curfew's call. We are your faces, masking you from pain We are your faces, speaking in your name
image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 Tom Radcliffe