Winter enforces its own kind of focus on my surroundings. As an artist, I find myself most attuned to this change in focus when spending time outside.
When color and mass are gone or muted, other elements come to the foreground of my attention: lines and silhouettes; individual plants or details rather than the bigger picture.
A stand of trees in the summer presents itself as a mass of foliage and dappled light / shadow. The winterized stand of trees is a study in structure – with leaves long gone, the “skeletons” of tree wood draw attention – and a changed perception, highlighting how individual trees mass together to form a whole stand of trees.
Pattern catches my attention in a different way too: winter branches in wind scratch against the sky like writing; summer leaves heave and ripple together as one mass of green like a swell of the ocean.
Winter’s starkness is revelatory, giving me lessons in studiousness and perceptiveness that I try to remember when the riotous colors and smells of spring herald the turn to a fuller time of year.