Thursday, 4 February 2010

What a difference the sun makes.

On a morning when there is an inch of new snow, thick fog and a temperature hovering on 0, I am watching the sun trying to break through the foggy cloud. One minute the sky is dark and there is barely enough light to see, the next the sun has broken through and appears momentarily as a golden ball. Then a hazy light filters through and transforms the scene before another cloud passes and it is dark again.
I was reading yesterday evening about light and how it influences the painter. Artists who live up here in the Yorkshire Dales wax lyrical about the quality of the light in the hills; the St Ives school of artists were totally inspired by the reflection of the light off the sea.
Claude Monet regularly left Giverny and went to visit his brother in Rouen. In 1892 when he was staying at a hotel in the city, he was so inspired by the light falling on the stone work of the cathedral that he decided to do a series of studies. It resulted in a total of thirty incredible pictures, each one marked with the time - e.g. afternoon, 2pm to 3pm - each one different and yet the same subject. What he was saying was that the look of the stonework changed at every hour of the day, depending on the quality of the light falling on it.
Apparently, I also read, John Constable called his picture "The Hay Wain" by the title "Noon" because he was interested in how the light fell on the scene at mid day. However, his friends christened the picture "The Hay Wain" and that title stuck.
As I write this, just after lunch, the fog is back and it is dreary and dark outside. The snow is slowly dripping away and the sun is hiding behind the blanket of fog. But it will be back.
There is something wonderful about a hot, sunny day with a cloudless sky and a blazing sun (I wish), but I can't help thinking that the little subtleties - the shaft of sun shining through dark clouds, the early rising sun striking the bole of a tree or the end of a barn, the sun shining through raindrops - these are the things which make us gasp at the sheer beauty of a scene.
However, until such an occasion, the wood-burner is lit and glowing, the kettle is on the hob, the dog has been walked and I shall settle down by the fire. Today I have to get the farm ledger up to date and balanced - so I might as well do it in comfort.

22 comments:

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Looks as though I might be first!! Yes, we had fog too this morning but it's not bad now with some blue sky and sunshine. Enjoy your balancing!

Eryl Shields said...

Sun and mist are a lovely combination, and I always think low winter suns are more spectacular than high summer ones, to look at. However, the feel of hot summer sun is something I would love right now!

Golden West said...

We get so little rain that we welcome a good storm. We had fog yesterday morning, as well, that rolled in off the ocean.

Gramma Ann said...

We had fog a few weeks ago, and as the fog slithered in, it froze on the branches of the trees, it was one beautiful sight.

We are expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight, it is cloudy here today.

Stay warm and cozy.

Kayla coo said...

I am always inspired to paint on holiday, when we go to France.
The colours seem more vivid and defined with bright sunshine.
Your afternoon sounds very cosy, I will join you for that cup of tea.x

Loren said...

I'm pretty sure those of us who live in a cloudy area like the Pacific Northwest appreciate sunshine more than those that bask in it continuously.

Dave King said...

As always, a lovely and inspiring post. You always make me feel that I am missing so much by being more towny than country. I actually came on to your blog to check out the mag' you so kindly told me about, but got drawn in to your writing, knowing it would be so pleasurable. Now I'm off to look at the mag - for which, many thanks.

Heather said...

Years ago we ran into unexpected thick fog on a motorway - it was quite terrifying and has left me with a fear of fog. Mist can be very atmospheric and magical and sunlight through anything is lovely. Hope your books balance for you.

Cloudia said...

Constable skies! Say no more!


I love your post that goes from grand to homely. Well done daily, Weaver




Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

steven said...

a comfortable, warm, balancing to you weaver. steven

DJ said...

My work has become stressful, I'm sneezing through my day, and the future of my job is precarious in these trying times.
If I promise to sit quietly and not disturb your work, may I join you with a cup of tea, a good book, & a blanket?
I'll bring the honey...

Leilani Lee said...

There had been freezing fog here overnight and when I left the house yesterday morning everything was coated in white. It was quite lovely.

dinesh chandra said...

Good post to read and get knowledge .

Regards
Dinesh Chandra

Hildred and Charles said...

We don't have any sun here Weaver, but we do have lovely mild weather (though a little damp and hard on the bursitis). I have found that the rain has made the ground just perfect for doing a pre-battle skirmish with the cutch grass, and when Caspar and I go walking I clear the cutch grass from yet another plant. Everything has advantages, or every cloud has a silver lining, - is that being too optimistic!

Bovey Belle said...

Although I am just the happy-snapper sort of photographer, I am fascinated by light too and try to capture it in my photographs. There is a photograph of a painting in one of my art books and it shows a March day in woodland, with primroses and the light on the tree bark is just SO evocative of the returning sun. Magic.

Elisabeth said...

And Weaver, we hear in Melbourne Australia had rain. I'm even wearing my cardigan in honour of the cold.

Pat Posner said...

Waiting...waiting...waiting for today's promised sun to show itself.

It's damp - well, wet, really - right now but warmish with it.

T&T send tail wags to you and T

xxPat

Poet in Residence said...

The colours in the paintings are influenced by the colours standing next to them. In the same way the sun in the gap in the fog is. It's the contrast that makes the colours. And in the Dales you do get it. As you do in North Wales where R S Thomas spoke about the fragile tembling of the colour on the mountainside.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick - I cannot use the words enjoy and balancing in the same sentence! I have to report it wall went haywire. I had been to the physio in the morning and was just not in the mood for adding up.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Eryl - I do agree about the sun - it is so much more exciting when it is a low sun - but there is nothing quite like a high sun on a hot summer's day.

The Weaver of Grass said...

If there is one thread which runs through all these posts it is that we are all heartily sick of winter this year and we are all longing for the sunshine. Cheer up - there can't be more than six weeks of winter left. Thanks for all the comments.

sanjeet said...

it's not bad now with some blue sky and sunshine. Enjoy your balancing!

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