Sunday, March 4, 2012

Inspiration


I drove out on an adventure last weekend: a gray, snowy day with mists rising from icy
ground, filling the deep spaces. The cold and wet wind blew in through the car window 
as pointed my camera towards the softened treetops and distant ridges. I can clearly 
see that this place has rooted itself in my imagination - deeply - to become the inspiration for my work. 

"Ridges", watercolor 2011




It was a strange and variable weather day. I drove through white out snows and high winds, then suddenly bright sunshine illuminated icy branches and sparkling brush. 




The day was a long, woven braid of sun and wind, snow, ice and mists. Subtle blues 
and grays played with the dancing bare branches in fields where the evergreens 
at the edge of the forests, watched. I wonder if I can do justice to the magic 
when next I put paint to paper?  As soon as I ask this I know that THIS is the quest, 
and it will never be done, because always, the next painting holds the promise of 
some other subtlety I might capture, some color, some dance of light and pattern. 





Warm days of sunshine melted almost all of the snow, 
revealing the source of other creative endeavors. 





But early March is hardly spring, and I awoke one morning to soft new snow clinging 
to the beech tree outside my bedroom window. My bed sits next to a large 
picture window, from which I see the view below. Once, an enormous bull moose 
walked under the window, his rack slowly rising from the earth as if a new tree was 
sprouting there. In the early morning light, he was dream-like, melting into the forest
with a grace that seemed incongruent with his bulky form. 




By early afternoon a warming sun turned snow to water and an endless 
shower of drops and plops was the rhythm of the day. 






Strange how fast the day shifted from cold and frozen to warm and soft and wet. 
More snow came but just as soon the sun, and my late afternoon walk yesterday
 was full of a hide-and-seek light, surprising me at every turn. 








65 comments:

Charlotte said...

Some of the photographs remind me of Hockney's bigger picture exhibition. The road between the trees is very reminiscent of his current work. You have a similar vibrancy.
Best,
Charlotte

Stille Linde said...

Sooo much magic and beauty in the world around you !!! Maybe I would find it so overwhelming I would have trouble to be creative ... Love X

Valerianna said...

Charlotte, thanks! I just went and checked out the newer Hockney work. I LOVE it... and hadn't been looking at him at all, so I appreciate the tip. I've always appreciated him as a painter, but never resonated much with the pool series or even the hilly landscapes for some reason. But these are just wonderful. Thanks for the new inspiration!

Nancy said...

What a day you had! And captured so beautifully for us to share :)

Valerianna said...

Oh, I'm sure that after a long while walking in the forest, sitting with the trees and dreaming with the root people, that you would find your creativity here! If you find yourself in Northeast US, come, I'll fix up the old studio as a retreat cabin and you can dream here!

henrietta (aka ani aka zani) said...

you capture everything so well, both in words and images. i was thinking just today how the city hardly ever offers up anything beautiful in the winter...everything is always covered in grey. the cabin/studio looks quite happily hidden in her little spot. she looks warming...

Medieval Muse said...

You create such beauty...your thoughts into words, your vision captured in these photos and again translated into the enduring beauty of your art. If I had on a hat, I'd take it off to you!

And can I move in? The cottage embraced by those snow dripping trees is perfection.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i just did what i often like to do here in RavenWood...
i began looking a few posts back. moving forward into
the most recent post. your images are often so stunning.
looking this way gives me them, but also a sense of what
your life must feel like within them.
this Place, the whole of it, RavenWood and also the
Places nearby that you drive through is very lucky to
share Life with you.

Suz said...

oh the bull moose....what a miracle to have him stop by under your window than disappear.....do paint him
love all that misty morning light
and the tree rings....I must seek my own in our woods in Galena.....you have opened my eyes to this
lovely eyes..thank you

Velma said...

funny how our weather this winter can puzzle or inspire or just plain frustrate. i love that fifth photo, which seems to get a touch of it all, the moodiness, the glitter, the dark, the earth and sky and the trees so much a ladder.

Sharmon Davidson said...

What a gorgeous set of images! Thanks for taking us along on your journey... it was just my kind of day. Blessing to you as always...

susan christensen said...

How similar our weather has been this week, V. Your photos are striking as always - I am especially a fan of the water droplets on the evergreen needles. Happy week ahead, sus

Delila said...

you had a beautiful walk Valerianna. spring is slowly coming here too, sun feels warm and comforting while walking through the snowy landscape.
what kind of evergreen you have there in your woods?

