Monday, January 8, 2018

The Beauty of Winter in Québec

7am Morning Walk / 24" x 24"

The winter figures prominently in my psyche and work these days. Having been born close to the Winter Solstice makes December a time of change and reflection for me. The ever shortening days, the receding and then returning light, the cold and snow wrapping itself around everything in a silent embrace, these all influence my work.

A forest full of silence and snow
The landscape becomes a quiet palette of black, white and nuanced greys.

This year's extreme cold snap made it a challenge to stay warm from the inside out. The Marché du Noel was a lovely burst of warmth to stumble upon one snowy dusk filled evening. I love living and working in St Henri - this is one of the bonuses of returning to a city struggling to keep up with snow removal and the trudging over, around and through the enormous snowbanks that build up everywhere. People tend to huddle together around the fires, snowplows, stuck cars, and help each other out.

Warming bonfire at Marché du Noel - Atwater Market 
Underneath the Snow / 30" x 24" 
 A painting influenced by both the quiet cold and the warm fires of winter.

The return of the light. Walt died on the Winter Solstice two years ago. His presence is felt strongly around the tree in the essence of pine that fills my home.
The scent of pine reminds me of his spirit of love that will never die. Even when we depart from this earth our love remains and that is a beautiful thing to know in the midst of the coldness of winter.

Winter Running River / 36" x 48"

The beauty of the dark river waters in contrast with the white snow and ice is another visual dynamic that never ceases to move me.

The incredible ice patterns that form on the freezing St Lawrence are like watching a moving abstract painting in greys and whites. A mesmerizing and beautiful dance of ice and water.


 Then there is the winter skating - so many places to skate in Montreal but this particular day was on the Lac aux Castors at Mont Royal, where there was music and laughter and a beautiful circular rink to skate on. I skated for 45 minutes and even worked up a sweat in -20c weather! The brilliant sunshine and the blue sky was balm for the spirit!

The January Wolf Moon - the coldest full moon of the year and this year was a beauty!

My beautiful warm studio becomes even more of a haven in the winter. I walk to and from it through the howling wind and snow and peel off all my layers to melt into its warm embrace. I loose myself in the music and paint, read and luxuriate in my own private world for hours and hours on end. I feel such gratitude for having this haven to retreat to and make marks on canvas in a way that reflects the beauty of the seasons beyond its walls.

Flood of River Light / 24" x 24"

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