I love to welcome December each year. This starts the winter months, a holiday season and a time for inner reflection for me. In December I start to think of beyond the first of the year. My garden lay dormant and I start to think of the colors to come. I start cooking comfort foods such as tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, baked chickens and baking, always baking deserts for the soul. And then there is the nesting, being reacquainted with my knitting projects and spending time in the art room.
But of course before the calm comes the storm of the winter holiday season. I’ll be working on more holiday designs (they are in my head now hollering to be created) to share here. Also in the works fun gift ideas including custom mugs with matching hot chocolate combos. Or foiled photo cards you can personalize with your own photos and custom text and much more.
In the meantime I hope you find a little peace in the craziness.
As I sit and wonder where summer has snuck off to my mind happily glides towards September thoughts. I so much enjoy the Autumn months and September blends its’ warm days and cool nights together gently. The garden is still giving late tomatoes, the sedum is alive with desperate bees. It is not unusual to see a shock of yellow leaves from the beech trees.
The squirrels have decimated the acorn and beech nuts leaving the nut husks to cover the back lawn. Hummingbirds used to be at my feeder all summer long. They have left but the feeder remains for those late comers flying south for winter.
Some of the best seasonal poetry is for Autumn. Like my post entitled October I often think of poems when painting or designing. One such poem caught my eye as I was reading poetry written by Emily Bronte. Here it is entitled Fall, leaves, fall
Fall, leaves fall
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
I love this poem, stark and embracing the change to come. The lines “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” stands on their own. I have paired the phrase with one of my autumn leaf pictures (also featured on my Colorful Birch Leaf). I hope you like it.
I hope you enjoy your autumn season too. The winter is not very far away now. When spring finally arrives we can have our autumn dreams too look forward to. For now I enjoy sharing with you my September thoughts.
If you enjoy my picture above, it may be of interest you to know you can purchase blank cards and postcards.
The old apple tree once in the yard had weathered bark. Coarse and showing signs of ware the apple tree’s trunk had made a great subject for high speed film. At the base of the tree looking upwards to the leafy canopy the sun shone down illuminating the leaves closer to the top. Younger branches seem to spring forth willy nilly towards the sky in an attempt to sprout new leaves closer to the sun.
The black and white 1000 speed Fuji film used to photograph the apple tree creates a grainy finish. Dragon scale bark and impressionist like painted leaves of the apple tree all are due to the high speed film used in the Olympus OM10.
This apple tree no longer stands in the yard. The sun shines down on green grass where it once stood. Like all trees that have grown and fallen no one will remember it years from now. But once it stood tall, a bit twisted and solid in the yard where children climbed its scaly branches.
At some point I ended up with a 4″ by 6″ pink Speedball Speedy-carve block. No doubt I purchased it for my young daughter to play with. I decided to give it a go and here are my results. The first design I decided to try was simple. Never having to cut this material before I wanted to see how it worked with my current carving tools. Using the chunky circular tree design I had in my sketch book I thought this would work well. Because I had a 4″ by 6″ block I thought I would create a square design (cut round) from 4″ by 4″ of the original size.
This first design worked well. True as advertised the lines can be easily cut as thick or thin as you’d like. The only different is while printing with the block, I found a little ink goes a long way and there is no need to press very hard to print the relief.
The second 2″ by 4″ of the remainder of the block was designed for a water fairy sketch I created. This experiment would use thinner lines to see how the pink rubber block would hold up.
I actually like this water fairy and may try to use a larger block with more detail. But for now I’ve had fun using this pink rubber speedy-carve block.
Winter magic takes the right time of day, perfect wintery weather and little imagination. I look for those shining moments when sun, snow and crystal air come together. The challenge of waiting till the sun is at the correct angle to dazzle the eyes using snow to refract the light. Each limb needs to be covered with clinging snow and ice, “trees in cotton” as my daughter would say.
Winter magic is luminous after the night’s whispers have faded away. The returning of the sun is about anticipation, believing in something wondrous and leaving us with hope.
The full moon in December is aptly named the Cold Moon. Signifying the seasons lengthening winter nights many Native American nations called the full moon in December the Long Nights Moon. I’ve always loved waking on a winter’s night to see the shadows a full moon plays on the snow. It’s as if a spotlight shown on the wilderness normally darken to us most during night.
In began as a pencil sketch
This painting was sketched prior to using paint. The initial drawing below shows the first conceptual art I created prior to the full moon in December. The snow was had only arrived as wisps of flakes from the sky when pencil met paper. Cold gripped New England a few days before the real snow fell and by then I had decided to pursue the painting. That night was the full moon in December.
Moonlight on snow
That very evening I woke after midnight and stole out of the bed to look out the window. It was a cloudless night and the cold moon was so very bright. There were no features on the moon, no man in the moon lay on the lunar surface. A magical white opaque halo spun around the moon like gauze. The sky was navy blue and black, infinite with twinkling stars that appear as diamonds.
Snow isn’t white in the night but seems to take on the colors of the night sky. Tinted with navy blue and gray you can see where dips and valleys lay on the snow. The surface of cold crystals was unbroken by footfalls.
The trees dark, bare and tall threw their shadows in bumpy lines towards the house. At the base of the trunks white hair lip snow piles had formed by the winter breeze. It was the finest half hour I’ve spent in some time. In the quiet of the house, I took mental note of the colors, textures and feeling for painting Moonlight on Snow.
Of course the deer was in my imagination though I know something, a mammal or owl, was out there enjoying the full moon in December.