Tag Archives: Spring

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For These Days – Spring Thaw in the Marsh

Trees and soil
Tremble on the edge
Of Spring growth
Waiting for days
Of sun and warmth
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Spring Hopes

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…They hold their dreams
Tight wrapped inside
Till the day comes…
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In the Mist

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…In that strange season
When winter lurks
Around the corners
Of every warmer day… Continue reading

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Spring Dance

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…Warming with the sun
Breathing with the wind
Flowing with the clouds…
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Spring Thaw in the Marsh

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…A small wind
Kisses the water’s
Misted sunrise surface
Into rainbow ripples… Continue reading

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Our World, Our Hands

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Thinking of: spring time, when hope comes dreaming… Continue reading

Spring Rhythm

Margaret Mair, Dancer in Green, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Dancer in Green, Original Art

My dancer makes me think of the world in spring. She radiates restless energy, attention turned inward, dancing to a rhythm only she can hear. And she’s clothed in green, like the new-grown leaves that promise deeper greens to come.

Spring has been a long time coming this year – cold winds, falling snowflakes, icy hail have all conspired to keep it at bay. As March turned into April those winter friends did not linger long when they came – but they refused to stay away, bracketing each promise of warmer days with their cold storminess. We might declare that is was time for Spring to be here, but they did not agree.

But now they have retreated. Spring is actually here. There’s green grass and the promise of leaves on the trees. There are buds and birds and warming temperatures that bring the hardy (or foolhardy) out in shorts and shirts. The sun shines differently though my window as it comes closer to our northern climes, lingering longer each day and angling its beams towards where my plants sit, waiting. Like me, they are hungry for its light.

And then there’s the feel of things, a kind of restless excitement that tingles the body and wakes the imagination. There’s a sense of good things coming. As day follows night and happiness follows sorrow so spring follows winter, and after the dark days we are glad again. It’s the rhythm of being, the dance of life.

As my dancer in green reminds me.

Notes: On Color in Spring

M. Mair, Flowers in the Sunset, Original Art

Margaret Mair, Flowers in the Sunset, Original Art

Seasons are not the same everywhere.

I grew up in a place without Spring – or winter. The closest thing to spring was the coming of the May rainy season, when grass grew greener and the poui trees lost their leaves and burst into flower for a short while; when, if all went well, the reservoirs filled; when the sweet sop was ripening and we looked forward to buying bunches of guineps from roadside stalls.

So when I moved to this northern place both spring and winter were a revelation, strange and cold and beautiful.

My first real winter was an adventure in learning about cold and snow and the shortness of days and the slipperiness of ice underfoot. Unaccustomed to months of short days and much time spent indoors, to rising to dark mornings, and nights that fell before the day’s activities were done, I welcomed my first Spring with joy and appreciation. There was a sense that life was expanding again, and we would enjoy the return of green and sun and warmth.

I remember sitting outside on damp, green grass with my books, “studying”, enjoying being in the barely-warm sun with my friends. It was time to breathe deeply and stretch out again, to shed coats and boots and dream of summer clothes and sandals. We were re-emerging from the clutch of winter and the depths of indoor life to the freshness, openness and changing colors of outdoors.

It took me a while to be aware of the many different colors of spring. The yellow-greens and deep reds of buds, the browns and greens of new branches, the deeper brown of mud, the gritty grey and lacey black of disappearing, smutty roadside snow. The coy blues of the periwinkles, the fragrant purple of the lilacs, the sunny yellows of the forsythia and the dandelions. The evergreens seemed a softer green. When the spring rains came they washed the air clean and made the new leaves shine.

And when the sun went down it added its sunset colors to the colors of the day.

The Joys of Spring…

René Lelong, Joys of Spring

René Lelong, Joys of Spring

What are the joys of spring? For most of us, the promise of the approaching summer’s warmth and sun and fruitfulness. Trees blossom again, flowers bloom. We shed our winter clothes and spend time outside, enjoying the sunlight and the fresh air. It is a beautiful time; it is a changeable time.

