Every early January, ironically right around Epiphany, I lose my faith...in spring.
I know in my head that the earth and the trees, which have been covered by a mantle of purest white since late September, will one day be green again, but in early January I look out at the landscape and that prospect never seems quite real. I honestly don't miss the light in winter, as the sunlight we do have at this time of year is so unique and so beautiful. But I think I must always be craving color in January, as I invariably find myself in the studio making paintings filled with the brightest hues I use all year.
This January, as so often, my response to color-craving takes two main forms. The first is a celebration of the brilliant and utterly unique, peach-colored light cast by the wan winter sun as it struggles above the horizon, almost due south, for a few hours each midday. A Small Epiphany is just such a celebration--a view of the forest I love riven by that light, just after daybreak. In it, from almost the highest point on the trail that we run at least three times a week, year-round, from our back door, I'm looking directly into the sun, and I'm awed by the transfiguration of the forest it provides.
Dreaming of Denali from Nugget Pond ©Kesler Woodward 2016 acrylic on canvas 10" x 20"
The other way I respond to color-craving is to remember summer, and to dream of it. Dreaming of Denali from Nugget Pond is a view I go to in my mind's-eye often in January--a vision of "The Mountain" as its peak looms above an intervening ridge from the shore of Nugget Pond at Camp Denali, one of my favorite places on earth. I've painted this view often, almost always with the pond itself in the foreground, but this week I'm focused, in my dreams, on the tops of the dark spruces that surround that tiny pond, the brilliant August hillside that fills the horizon, and the apparition of the giant massif rising implausibly above it.