Meditation: Seasons

The season is most definitely changing, despite the summer waning slowly this year the leaves on the beech  are turning gold and the maple stretches bare branches against the morning sky. After weeks of gardening and entertaining the children, reading in the sun when possible and catching up on other projects, I have now returned to the studio for a new season of painting. 

It used to be that when I couldn't paint for months on end the frustration would nearly drive me mad. These days, however, I meditate on the Croatian Naive painters who spent the warmer seasons in the field and settled into paint only once the harvest was in. This thought, now, makes me feel that I am within touching distance of history as I settle into my winter cocoon and begin to paint the seasons I have so recently enjoyed in all their rich senses: flowers blooming, suns rising and setting, waves over azure seas, nights dark and balmy - clear enough for galaxies to dance against a velvet sky. 

I am not a peasant farmer - but growing a small crop of vegetables adds to this sense of continuity. I sow in the spring, tend and nurture over the summer, waiting for the harvest in August and September that makes it all worth while. Then as I pull out the roots of the old annuals, dig over the earth and bed in the winter onions, I can feel the studio calling. 

And so it is that as the rain pours down and the wind turns chill, as the nights draw in and the storms blow shrill ... I turn on the little space heater in my studio, switch on all the lamps, and escape into my bubble of artificial warmth and light to paint. Grounded in the earth that still lingers under my finger nails, in a sense of time repeating and of history come close. In today's world, when so many of our growing rituals are losing their power and disappearing, this routine reminds me that time can not be rushed: whether it is the time it takes a seed to grow or the time needed for an idea to be transformed into a piece of art. 

In both cases time is a necessary part of the process and the planning, waiting, and fallow periods should be celebrated as necessary steps in both the growing of gardens and the creation of new treasures. After all, the best things in life take time and to everything there is a season.

All images and site content © mjhodge