Friday, April 29, 2016

Soft rain

"Soft rain, low mountain" by Hilary J. England, 8" x 11" oil on canvas, 2016
I'm still working with themes that are serene.  The wet, foggy mountain in Spring, wildflowers all in bloom, the misty engulfing the young pines like a mother wrapping her arms softly around their new, tender branches.  I love the change of seasons, even if it means having soggy feet.

The drizzle, and then the rain.  My sneakers didn't hold up well, but then, I should of worn my hiking boots.  They are made for the damp earth and muddy puddles, and slippery rocks and all the wonderful things that signal the warmer weather.  But, today was chilly and damp, but I could still smell the scent of life in the air.  There is no mistaking that delicious smell, even if its accompanied by a sneeze or two.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The bridge to unknown pastures

"The bridge to unknown pastures" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 8" x 16" 2016

My musings and ruminations on death and the journey there, and then beyond, continue.  This is another painting I did today, although it's photographed a bit on the dark side (literally and not metaphorically --it's probably just a slight shade lighter when viewing in person as my Canon took the day off and I had to photo with the iPad), it is actually a bit more serene then the other two.  I mean my frame of mind was when painting it anyway.  For now! For today, but that's cool, because that's all that matters or counts.

I mused about how many "journeys within the journey" we actually take, as people come and go from our lives, some make a little impact, others you will walk with for all of eternity, and the "micro-journeys" we complete help shape us as surely as a chisel in a sculptor's hand.  Some of us walk a very traditional path, and the road always seems to be clear and level for these folks.  I used to grumble that they were lucky, but now, not so much any more.  I'd be the person crashing along the bank, coming up on the bridge head on rather than neatly along the road.  I've accepted that as well, and count myself as lucky that I see things maybe a little different than others.  Some may say that's "psycho" but I disagree.  I don't usually hear voices in my head (not mean ones that tell me to rampage anyway lol) or any other symptoms of disturbia, so I think it's all good.  I have a tendency to think and think and think, and sometimes that's not a pleasant thing, but at other times it allows me to really steep myself into the multiple nuances and complexities of a situation, and see the beauty of it, when others don't.  That has been the one biggest gift of my life...being able to roll with things, even very ugly or scary situations, and still find beauty and purpose in it.

I'm been gifted with the ability to move through things and still not feel "victimized".  Shit happens, to be blunt, and it doesn't always have to be someone's fault, or some cosmic conspiracy against me.  Sometimes I will feel self- pity like any other person, but in the end, I can usually see through it, and just let the whole situation go.  Give it to God, and just keep on walking.  He always fixes things up way better than I could have anyway, so why obsess?

So, there it is for today.  Enjoy!!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Visible shore

"Visible shore" by Hilary J. England, 2016, oil on canvas, 11" x 14"

Here's another little par coeur  painting I did regarding my thoughts on mortality, loss, and grappling to make sense of the passage of time and people.

I thought of what C.S. Lewis alluded to with the examination of death and the different metaphors he used, and what Tolkien had beautifully written about death being a distant shore.  I don't know if it was Tolkien that used a simple story to explain death and transition as a boat leaving port -- that when the ship leaves port, the people on the pier lose sight of the ship and feel sad watching it go and after it passes the horizon line and our field of vision, it seems to be gone altogether, yet  the people on the distant shore begin to see the appearance and arrival of that ship, and rejoice.  The passing through the veil.  The veil between life and death, the veil of tears.

As we get older and see the speeding up of these processes in relation to each year that passes, in some instances, we can see that shore starts to grow more visible.  You can turn your head away, and pretend you don't see what you truly see, but I think it's better to make peace with the truth, and to not fight what is on the horizon.

Making peace with things we absolutely resist is one of the greatest challenges of life, but it is part of the essential experience we must grow through as humans.  And, like all humans, I continue to struggle with certain things, and I think it will not grow easier with time, just more acceptable.

At least that's my hope.

"The journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass. And then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."  Tolkien


Saturday, April 23, 2016


"Ominous" by Hilary J. England, 11" x 14" oil on canvas, 2016

It's been a long and horrible month.  I'm going to get very personal here since this is a very personal painting.  I suppose I could just let you all "wonder" at the story behind it, or where it originated from.  Did I go scope out some strange little child alone and naked on a lakeshore, and start painting her?. LOL, no.  This painting is just my personal "story" of the situation I am dealing with. My Dad nearly died after a bout of pneumonia this month, and the toll of that episode wiped me out more than I realized or anticipated.  I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't relax or concentrate, and the days just slipped by with me not realizing anything at all, just feeling like crap, and there being zero I could do to correct it, or move through it. Dad's still fighting to recover, and for that I am grateful, but the anguish of watching his suffering had really left me in a deep depression.

I painted this little painting today, to try and move through this funk I'm in.  I realized that Dad's illness stripped away everything in my life, to when I was a little child, and I was terrified of the unknown. I remember standing on the age of a lake, looking at the water, feeling anxious and afraid, not knowing what was in there and if it would swallow me up.

So, here was my psychological therapy for the day.  I don't usually do paintings "from my head", but this one was different, because I really needed to try and work out all of the struggles I was dealing with, and this helped me.  Didn't "fix" everything, but it helped.


Saturday, April 2, 2016


"Redwoods" by Hilary J. England, oil on canvas, 24" X 36", 2016

I finished this landscape for myself.  I needed something new and relaxing to look at while I'm laying in bed in the throes of insomnia.  :-D

I have a bunch of other paintings I'm working on, but I feel so off-track this last week or so.  I don't know what's up, as I am not sick or anything, but I guess it's just one of those things.  I'll find my direction next week or so, I'm sure.  


Carry on- Beginning Life in Lockdown

“Study of dramatic back lighting” oil on wooden panel, 16” x 16” Strange Times Beginning Life in Pandemic Lockdown Life in ...