Wintering began in earnest this year. I anticipated winter a little too early, cutting down the foliage in the garden and sweeping up the leaves from the nearby Willows, adding the mulch to my pots. During the shortest days, I planted out an array of tulips and daffodils, probably too densely for their own good. I was inspired by Flower and Land’s The Doorstep Cutting Garden where Jessica creates the most luscious array of flowers and foliage- frothy towering stems and pots of tulips in velvet purples and crimson gold. Her arrangements are so effortlessly cool, with a mixture of cut flowers and found foliage. In the back of my mind, this is what I’m aiming for, but I know the determined winds will have other plans.
Although I can only dream of such a set up, I go about preparing our garden for its wintering, in the hope it’ll provide inspiration in the months to come. As Spring has slowly crawled it’s way up North to Orkney, there have been lighter mornings, with the snowdrops making an appearance in the park just next to our house. Determined purple crocus in the grass have appeared, and tiny tete-a-tete bulbs I’d forgotten about reluctantly point green fingers through the soil. The bulbs I planted in the winter have slowly made their way to the surface. In a bid to keep them warm, I shred up the remainder of last years foliage. Although now it’s more frequently whipped up by the wind in a frenzy, tossing around the carpark. As the garden springs to life, so does my desire to record it all.
Although it’s cold, the arrival of Spring always signifies a time to get to work on some new paintings. This year it was a little earlier than usual. I found myself outside, rooting around for inspiration in the desolate winter months. I came across a satisfying branch of pinecones in the park just across from our house, and I pruned off some branches of an unknown tree in the garden. In the following weeks, I’ve amassed different objects from around the house; favourite ceramics are strewn across the windowsill, and the branches of the tree have started flowering white and heady. I found some bulbs in the local shop, and lemons with leaves on them, now satisfyingly crisp as they’ve dried out. All of these items seem to signify life, even if outside is quite another matter.
During this time of gathering, a kind of mid-wintering, gave time for thinking of the year ahead. I’d planned my time a little more carefully. My paintings almost paving the way for a few exhibitions and events I have, which I’ll be sharing in no time at all! Below are the beginning stages of my work, setting out my objects, my themes. I often return to them each Springtime, so it was wonderful to revisit them in the new setting of our new house. Lately, I’ve begun to appreciate this period of wintering. A time to pause, reflect and plan for the year ahead, when there will be more daylight and motivation. I’m grateful for this time, this year. Rather than seeing it as a frustration, I’ve leaned into it, writing down my thoughts and quietly working away. I hope you enjoy the collection below, there will be more details to follow shortly!
Thanks for reading!
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