Trish said...

wow...what beautiful photographs here. Certainly inspiration for all.

ArtPropelled said...

Oh wow, Valerianna .... how I would love to take a walk through all this beauty. Your watercolor is beautiful! Misty days inspire me to create art. Perhaps it's because I like the feeling of being in a cocoon with the mist between me and the world, giving me an opportunity to work undisturbed.

Mo Crow said...

thank you for sharing the beauty of the snow and mist painting your world

gz said...

such inspiring beauty

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Nancy... its been continually surprising weather. Luckily today there is bright sunshine and I am on spring break so I can be home and enjoy it!

Valerianna said...

henrietta - for me, too cities are challenging in winter. When I lived in Providence, I lived near many treed parks and walks along the river, otherwise I never would have been able to remain sane - winter OR summer!

Valerianna said...

I just saw your little google icon bend down and tip her medieval headress at me! What a lovely compliment.

I'm actually planning on turning my old studio into a small retreat cabin down the line, so, YES, you can move in as soon as that is finished! Too bad the snowy forest scene didn't last that long here. I, too, was loving the cottage hidden in snow-laden branches. There's still plenty of snow on the ground, but all the trees are bare again.

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Grace. That's an interesting approach to looking at my blog. I like to look back through the photos myself as they often hold some sort of inspiration for my paintings.

Valerianna said...

Hi Suz - I feel as though my camera eye has helped me to SEE so much better. I'm thinking I will eventually need to buy a REALLY GOOD camera with a good macro lens. Its amazing to be able to see such delicate and tiny details. Hope you find some good tree rings in the forest!

Valerianna said...

I like that photo, too. It was a magical moment, holding the camera out the window and hoping I might capture the glistening iced branches and the moody but crystaline sky. I was amazed that I did!

Valerianna said...

I'm so much more excited by wild weather days as inspiration for imagery than bright sunny ones, but those I love for just about everything else!

Valerianna said...

That was quite a day - it was bright and sunny, but sounded like pouring rain all day on the metal roof as all the snow melted away. The sunlight refracted in the water droplets creating colored jewels hanging on the end of the needles, amazing!

Valerianna said...

I am in a hemlocks forest, but there are white pines, too, and some Norway spruces every once in a while further out. Nearby in a marshy area there are lots of larch trees and other kinds of spruces.

Valerianna said...

Thanks Trish!

Valerianna said...

I feel that way often about both misty and snowy days - something about being alone and secluded and unreachable by the rest of the world maybe.

Valerianna said...

My pleasure!

Valerianna said...

Thanks, gz. It does inspire me soooo!!

southernwitch said...

Inspiring! Thank you for sharing such beauty

Velma said...

cocooned as robyn says, is good for making art, i think.

Valerianna said...

Totally agree....

cocooned in my warm nest, Pasha running around outside and checking in for warm ups, good music playing, cup of tea brewing, a delicate leaf or two for inspiration, watercolor, good brushes & paper - who could ask for more?

Valerianna said...

I'm honored to be the Earth's messenger!

iNd!@nA said...

thank you for that lovely wandering

Valerianna said...

My pleasure! I was JUST wandering over at your place - wierd wanderings in cyberspace!

Lynn said...

It is such an exciting time of year, as the skies change and the earth slowly begins to stir.
The first snowdrops are up here in Southern Germany which promises Spring, though we had a mix of rain and sleet and snow yesterday.
Thanks for the lovely walk!

Penny Berens said...

Now THAT my dear was a beautiful braid to follow.
It has been very obvious to me since meeting you in blogland that you and your beautiful surroundings are one.

Stille Linde said...

Now I have your place to visit in my dreams, Valerianna, so much life here to take care of I do not want to leave ... but when late in the evening you see Pasha watching your old studio, there's a dream visitor ...

acornmoon said...

Valerianna, I have come to the conclusion that you live in Narnia and it won't be too long until you tell us about the Snow Queen. Your images are truly magical.

Valerianna said...

Definitely some stirrings in me as well! And it is that time of year, back and forth from wintery to springy, but, that is how our whole winter has been, odd.
Glad you enjoyed the walk!

Valerianna said...

I had a dream the other night that somehow I had bought a house in a village by the ocean. The house was steps from the sea, beautiful. But all of a sudden I started to freak out - NO! My forest, I can't leave my forest!!! So, I sort of understand what you're saying... the forest is in me, and I love the ocean, but I can;'t possibly leave the tree people here.

