White rhododendrons, blue sky

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White rhododendrons, blue sky (16″ x 20″ oil on archival panel)

I painted this one about a month ago from photos I took (not this year) of a large rhododendron garden in a nearby park. I say nearby, but it would have still required a ferry ride to visit this park and we haven’t been off our small island since the shutdown started almost three months ago.

Tom just wrote an amazing poem this weekend that speaks to the times we live in as much as this painting. I feel profoundly grateful to have inspired it with my art.

storm clouds rising           somewhere up ahead
blossoms tossing            shadowed on the wind
skies are changing           blue is running red
searching for forgiveness           for our sins
in the darkness               under forest cover
eyes that hide           from hunters passing by
we hold these truths
                  clutched to us like our mother
we tell these stories       hoping they're a lie
raindrops splashing         fat upon the flowers
shaking leaves and          dampening the ground
summer's waking thunder           tolls the hour
what never has been lost         cannot be found
young buds open          now their time has come
senescent giants falling            free the sun

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

 

White rhododendrons against the sky

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White rhododendrons against the sky (6″ x 6″ oil on raised panel)

Even when flowers are white, they aren’t really white. There’s shades of mauve, pale blue, pale yellow etc. It is a fun exercise to decide how to give volume and a sense of the sunlight using those subtle colours. Interestingly, the buds for these white blooms were pink!

Tom’s poem captures a moment that parallels the feeling of the painting perfectly. Tom has started posting his poems on a website called Hello Poetry.  Check out his poems there!

It’s quiet here beneath the waxy leaves
looking through the flowers at the sky
so changeless blue. The faintest summer breeze
stirs the rhododendrons as I lie
within the peaceful darkness, damp and cool.

Voices in the distance, kids at play,
cars along the boulevard hiss by,
furtive couples fumble down the way,
off to learn the meaning of a sigh
by the river’s isolated pool.

I close my eyes and feel the Earth beneath
the world above the universe. I fly
to distant lands where dragons form a wreath
around my life, where magic will not die,
and knights defend the helpless from the cruel.

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