Summer feels like it’s cresting here – all the late-summer bounty is rolling in, with more yet to come as we transition more to the fall harvest season in September. The strawberries are having another flush, and the raspberries are unstoppable right now!
What’s the perfect late-summer treat for a hot day, a libation with a nod to the end of summer? A raspberry soda float, of course! And Sparrow & Chipmunk are the perfect helpers.
This past January, I had the privilege of being a chaperone for my niece’s Make-a-Wish trip to New York City – our remarkable niece has been fighting leukemia for the past couple of years. It was such a wonder to get to see her, along with a group of other tough kids, enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. (She has kicked her cancer to the curb, by the way! I’m constantly humbled by her courage throughout this whole ordeal.)
In the bustle of New York City, you can head north in Manhattan and step into a Medieval wonderland…on the banks of the Hudson River, the Met presents its Medieval collection at the Cloisters.
Frost has been carpeting the ground every morning, and we’ve been bringing in cedar & holly from the hillside to deck our halls. We keep our fire going almost daily now, and I’ve been drying sliced oranges to add bursts of color to all the greenery. I adore this season, when we work to cultivate comfort and warmth at a time when our world is a cold winter wonderland.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before – we’re farmers here in the Pacific Northwest, cultivating the land that my husband’s family bought when he was only four years old. When I came out to the farm about seven years ago, living with seasonal rhythms took on a whole new and more intrinsic meaning to me. Although there is work year round, especially with the animals, our busy summer season starts in June (although the preparation of seeding, etc. begins much earlier than that), and it ends around Hallowe’en.
It’s a stormy, blustery October day here in the Pacific Northwest as I write this – we lit our first fire of the season in our little wood stove yesterday, and for an Autumnal soul like mine, it felt like a homecoming.
Here’s a special musical treat for your Saturday!!
I’m so excited to share a wondrous song by the indescribably magical cellist Betsy Tinney, Musician…I had the luck of happening upon Betsy’s ethereal music at the farmer’s market one day, and then discovered that she plays at many of the same local fairy festivals that I vend at. Her music is a staple in our home, and I’m so honored to know that some of my favorite paintings reside with her.
“But why should we not have one genuine out-of-door day, a day when we shall see to it that every city child may romp and play in God’s green fields, and when we make it a joyous duty to thank the Giver of all, not only for the harvests & for the full granaries as on Thanksgiving Day, but for the sun and the green trees and the flowers and grass and everything that makes us glad to be alive? What day could be so good for such a celebration in America as well as in Sweden as Midsummer’s Day?”
FRANCIS EDWARD CLARK, THE CHARM OF SCANDINAVIA (1914)
The Midsummer¹ season of festivals and feasts – the Summer Solstice, St. John’s Eve, and St. John’s Day – have always resonated with me and filled my imagination. As the sun reaches its zenith on June 20/21, and then the feast & festival of St. John the Baptist follow a few days later on the 23rd & 24th, it’s a sun-drenched, liminal time of thresholds being crossed and whispers being heard.
A year or two ago at a craft store, I bought a pad of brown-toned paper on a whim. In my acrylic paintings, I’ve always really enjoyed the process of playing with lighting – especially with glowing faery-orbs providing the illumination – but I wanted a way to sketch the lighting & experiment with it a bit before committing paintbrush to canvas/board. The toned paper I bought worked perfectly for that, since it allowed me to start with a mid-tone and then shade and highlight from that base.
After experiencing one of the longest, rainiest winters in the Pacific Northwest, May is perhaps even more glorious than usual this year. A little collection of springtime-inspired Vignettes and Drawings will be flitting into my Etsy shop this Saturday, and I hope that they’ll bring to you the refreshing scent of spring rain, lilacs in bloom, and mossy forest floor.