painting – ‘the voyage” final version…

the voyage
the voyage

So here is the finished painting! (although next week when I see it, I may want to make some small touch ups…) In any case, I am quite pleased at this point.
It has been an interesting process from developing the idea and thumbnail vignettes, to refining the painting – more patiently than I usually do! – under the guidance of the teacher. I am hoping I can take the many pointers and see my work better as I go along on my own.

UPDATE: New sonnet from Tom written to accompany this painting!

A labyrinth of waterways awaits
beyond the narrow passage to the sound:
islands, bays and harbours, open straits
that lead without a clew to truths profound.
She lets the painter go and takes an oar
pulling with the river’s ebbing tide
toward the dawn’s bright welcome, leaving shore
where her past will ever-more abide.
Her future beckons over wine-dark seas,
reflecting skies so full of cloud and light,
where she’ll drink her life down to the lees
embracing every moment, dull or bright.
Clotho’s thread is cut, her fate’s her own,
though she be tempest-tost or typhoon-blown.

poem (c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe
painting (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer

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today’s doodles…studies for a painting

the voyage - first colour sketch
the voyage – first colour sketch

It has been a long time since I posted anything. I haven’t been doing much digital doodling but I have been creating some studies for a painting course I started a couple of weeks ago. The course is called “Illustrative Painting” and so I am trying to establish a narrative of sorts. I have in my mind that the voyage is a metaphor for journeying into the future or even an internal journey of the mind. On describing this concept, Tom sent me this poem – within two hours!! There’s even a short version and a long version…

Elegy for a Future (short version)

The water’s kiss is soft against the blade
that cuts a careworn future from the past;
irrevocable, now the choice is made
to cross the Rubicon and finally cast

a glance ahead: there awaits the shore,
warm coastal waters leading ever on
toward mystery and landscapes to explore
beneath the golden light of other dawns.

Elegy for a Future (long version)

The water’s kiss is soft against the blade
that cuts a careworn future from the past;
irrevocable, now the choice is made
to cross the Rubicon and finally cast

a course into the beckoning unknown
where distant shores, intriguing inlets, wait
for a bold explorer, all alone,
in search of other futures, taunting Fate

while mourning for a life that might have been
in another universe and time,
a different incarnation in between
Tartarus and Nirvana’s distant climes.

That perfect future lies unsullied now
by compromises, awkwardness and pain;
in memory, reclining ‘neath a bough
sipping on a julep with a swain:

an ideal match in all respects, and fair,
in the heaven where such spirits dwell
beyond the reach of merely worldly cares
for heaven means there is no chance of hell.

But now ahead there awaits the shore,
warm coastal waters leading ever on
toward mystery and landscapes to explore
beneath the golden light of other dawns.

There is no destined end or certain truth
that’s final, fixed, unchanging: all that lives
will wend its way toward age from simple youth;
though much is taken, there’s still much to give

unto the years of life that lie ahead
upon this journey toward the Happy Isles,
letting go of Clotho’s tangled thread
and facing toward new futures with a smile.

poetry (c) 2013 TJ Radcliffe

The image of “letting go of Clotho’s tangled thread” in the last stanza caught my imagination – Clotho being one of the Fates in charge of weaving human lives. After I read that I did some more quick sketching.

the voyage - pencil study
the voyage – pencil study

Now the figure is at the moment of departure – just about to let go of the rope. There are more ropes heaped up on the dock – the “tangled threads”. Then I went to the next class and produced the following two studies (among others) – the second shows the teacher’s (Charles Vinh) input – turning the figure towards the viewer.

the voyage - colour study
the voyage – colour study

The ink sketch was done during class before discussing the figure position with the teacher. I added some colour later at home.

the voyage - tonal study
the voyage – tonal study

Here I am trying to establish an interesting balance between tones in the painting, drawing the eye towards the figure.

The next step is to consider the figure in detail with lighting, clothing etc. Next post!

sketches (cc) 2013 Hilary Farmer