Sunday, 20 December 2015

in search of winter

woodland this December

local woodland this December

We're caught in a mild spell, in many parts of England. Yesterday it was so warm I could have gone for a walk with no coat. I pegged my washing in the garden and noted (sadly) green fly on the hellebore flowers that grow in a pot by our kitchen door....

A place that inspires me is our local parkland and woodland - there is no deep forest to get lost in but there are patches of wooded areas and these I like very much. At this time of year I had hoped to go walking with my camera and take photographs of frost on bark, ice on leaf - perhaps a snowy blanket across the park view. But it is not to be. Yesterday I went walking and found myself in a place of bare trees and lush green. The moss is thick, the grass thicker. It is very muddy - swampy in places. To be honest, it's taken me a while to get used to just walking by myself, where no one else is, with maybe at times only one or two other people appearing. For a while it felt odd to be so alone (suburban-anxiety perhaps). Though I like to walk with company and sometimes do, I think I like just taking my own route. I have come to enjoy my solitary walks as a time for thinking and noting the details of the landscape. If at first I might have even pretended I had a dog (who had just wandered off into the thicket), I now am a bit more relaxed about taking my time, being where I am and seeing things. There are days I take my camera and days I am just walking. Yesterday it was so mild I should have visited with a picnic and a good book.

Things I noted in the woodland: thick mosses, swampy mud, trodden in autumn leaves. There are red berries on some holly but not on all holly. Any spectacular seed heads have now been blown to oblivion by near-constant windy weather. The streams are thriving but not too full. There are fat buds on a few trees. Not especially wintry at all.

If the weather cannot provide a little glitter - then I have made my own, simply:

a bowl of silver-painted fern

There are many dried fern leaves about - so I have painted them with silver and separated the individual frond pieces. These are displayed in a small handmade bowl, a bowl I made some years ago.

Meanwhile, I am keeping a winter sketchbook. So I can at least remember and imagine a winter that feels perhaps a little more wintry....

winter sketchbook

winter sketchbook


sassysistersink said...

Hello, Cathy! I want to tell you how very much I enjoy your blog posts. Your thoughts and artworks have such a resounding honesty to them that I am always touched by. I visit the photostreams of the photographers and artists that you include in your mosaic Monday posts and you have introduced me to many interesting people that I would otherwise not have known about. Your paintings, stitchery, and poetry inspire me to live a poetic life, to simplify and focus on the most expressive words and gestures and eliminate the unnecessary embellishment that clouds the honesty of the work. I love the little collection of your work that I am establishing-- your work brings joy and a sense of peace. Thank you for sharing your sketchbooks, your process, and your thoughts with us-- they mean so much! I look forward to seeing what 2016 brings, and am very much looking forward to your book of poetry. Happy Holidays, and I hope that you have the chance to capture the frost and ice images your heart longs for!!
xx Janet

Velma Bolyard said...

lovely. walking is a balm this year, and yesterday it finally began to be a little wintry here, where el nino has kept good old winter down. i love the silver fern fronds.

Mags OCA said...

Your posts often read as a form of meditation, Cathy, and I appreciate them for that, and for so many other reasons.

Inspired today by your silver fern fronds and seasonal sketchbooks!