Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring is Here! (or-You Can't Keep a Good Pansy Down!)

The pansies have arrived!  Like the primrose, I can't resist their cheery colors and delicate flowers.  This is a quick sketch in my new Global Arts Watercolor journal.  The paper is rough and really seems to help me stay loose.  We will see how the journal stands up to others I've used-stay tuned.  

Spring is here! 
Well, it says so on the calendar anyway!  It's slow in coming, given the winter we had, but I can see the ground after the snowiest winter on record in 100 years!  (Don't check that--I'm prone to exaggerate!)

As a creative person, I've been called sensitive.  "Artsy".  I guess I fit the stereotype.  I think it takes sensitivity to create.  It's from the well of my sensitive nature that my best paintings are done.  I know that's true of many creatives, so I'm in good company.  It brings joy to create.  It is sometimes cathartic to create.  And sometimes, its impossible to create.  
This winter mirrored my mood. I've been in a long, cold season artistically.  An artistic "winter", if you will. Sometimes life screws with your ability to enjoy or even make art. Yes, I can still produce a painting, but my desire to paint for pleasure was gone.  It's happened before and will again. There are reasons of course, none of which matter, but you know it always comes back to the metaphors for me.  And they always seem to tie in with nature and the seasons.  

With all the change, I found that I needed to give up something I loved, teaching. Teaching has always been as great for me as it ever was for my students, many of whom I now call friends.  Five years ago when I was caring for my mom who had cancer, teaching classes and the women in them were a source of encouragement, support and joy.  It kept a "normal" to my life and helped me cope.  Caring for my dad has been different.  I tried to continue teaching, but this time my heart wasn't in it.  I realized I needed to quit for a while.  I need all my energy for other things. It's another season in my life.  But even seasons that are particularly long and harsh eventually give way to the next. Change is a constant. My head was OK with all the change, but my heart took a while to follow.  It was a struggle to bring head and heart into peaceful coexistence!

 I find my mood lifting with the tender shoots pushing through the cold earth.  Do they struggle and force their way or are they pulled up by an unseen force through the soil?  It doesn't matter.  What matters is that they do it!  The spring bulbs signal the return of spring.  The hope of warmth and color and the gradual end to the long cold white winter. While this happens every year, it's sweeter after the long, cold, record breaking winter much of the country experienced.  Its true that we value something more when we have to wait for it.  Like blue skies, sunshine and warm temperatures!  A change of season. And peace within.

Now we move into a new season.  As the weather gradually gets warmer and I see the first shy color of spring peak out (spring always seems shockingly colorful to me after winters muted tones) --it's all new again!  Is it the first spring I've ever seen?  No.  But it is never the same, is it?  It never feels the same.  Never looks or smells exactly the same.  (I love the smell fresh cut grass!) It is always somehow a delightful surprise.  There is growth and change in the landscape.  And yet, what has been before and will be again, is also new each time. Somehow, it always feels like the first spring. Alive. Fresh. Full of possibilities. And small joyful paintings of spring flowers.

All this, because we experienced the winter.


  1. I enjoyed reading your blog and, although I wasn't glad to hear how you felt during winter, or when life got in the way of your wish to create art, it was helpful to know that I am not alone. If someone as talented as you who has been making art for much longer, feels this way sometimes, it's not bad for me to feel it. Thank you for sharing Michelle. :-)