Sun encourages, rain waters, wind tosses, cold pinches. We hope that the new buds will grow, become leaves, that blossoms will become fruit, that courting birds and animals will find safe shelter to raise their young. But the buds and flowers are still fragile, and a change of weather, a change of temper, can destroy the promise that spring brings.

We see that sense of eagerness and that fragility in this painting. The two slim young women and the eager girl enjoy and embody the joys of a windy spring day. Skirts and scarf are blowing in the wind; the sea behind them is kissed with the whiteness of wind-driven breaking waves; the grasses bend before the gusts.

Each has their own look, their own character, but they are all moving forward together, against the wind. The red-haired young woman is leaning and moving forward and yet turns, attentive, toward the other two. The dark-haired woman is poised, erect, looking down smilingly at the young girl beside her, one hand raised to her windblown hair. The young girl looks as if she is laughing, leaping (springing?) forward between the two women, her movement supported by their hands. They hold her safe between them; she unites them.

Whites and pale colors light up the painting – the whites in blossoms, dresses, shoes, flowers in the grass, all touched gently with pinks and blues. Spring green touches the land behind them and hides among the darker greens of the patch they are passing through. It is warm enough for them to wear only short sleeved jackets or a scarf over their dresses. The young girl’s legs are bare, she wears a white flower in her hair, her short sleeved red jacket adds a touch of bright color. The dark haired woman’s jacket adds a subtler touch.

Even the sky is touched with white, full of clouds. Sky and sea hint at turbulence, a changeability like the changeable weather of Spring. In contrast, the rock behind the three looks both immovable and worn, dark in the shadow, sunlit where it frames the sea. Its shadows give us a quieter space to rest our eyes on.

At first glance it looks simple, like an illustration. And the artist, René Lelong, was well-known and highly respected for his work as an illustrator and his knowledge of that art. But he was also known for his work as a painter, and was a member of the Salon des Artistes Francais.

So it’s not surprising that a second glance tells us there is more to see. We look again because those figures moving forward are intriguing. They seem to be coming toward us, calling for our attention, inviting us to look around them.

We see in them the joys, the eagerness and the fragility that are a part of spring.

The Fertility of Spring

Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, Spring

Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, Spring

Spring is tantalizing. It teases us with its suggestion of all that is to come. Trees are budding, crops being planted, trees and grasses showing their spring greens, early flowers lend a touch of color. But it is only a beginning – a fertile beginning.

In the same way this painting is a suggestion of spring, a sketch really, a promise. The yellow-greens of meadow and tree leaves are spring colors. The lights and darks of freshly turned soil, waiting for planting, are other signs of spring. The red hues of earth in the background suggest fertile, waiting soil.

Nothing looks complete. The trees and houses are blocks of colour – our mind completes them. The roofs in the distance are red, echoing the roughly blocked in colors of the soil. Those hues are picked up again in the glimpse of sky at the top of the painting, in areas of the trees in the background.

The figure in the foreground catches our eye – he is outlined darkly, filled in simply, his shadow lying across the ground behind him. He is working along lines of tilled soil. It looks as if he is hoeing a field, getting it ready for planting.

Behind him trees rise vertically, crossing the horizontal lines of fields and low hills. Only the man and the tree beside him curve away from those lines, each leaning toward the other, and his shadow breaks the ploughed line running across behind him. The trees lend their roundness to the painting, their leaves and branches barely suggested within the shape of each tree.

The painter was Joszef Rippl-Ronai, a Hungarian artist who studied art in Munich and Paris, where he came to know and appreciate other artists working in various styles. His fertile mind was influenced by the naturalistic tradition of Munich, then by the Impressionists in Paris. When he returned to his own country he developed his own style, loose and full of light, very different from that traditionally accepted by his countrymen.

Change is not easy, and new approaches are not always welcomed. At first his work and ideas were not readily accepted.  It took time for them to be appreciated and enjoyed, and then he found himself at the forefront of artistic change in Hungary.

This painting gives you an idea of how he worked. Rather than tell the viewers what to see, it invites them to complete the picture in their own minds. And yet there is a formality to its lines and composition.

Like Spring, it teases and is fertile – fertile ground for the imagination.