Playing with Not Knowing and Winter

January 19th, 2009


O.k., it's winter in New England, so I shouldn't be surprised by the snow we're getting whopped with here. But here I am, feeling surprised by all this snow. Why do I live here, again? Anyways, from inside my warm apartment, where the hubster has made delicious blueberry pancakes, the snow does look oh so pretty. As long as I never have to go outside...

Well, tomorrow I need to get myself to the post office to send off some artwork and calendars, so pretending I'm a hibernating bear won't work much longer.

I do appreciate the seasons, the cycles we have here, and no matter how many times I've gone through them, it still feels a bit new every time.

So I decide to play with the fun parts of winter, the child-like sense of wonder that manages to creep in when the world turns white. I play with winter by drawing fun snowmen with cats on their hats, wrapping up in colorful scarves, drinking hot chocolate...and maybe I need to find a sled. :-)


In the Key to Winter painting, I worked out some of my feelings about the season. It seems like I work out so much of my innerworkings through my art. If I let myself just play, sketch, and wander with color, whatever is going on in my head eventually comes to the surface. (I just sent out the first print of this painting and I love the way it came out!)


I've drawn this image of smoke from upside-down houses a couple times now. One time the smoke seemed to come from the woman's heart and this time from her hair. What's that all about? Don't know. I might not ever know. It could be something I'm processing or something utterly absurd or a little of both. Heh.

Part of creating is embracing the not knowing.

While you're playing with your creativity this month, experiment with not knowing. You could try creating a piece of artwork with no plan, just taking pen to paper and see what happens. You could tear through some magazines and tear out any image that catches your eye (don't question, just tear). Perhaps put these images together in an art journal and then write a bit about what you see in the imagery.

Later this week, I'm going to write more about one of my favorite ways to play with not knowing...doodling! Til then, toodaloo!

23 Responses

Embracing the not knowing – that’s brilliant, and oh so true of many of the most fun moments.

Surprising snow is right, after some warmer winters. Nice post!

My first gut reaction to your beautiful sketch of the girl and the four upside down houses–was that those lines coming out of the chimneys attached to her hair were cords and not smoke. I took it right away as attachment to something.

Your work is really moving and evolving–it says so much and speaks so directly to my heart. Each photo you post I really sit with it for awhile. Beautiful Leah–winter really compliments you.

Peace & Love.

Oh my the hubster is creative too!! Blueberry pancakes – delicious – it takes me right back to my first visit to the States (New York)in the mid 80’s and having blueberry pancakes for breakfast one very cold -10 February morning!!! I love your winter wonderland!

Great stuff Leah! I really love the painting Key To Winter taht I found very immaginative and poetic.
Thanks for sharing your works.

Lovely painting!
You are right on time with your posts! Last night I was fiddling with stuffed hands…again. I want to make a stuffed doll. I have a visual of what I want but am trying not to get attatched since this new to me. My hubby was asking me what I was doing making hands…then…why are you unstuffing them again…what are you doing with pipe cleaners…I told him to hush that I was just playing. In the end we were both pleasantly surprised with groovy new pair of comical bendable hands! Not knowing how this is all going to work is kind of exiciting!

Do send some snow over here – it looks like the odd frost and hail storm is all the white winter will be bringing to Bristol this year…

Being a bear in hibernation is a wonderful thing to be!

(Oh and I still absolutely adore that painting…)

If I ever win the lottery and its still for sale… I’ll be buying it…

the painting is wonderful! and i agree with sloane about your timing. in my case, it has been very cold and gray, with no snow. so instead of crawling in bed with a book last night i got out the red paint and started playing. reenergized me right away!

go out and make a snow angel for me :)

I am so very fascinated by your beautiful sketch of the girl with the smoky hair. You really did a fabulous job with the texture of the hair and the smoke. Great work!

you are such an amazing artist and inspiration to me! i hope you get out of the snow soon so you can send my the print i just ordered :-) “the key to winter” paired with the camus quote resonated so deeply!! can’t wait to see it in person. xo

I feel honored that you left a comment on my blog…I LOVE your work and your blog. Pam

I adore all of these images. Cat/hat/snowman. The Key and the roots below the snow. The smoke becoming the hair… maybe the houses aren’t upside down, maybe the girl is upside down and she’s just seeing the world that way?

And I think I’m afraid to not even have an idea when I sit down. Afraid it won’t come out right.

I’m okay with it not matching my vision, but to sit down without one… I’ve done it before, but right now it scares me.

Leah, your work is beautiful,lyrical, fascinating. I would love to wander in your brain to see how it creates these amazing images/ideas. Your images are not only about what’s above the surface, but what lies beneath as well….

Oh, these are so wonderful! I LOVE the cat on the snowman, and I really like the smoke/hair woman, too. Aw, heck – love the winter key piece, too. This is so fabulous!

And how wonderful! While scrolling down to the comment box, I saw on the left where you are in the Life is a Verb book. I just got that recently – have not yet read it, but how fun to know you are there!

Leah, I’m fascinated by your work and these two pieces are very compelling. They both make me think and ponder…
Thanks for sharing!

Even home—that vessel
for so much she holds
dear—cannot contain
everything. As she moves
amidst the familiar
clutter of everyday
life, she dips her brush into
her longing and attempts to paint
the ineffable. And oh,
how her emotions soar,
expanding outward in a lacy
arabesque, as her hands
dance with her chosen
materials. She invokes
Beauty’s grace and senses
those in homes, far
and near, emitting their own
pheromones of desire.
She paints, then, with
a steady hand, knowing
other hearts and minds
sustain her in this
web of

“Key to Winter” is gorgeous!!! I can relate very much with “not knowing.” My art always works that way, beginning with a black page.. and grabbing a color that moves me in the moment.. and building from there. Life seems to work that way most often too. Like the Fool card in the tarot deck, the universe always present, providing support beneath my dancing feet.

Everyday the universe speaks to me /sends me a sign. Today it was your “Key to Winter”

I have no doubt, that you are a mermaid moon goddess!

I’ve been able to play with “not knowing” in the sphere of creative writing, but never with drawing/painting…so clearly this is a challenge I should work on!

What a beautiful painting…love your explanation too. Just found your blog…will be back to read more!

“Part of creating is embracing the not knowing.”

SO many good and thoughtful ideas! Important onces!

Beautiful painting. I just love the whimsey of your work.

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