Tuesday, February 8, 2011

So Over It

It has got to be my fault. I didn't have a holiday tree this past December, but instead decorated my living room mantle and stair railings with colored lights to cheer the shorter days of what used to be called "Winter". I always used to say I didn't mind "Winter".  I rather like the break from an expanded life to cozy up by a fire, stay in my cocoon a while, and apply my attention to creations of the hand and heart.  This year especially, with studying drawing and weaving in online classes, I am well occupied in the warm spaces of my lovely life. Instead of the usual ritual of taking down the tree on New Year's Day, those lights are still being lit against the dark and cold, and well, maybe I've created the curse.

Winter in shades of indigo

Lighting the Winter night with promises of Red Buds on dark branches come spring

But let's face it, the calendar says it's almost Valentine's Day, and I do believe on average the "Jailer" season should be moderating by now. You know, the occasional sunny day without wind, when you can bundle up, but not too much, and walk in the open air. The day when my "Fargo" hat can be left in the closet. I thoroughly miss walking. In season (which used to include this one at least sometimes), I do it almost every day.  I'm so ready to make plans with friends or to attend events that don't get cancelled by snowfall and ice. I'd definitely rather not be healing bruised ribs sustained in an awkward tumble onto my book bag.

Yes, that says minus 1.7. Walk, anybody?

I read that some of my California friends are planting and enjoying Spring flowers. Who says they get to start Spring without the rest of us? All my flowers come from Costco, and seem to mock me from their perch on the kitchen island.

Instead, I must satisfy the longing for warmth with warm art. I have been drawing cozy chairs at Starbucks, and weaving Spring themed cloths. One of my favorite cloths in progress is a representation of my open heart, reaching out to the positive things that have been entering my life lately. It speaks of longing: the heart growing from a grid of warm red tones, layered on the infinite deep blue of the night sky. It is only in the beginning stages, but it cheers me and feels solid already.

From my class with Jane LaFazio, Sketch and Watercolor on Location

An Open Heart

Another piece is airy and light and feminine and has no purpose yet other than to reconnect me to the lightness of the air in Spring. That smell of warming earth that stops me in my tracks just to breath and go.....ahhhhh, it's back!

The tree destined for the back of my Spring denim jacket has acquired blossoms similar to a local favorite, the Red Bud, with its delicate fuchsia pink sprouting on the bare dark branches. It is a pleasure to work on it with its lovely complex colors and soft textures. I am almost ready to further define the story in embroidery.
A collage of closeups of pure joyful color

And so, in the face of the relentless snow and cold outside, falling even as I write this, and the start of yet another stretch of deep freeze canceling a romantic trip to the city this weekend, I am letting my art dispel the funk, and bring me closer to the eventual achievement of "Spring".  I have faith because what else is it to be alive, but to accept the circles of change, to make the most of the times we are given, every bit of it. Around me I have friends and family members stricken with adversity not in their control: unemployment, illness, loss. And me? I am lately blessed with riches beyond measure in the shape of opportunity for connections and growth, for love and creation. I mean to acknowledge this every day.

So I take up my paint and pens, my cloth and thread, and I create my thanks for all these blessings while I can.


  1. So many thoughts going round in my head, however the comfy chair wins because it is so well drawn. Your 'woven colors' are, as you say, joyful and certainly carry Spring in them. It will come, as it always does.

  2. Well said, in every way. Thanks for all the photos, too...I especially like the sunshot in your sunset picture. And, of course, your colors and your woven boro.

    Cheers, and here's to Spring!

  3. These winter photos are beautiful! I especially like the lampshade and the bench. I like how photography and painting inform one other, because photography always involves composition. Nice ink and watercolor. Love the creative way you used the words, and the angle of the chair.

  4. Your sketching & watercolor is beautiful, Jane is great to learn from, have taken classes online on Mixed Media with her, I can't draw a thing!!!!

  5. I love the sketch of the chair =)

  6. Cheryl, your blog is an inspiration. So there is hope that spring may actually come then?? The batteries on my outdoor thermometer quit working because of the low, low readings. And you're so right - we haven't had anything resembling a decent day since the beginning of December! I appreciate your positive attitude, your creativity - both things I like to think I hold to as well.

  7. Oh my goodness...that IS cold! I've never seen the thermostat in the negatives, even when I lived in Boise! We're getting to 67F today; hope it is warming up for you too! Fabulous sketch; I love the colors in that chair!

  8. Hi Cheryl, I love your paintings with Jane's class. I decided to check out your blog. I, too am a retired art teacher and my passion is fibre art. Would love to connect with you! Hope you will check out my blog.

  9. would you share the pomegranate cosmos recipe? love pom's juice!

  10. Hi Cheryl, I enjoyed reading a bit of your blog, seeing your sketches again and your lovely woven Boro work - really nice!
    I also noticed from a post a few weeks ago that you grew up in Levittown. I grew up in Hatboro which is also a northern suburb of Philadelphia.
    Keep up your lovely work.