Winter ditch

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Winter ditch (8″ x 10″ oil on raised panel)

Maybe it comes from my days working in architecture, but I enjoy looking at things in “plan view” (straight down). And recently, the beauty of the minutia we usually ignore right at our feet is drawing me in. There is so much life and colour there, once I stop to really look. The summers here get quite warm and very dry so I’m enjoying the rain and wet …well most of the time!

Here’s Tom’s haiku to go with this painting. 🙂

living rill feeds green
ripe grasses catching sunlight
ditch runs with spring rain

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

One fine day

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One fine day (8″ x 10″ oil on archival raised, gessoed panel)

It was a very fine West coast winter day – quite mild and with sunshine! Our walk took us through the woods and out the other side towards farmland and pasture. This view is looking back towards the path to the woods. I like the feeling of this painting. It captures  the cool winter sun and the mystery of the path.

Tom’s poem may mean more if you’ve read Italo Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller” – however, it stands quite well alone. The image of my painting led Tom down a quite different path in his poem. I like it!

If On a Winter’s Day a Traveller

You are reading “If On a Winter’s Day a Traveller”,
perhaps online, or on your phone,
during your commute. The train, the bus,
the streetcar is quite crowded,
jostling and rattling around
as you get your head into the poem.

What lies ahead? The curve of road or track
leads on to darkness, mystery, confused
deep tunnels, full of dusty lights,
or intersections where the traffic snarls
into a knot. There’s no way out
but forward, so you go,
in time.

The screen is dark, you’ve been distracted,
and now the poem is done.

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

Winter bouquet

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Winter bouquet (16″x 20″ oil on canvas)

 

When I bought this bouquet, it had other colours of flowers in it as well, but I just felt like trying something more monochrome. Pretty pleased with how this turned out. Even though it’s quite a bit larger than I have been painting, I got the painting laid out and largely developed in one session and finished it up in another while the oil paint was still nice and moveable. So not quite alla prima but close.

Once again, Tom has found something profound to say about my painting – this time in haiku form.

bright white cut flowers
cut glass vase catches sunlight
mourners murmur grief

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

Winter sun

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Winter sun (8 x 10″ oil on canvas)

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.

Tom’s poem for this one perfectly brings back that moment while clearly referencing Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening“.

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.

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

Fine feathers

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Fine feathers mandala (9″ x 9″ ink and watercolour)

If peacocks made snowflakes, maybe they’d look like this… I was thinking about the mandala calendar for this year and thoughts of winter months inspired this one.

I love the poem Tom wrote for this. It’s all festive swirl and glitter with hidden depths. Tom says: This one has a (very) little of James Joyce’s famous short story “The Dead” in it, which is often touted as the greatest in the English language, although I’d put Kipling’s “The Gardener” up against it. Here’s a link for those who (like me) haven’t read this yet or would like a refresher. http://www.online-literature.com/james_joyce/958/

Kaleidoscopes of winter snow
fall across the icy sky
upon the ladies as they go
to Christmas soirees, “By the by,
I must admit I love that shawl,
with orchids, stars, a forest tall,
it looks so warm and cozy-soft,
like otters snuggled in a croft
beneath a landscape, frozen, cold
where carolers sing songs of joy
their voices by the stillness buoyed
up to the sky’s wide peaceful fold
as stars look down upon our lives:
like blowing snow we swirl and rise.”

image (c) 2018 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2018 TJ Radcliffe

Last light – oil painting

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Last light (6″x 6″ oil on gessoed board)

This was a day when everything felt easy. Other times you need to struggle through the process but days like this are a joy.

…and here is a wonderful poem from Tom to go with this painting.

fractured crystal of the sky
scattering the evening light
as the darkness drawing nigh
ushers in the quiet night
to cloak world in winter cold
as lonely souls each other hold
and round the fire a tale is told
of bygone heroes, brave and bold
until the teller silent falls
and voices rise in ancient song
praying winter won’t be long
as the restless crows each call
while the stars come out in pairs
between the angled branches bare

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe

flowering crystal mandala…

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flowering crystal mandala

The latest mandala has been water coloured! The colours have been kept very cool in keeping with the feeling of snow and cold I wanted to evoke on this hot sunny summer day! The very centre is red to keep a connection with one of the original inspirations – Queen Anne’s Lace. A tiny red central flower which is common for this wildflower, is to attract insects but I like the whimsy of the folk tale origin – it represents a drop of Queen Anne’s blood pricked from her finger while making the lace.

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flowering crystal mandala detail with spring azure butterfly

A detail showing the spring azure butterfly which is one of many insects attracted to Queen Anne’s Lace.

Tom’s new poem for the water-coloured mandala gets to the heart of the cold winter feeling …be refreshed on this summer day!

In the heart of hopeful winter
Crystal flowers spin and grow
Under pressure splinters sinter
Dusting down as drifting snow
Jeweled movement in the centre
Turns the world through double-hours
Ticking as the New Year enters
Through the door of Winter’s tower
Along the moonbeams sliding silver
Drift soft snowflakes to their rest
Keeping seasons in fine kilter
Unsung heroes on a quest
To keep all Nature’s endless round
Turning, never winding down

image (c) 2017 Hilary Farmer
poem (c) 2017 TJ Radcliffe