Season's Greetings from Grantview Studio!
Last week we experienced the first blanket of snow in our neighborhood. The first is always enchanting as we look out the windows from our cozy home. But soon the novelty wears thin as driveways need to be plowed, walkways shoveled, and slick pavement can be treacherous!
I don’t mind the winter months. They allow me to hunker down and get more work accomplished in my studio. My husband is the opposite; Bob can’t wait for Winter Solstice to arrive, as the waning of daylight hours ends and days begin to grow longer again. He thrives on the warmth of sunlight.
In other writings I have mentioned that my mother suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I remember visiting her one winter when she was quite gloomy. It was Bob who lifted her spirits by showing her the calendar. It was just a few days before December 21st. He reminded her that as soon as we pass that marker, there would be more light each day until Spring arrives. It was with this precious memory in mind that I created our Holiday Greeting card this year.
The phrase “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” had been running through my mind lately. I couldn’t remember where I’d read it, so I researched and found that it is the final line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”. I use symbolism in my artwork, so I began to imagine a way to convey the hope and optimism of his poem.
After the leaves fall, berries remain to nourish the animals and birds who stay through the winter. There are lots of winter scenes depicting birds perched on snow-laced branches with berries, and I wanted to do my version of this.
Towards the end of a long winter, when I spot a robin, I sense the coming of Spring. In my research I was amused to read that robins can get tipsy on berries and crabapples that have fermented after a frost.
Also, Chinese Lanterns are an unusual addition for a winter holiday scene, but when I was walking Roxy & Ringo one day I admired these bright orange, bell-shaped husks growing near the edge of someone’s property. In fact, that lovely neighbor insisted I take some home to plant the seeds. I incorporated these decorative plants into the painting because the color of the robin’s breast combines the red berries and orange Lanterns. And the Lanterns represent a way to shine light.
For more on how I created this painting, an update on other art projects, Bob's photos, and the latest on Roxy & Ringo (our parti poodles) please click on this link: StraddleTheTurtle.com. It will take you to the rest of this Newsletter on my website about slowing down and enjoying the moment.