Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. Her abstract landscape paintings document life, well-spent, in wild places.
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Have you noticed how long your shadow is these days, even at noon? As the Earth's Northern Hemisphere tilts methodically away from the sun, we slide toward the heart of winter. This "tilt" affects the angle of the sunlight reaching the earth and is responsible for seasonal change.
December 21st, the official start of winter, marks this season's maximum "away" tilt. In Wisconsin, we'll take in around 6 hours and 22 minutes less daylight than the longest day in June. I don't know about you, but for me, that's way too short a day. But not to fret- from here, the amount of daily sunlight we receive grows as we edge toward spring.
Noting the Winter Solstice as both the night of deepest darkness and the return of light is more than an act of faith. For me, celebrating the celestial cycle honors ancestral longings- and abilities- to figure out the workings of the world around us, and our drive to continue doing so.
The usual pace of holiday celebrations dictates high energy - shopping, eating, drinking, and entertaining, This is the antithesis of nature's truest winter energy, which fosters stillness and introspection. It's worthwhile to observe winter rhythm by drawing inward and reflecting, even if briefly. Give your solo self the necessary and rejuvenating gift of peace and quiet- walk in the woods, curl up by a fireplace, or snuggle in with a good book. Just sitting and doing nothing for awhile is A-ok.
The above painting, Solstice (Earth Tilt), (30"x 24" acrylic on canvas) is one of my Series 2 pieces. Unlike the more abstract expressionist work in Series 1 and Series 3, these pieces are harder-edged and a balancing nod to the "other side" of Mid-20th Century Art, as well as my Nordic roots.
Though not apparent, Series 2 paintings are also "free" in the sense that they are done in the moment, without a preconceived idea, theme, or detailed drawing, usually with no tape or masking. The act of painting propels me toward an unseen destination. I started work on this piece with an open mind, red & gray paint, a canvas, and began by painting a few scattered shapes. They led me to Solstice (Earth Tilt).
You can see more of my Series 2 work here and here.
Happy Solstice & Joyous Holidays to you!