Having bought some sunflowers at the market back at the end of August, I had to paint them of course. I decided to use extra thick and juicy brushstrokes a la Van Gogh. Sunflowers just seem to want that approach.
Tom wrote a haiku that gets to the heart of the painting in so few words.
transient fires burn triumvirate of blossoms brighten summer days
This one was painted back in May but somehow got missed in the poetry queue. This one was painted completely from my imagination. I think it has the flavour of Ontario’s back country lake districts drawing more on childhood memory than my current west coast rain forest setting.
Tom’s poem also echos that place and other times…
There is a fire that burns where sunset touches this land of lake and tree and summer heat: a fire that flickers, scrabbles, grasps, and clutches at the edge where Earth and sunlight meet. No forests turn to smoke and ash, it burns in abstract spaces, glowing on a land that scatters it across the trees and ferns, the swamps and lakes, the sky in clouded bands. The light is caught and coloured by the lake then thrown up to the sky and back again to limn the trees and from the forest take a ghost of places gone, of times unkenned. There is a fire that burns and does not die Now in the distance hear the loon’s soft cry
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.
This one was quite experimental for me. I did not use my usual transparent under layer method and was playing with some different colours. Like the previous painting this one was from my imagination …but it sure took an unusual direction!
Tom saw a whole different world within my painting and wrote this poem!
A wooden door is built into the wall
of dry-stacked stone that bounds the little lane
between the elf-mounds. Curious, and small,
the door’s ajar, a gate to other planes.
The wood is grey and weathered, like the stones
which grow with moss and lichen, ancient rime.
I put an eye up to the gap. Alone
I’ve wandered here, beyond my proper time.
A face shows by a hollow in the dusk,
someone familiar, yet so far away…
I turn and see the lane-way, feel I must
continue on my journey. I can’t stay.
Above the stars are pentagons of light
while I walk on, across the fields of night.
This chaotic tangle of flowers reminded me of a country garden run wild. There’s just a hint of a fence or a shed and I really like how the blooms dissolve into the sky.
A lovely whimsical poem from Tom for this one.
It’s not just anyone we wear
these bright summer colours for,
but only you, we truly swear,
who’ve come to see us by the door
of this old shack where once there lived
a hermit. He had much to give
but kept it all for only us:
he planted, tended, went to dust.
So now we’re all that still remains
in memory of one whose will
was loneliness and life fulfilled
by solitude and gentle rains.
So only those whose hearts surrender,
to this place may see our splendor.
I wanted to explore patterns in a way inspired by William Morris. Lemons with their shapely yellow fruit, graceful leaves and pretty blossoms were a perfect subject to play with. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon creating this piece.
Tom’s poem puts the piece into a larger context.
Deep falls the sky behind the lemon trees
that grow beneath a blue which England knows
only through the hint of summer breeze
and ships that carry treasure in their holds:
fine fruits from distant lands where tropic suns
beat upon the backs of all who toil
in field and orchard, where the Empire runs
amok amidst the beauty and the spoil.
In fecund seasons endless bounty waits
for those who do not scruple at the cost
of houses overseeing fine estates
where none wander and yet all are lost.
Yet too this England grows a different kind
who will tend her gardens in our time.