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As I write these Studio Notes we are in the downside of winter - the sun is rising earlier and setting later. There seems to be a brightness to the days that gives us hope for an early spring. (Don't we hope for an early spring every year only to realize winter here in the GREAT WHITE NORTH lasts from November to April every single year).

But even though the winter can be a long and white and gray there is still beauty to be found in the art of wintering.

I recently took part in Jeanne Oliver's free online workshop The Art of Wintering and it made me look at winter in a different light. I am noticing shadows on the snow, the shapes made by the wind, the dried stalks of cattails and grasses, the swirls and marks in the ice on the ponds and sloughs. There is so much beauty, even in the depths of winter.

I challenge you to look - really look at your own winter surroundings and see the beauty of wintering.

Gather some dried stalks and put them in a vase on your table.

Take your phone out on a walk and snap some closeups of the shapes of the drifts or the patterns in the ice; the dried seed pods or the shadows created in the snow. Edit them to black and white to use in your artwork - print them out - frame them, or use them as a collage element in your art.

Take note of when the sun rises and when it sets - relish the longer days because it's only four short months until the days begin to shorten. Close your eyes, turn your face towards the sun and bask in its late winter warmth.

I'll leave with these words by Henry David Thoreau from his book WALDEN (Life in the Woods) and I hope you will think about how you practice the art of wintering.

'Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit,

and resign yourself to the influences of each.'



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