Friday, December 19, 2008

Seeing anew

"Morning frost," oil on stretched canvas, 8x8. sold

It is snowing like crazy outside, and getting dark even now, at 3:30. I'd hoped to be able to paint out in the snowstorm, but it's coming down too hard. It's falling straight down, lining the branches of the trees, the twigs on the bushes, the stones on the wall outside my window. Canada geese flew over while Peter and I were outside earlier. Their honking sounded right somehow in the falling snow. The Samoyed romped and stomped and barked, thrilled at being in his element, and a lone cardinal looked like a Christmas decoration in our backyard pine grove.

I painted this small piece yesterday morning, early. The sun hadn't even made it above the trees, and everything in the field was covered with frost. It covered every blade of grass, every stalk and plant and bramble, covered each with a rime of white, with crystals that stuck out like whiskers and sparkled in the dawn.

You could see the red and the gold and the green beneath, in the places where, usually, shadows gather. And it occurred to me that many of the times of year that I love are times when what happens in nature changes the way everything usually works. In the fall, the colors of the leaves makes trees bright where in summer, they are dark. When snow falls, it outlines things that, in daylight, often blur into the visual equivalent of background noise.

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