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.
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.
“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.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Each season brings its unique charm and inspiration, of course, but my heart tends to leap at a chill in the air, warm scarves, crackling fires, warm apple cider, and all those other comforting autumnal delights.
Visual arts tend to be solitary pursuits much of the time. While I crave that solitary and meditative quality of painting, I’ve also found myself being drawn to finding ways to balance it with more forays into art communities.
Last weekend, we headed to Tacoma for the Spring Fairy Festival – this was our third year vending at it, and our first time setting up shop outdoors. It was quite the adventure, since we arrived in a bit of a downpour of rain…the tent kept us dry, thankfully, but a persistent wind kept blowing through. That’s the glory of spring weather, I suppose – unpredictable, challenging, & nourishing, all at the same time.