Valerianna said...

HA! That's something. If you look at the sidebar on my blog here, you will see Grandmother Winter, she's the closest I've come so far to the Snow Queen, but I'll keep looking!

Sophie Munns said...

Valerianna ....

i'm in awe... speechless really!

All this beauty you live around... even though I recognise it brings you the freeze and no doubt other challenges to keep yourself living well here ...but wow!

And lovely to see where that beautiful work I admired last time emerged from!
S

Valerianna said...

I love the freeze, though. I love that there are towering sunflowers in summer ( well, in gardens that have full-sun, that is!) and in winter we are deep in a winter wonderland. I love the endless views of treetops and misty ridges and get excited by how different they are in the different season. I love waking up and having to be with the fire, and all that comes with living where bears roam. It is hard at times, especially as I am on my own, but the gifts outweigh the challenges so far.

Barry said...

VA - again you have captured the subtlety of nature both through your lens and water colour - so delicate. Have to love how nature plays tricks on us - flipping from spring to winter and back again. From the work you are producing that studio of yours seems well lived in now. Go well. B

Valerianna said...

HI Barry - glad that something successful is translating in my work. I've been in the studio all day and had one of those -oh my, what the hell am I doing - days. I must be in a moment of creative transformation, timely, of course, cause new studios usually do that to me. Hope all is well and that your views are spectacular tonight!

jude said...

i love the dropping and plopping of melting snow. i missed that this year.

helen said...

"The day was a long, woven braid of sun and wind, snow, ice and mists."

Love, love, love the poetry of that line V.

We live close to the sea here...and enjoy it, but oh! I miss my trees so much, and can understand wholeheartedly how you felt in your dream.

I tried to count the tree rings, but not sure if I got it right....over 70 if I did! (the photo made me gasp by the way).

Thank you, as ever, for the journey ~

Valerianna said...

Did you not have ANY dropping and plopping, I wonder?

Valerianna said...

Oh, a gasp is a good response! I have those a lot around here, but more at skies and mists and most definitely one escapes when the owl flies by....

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Valerianna said...

Bought one house... and that was in 2003, fraid you're a tad late on the uptake!

Sandra Dunn said...

These words made a connection for me: roots and antlers,,,
This was a beautiful journey for me!

Valerianna said...

Those words are so connected, too, aren't they? I once had an image of huge trees growing from the heads of reindeer.

Tammie Lee said...

wonderful to see your winter unfolding and nearing spring.
I have to agree with Helen above, i also love this line:
"The day was a long, woven braid of sun and wind, snow, ice and mists."


lovely week to you~

Valerianna said...

That line came out in a tumble. I thought at first to edit it, but then it remained. I like it, too. Made me think a lot about braids... and their particular magic.

rivergardenstudio said...

Your photographs reflect both the mistiness of the day and the sharpness of the color white.
I love the old church, your words, and the way have described this day of changes.
roxanne

Jen said...

I love your descriptions and magical,mysterious and enchanting photos.What a beautiful place to live. It sounds mystical, a little corner of untouched mother earth. I found your blog while listening to my own blackbirds, not ravens but crows, busy building their nests and dancing their crowful capers! Last sunday it was snowing and freezinhg here, yesterday, 1 week later, Spring was exploding from anywhere it found to burst! I too took photos of both days and you have inspired me to upload them. I dream to live and feel as you do, to be more in touch with the spirit of mother earth. Blogs like yours inspire me to feel this flow. I just wish all of us could appreciate her and look after her and ALL her spirits and souls.

earthenmagic said...

...greetings and merry meet! ~ your post ~ quietly divine! ~ thankyoU! for such an awesome and inspiring share! ~ blessed be!...
...xXx...

Ruthie Redden said...

Oh Valerianna, such magic in these images, another world away. I love the silence & the stillness tha snow brings & the treasures it uncovers as it melts. So many wonderful photographs to inspire here. x

Valerianna said...

Well, here I am on May 1st... Ha, a little late in getting back to you!

the "sharpness of the color white", like that!

Valerianna said...

Thanks for all this, Jen. Yes, we must keep dreaming and loving and hoping!

Valerianna said...

I like that description - "quietly divine!", thanks.

Valerianna said...

No snow left now on Beltane! But, still cold and now rainy, too! Glad we can co-inspire. Be well!