Wintering. I love that word. Not so much the season. But, the word, all pretty and poetic, has a way of making me think differently about winter. The cold, dark days tend to get me down and bring on a sense of gloom if I'm not vigilant in correcting my thoughts.
Rural-living comes with its own set of winter difficulties but also its particular beauties. To have a clear view of the twinkling stars through bare branches out my bedroom window is but one of winter's gifts that I wouldn't trade for all the sunshiny summers.
I work differently in the winter; some days are too icy for me to make the trek to the studio and too cold to heat the large space. So, I set up a small workplace at the table in my cozy library. This is not a place for working large but rather for small, intimate pieces using materials at hand: some 5x7 linen-textured paper, a few tubes of paint, one brush and the happiness and gratitude for warmth and creativity. No plan or expectation, just the act of putting paint on paper and seeing what comes of it. Working on these little pieces last winter made me inordinately happy. Don't let the dark colors of these works fool you--I was fairly giddy with joy while working on them and the sun was shining in my heart all the while.
I call this series Wintering. It wouldn't have come into being if not for my winter work-way. It's a good lesson: the value and benefits of limitations and circumstances--what can appear (and feel) a hindrance or hardship is often just what's needed to cultivate that which needs to grow. In my case, gratitude for just such limitations and less than ideal circumstances as well as artistic exploration and development.
Today, the weather is especially gloomy and grim; icy, grey and windy. I could easily feel isolated and threatened by it out here where we are. But, I trust that these circumstances are exactly what God, who has planned my days from the beginning of time, knows I need. I will take captive those scary thoughts when they come and replace them with the thoughts and work of wintering.