Winter Guest Post by Joanna Paterson

December 9th, 2011

Winter Light

Creating with Darkness and Light

Creativity - like life itself - begins in darkness ~ Julia Cameron

The natural world reveals so many beautiful creativity lessons at this time of year.

Yes: the days are short, the earth is cold, the fields are a colourless dull-mud brown.

And yet, and yet:

Through the darkness we see a sudden splash of a rainbow cutting through a rain laden sky; a burst of sunlight illuminating that dull brown lifeless field; the pale wintry sun creating wild silhouettes with the bare bone trees, dancing like creatures of our deepest darkest imagination against the barren lines of the horizon.

It is all light revealed through darkness, pattern against the emptiness, life irrepressible through the shortest, darkest days.

And it is not just a light show.

It is a call to create: to make our own wildly dancing silhouettes, to illuminate with shafts of poetry, to paint a rainbow in shades of enchantment, to carve our words in pens dipped in the blackest of ink, dripping with colour and light.

To sing our songs of life, irrepressible, through the shortest, darkest days.

Heeding the call, and creating with darkness and light.


Joanna is a writer, poet and photographer who explores themes of creativity and connectedness with the natural world. She has recently published Earthflow: a book of photo-poetry inspired by places that call us home. You can find her blogging on landscapes, writing, poetry and practice at The Art of Everyday Wonder.

10 Responses

This is just so beautiful and inspiring. Thank-you for this today!

As much as I struggle with winter blues, keeping warm, and taking care of my body during the winter, I find the drab landscape very inspiring. I paint skeletal trees all year round, so in the winter I take my camera everywhere. I suffer when I don’t get enough sunlight, but I love the way the mist looks on the speckled hillsides, the dried-out grasses peeking out through layers of snow. I think winter hits on that bitter-sweet beauty that I love so much and try to portray in my art.

The photo is so Tim Burton…I love it!

Thank you all for your comments, I’m glad you liked the words and the photograph. The tree is something else isn’t it Lorrie? :-)

McKella, I find the darkness and shortness of days a struggle too, and I know I have to make more of an effort to find ways to get outside. But when I do – like you say, the bitter sweet beauty is just breathtaking.

This is just the kind of photo I love. Nothing is more beautiful than the form of a tree whether photographed or painted!Lovely…

Wonderful post and AMAZING photo!

Such a stunning image; such beautiful, touching words…. Thank you.

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This post will be tucked away in my pocket. When the color of the Holiday Season passes, I will look forward to these inspiring words to get me through the rest of the winter. :-)

Thank you, Joanna and a very Happy Holiday to you and yours!

Thank you all, it’s been lovely spending time with you all here!

Cindy, that is a lovely image for me, thank you. There is something sweet and beautiful about the black and white contrasts of winter, and contains so much creative energy and potential… it is the real gift of winter.

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