When did you last escape from the city lights and experience the night sky in all it’s glory? I think we humans are meant to wonder at the vastness and shimmering, stunning, beauty of space….it helps to keep our egos in check. Obviously, by the state of the world, we haven’t been doing enough of that lately. When people lived in tipis and yurts, igloos and hogans, they were in touch with that magnificence in a much more intimate way, enriching their lives in ways that we may have lost.
Winter has settled in here, though it’s warmed up considerably today, after a week of frigid -20’s. I visited Polly today and this is our beautiful S. Saskatchewan River valley blanketed in snow. The river cliffs here have bands of brilliant vermillion (thus the name of the town of Redcliff) and when that contrasts with the cool blue shadows we get in late afternoon, the effect can be stunning.
Well today there isn’t a painting. I’ve been in my booth at a Christmas market here for 2 days, with no time to paint…just a scramble from start to finish. It was a lot of fun with many old friends and family showing up and lots of visiting….some sales of my new books too, which is exciting. Tomorrow, it’s off to Calgary to retrieve my son from the airport, so it’s not looking promising for then either! Instead, you get a photograph of my beautiful old mare, Polly, enjoying some sun on the snow and a bit of a graze.
There’s a pretty barn and ranch yard on the way to Elkwater, and I’ve stopped often to admire it, either with canola fields in bloom, with heavy rain clouds in the west, or like this day, with full-on winter. This was one of those days with ice crystals in the air and the weak winter sun attempting to do something about it Ah, winter. May as well like the weather you have, right?!
Today’s painting was another one born by struggle. None of the usual subject matter seemed to hit the spot today, and it’s an odd little dance I do while trying to birth an idea that seems in sync with the season and how I’m feeling about it. Somehow painting petunias just doesn’t cut it these days!
Eventually, this one came about….2 wise guys and a star.
This blog has introduced you before to our gem of a Regional Park here at Medicine Hat, “Echodale”. It is a restored farm with all kinds of recreational advantages for us all. Summer time is great there with the poultry and animals in residence, the garden growing and the cooks in the kitchen baking bread in the old wood stove. But winter is fun too, with hay rides and wiener roasts. Here it is, the beautiful old log house garlanded up for Christmas.
Doing these latest paintings is gradually getting me in the mood for the Season, and today I had some really great young friends drop by with their various beautiful kids in tow. Now that REALLY made my day! Hope your Christmas joy meter is ticking up a notch or 2 every day as well, remembering that it really is all about relationships.
All of a sudden my bird feeder is full of Redpolls and there’s not a chickadee or a nuthatch in sight! Being irratic migrators, you never know for sure when they’ll show up, but they come in flocks when they do! The subject of my painting is a little female, since she lacks the rosy colouring the males sport on their breast. Now the only problem is to keep Possum from turning them into hors d’oeuvres.
These days it’s so dark, and when it’s clear enough there are so many stars, which we we cling to for comfort. For me, the season conjures totemic images surrounded by darkness and light. Today’s painting came with more struggle than usual. Nothing seemed quite right to me till this bison came to mind. A sacred animal of First Nations People, he symbolizes abundance, and yet we see how vulnerable he was to our arrival on this continent. Let us be ever mindful of our power to eradicate even such great power and abundance.
Today’s painting is #600 in my daily painting enterprise, which began on Jan 1, 2010. It feels like quite a landmark, and that’s one reason I wanted to have a more symbolic painting than usual today. I did miss a few days over the 2 years, and sometimes I posted photography, sometimes larger works I was creating, but mostly I managed to do a painting-a-day! 600 paintings and 50,000 hits on my blog really feels like an amazing feat. I truly thank all of you who have come along with me, and I hope you’ll continue to do so. Who knows where this is going?
Since we went from summer to winter around here, with our first frost being mid October and a blizzard a week later!!!….everybody is a bit confused as to what to do. These geese should probably get out of Dodge, but they’re still hanging about…literally. They’re looking for open spots in the river ice so they can land in the water. Now honestly, if I had wings and half a (bird) brain, I’d be at about 5000 feet and headed straight south!