BY ANNE BELOV
December 9, 2015
For some reason, people like to call this time of year the season of light. Really, it is the season of dark, as far as I’m concerned. This time of year, I question my judgment, for making the decision to move, and then stay in the Pacific Northwest. These short days lead to endless introspection. They lead to turning on as many lights as possible. Maybe it’s actually the season of lights, come to think of it.
There is no end to the possibilities that I present myself with, and then argue with myself, over which direction is the right way to go. It’s a good thing I like to spend time by myself. For a creative person, that alone time is essential. It’s hard to find the voices inside my head when there is too much going on around me. As a painter and a writer, I spend a lot of time shuffling around in my head. It’s where the work happens.
“What if I did this?”
“What if I did that?”
What do I do when the dark, the rain, the cold (well, okay, it hasn’t been that cold yet this winter) get to be too much? Sometimes I go to Italy! Not actually, since it’s pretty cold there too, and I have way too much work to do here. (Not to mention a limited budget.) I mean that I fire up the lights in the studio, and work on a painting from one of my several Italian adventures.
There is something magical about being in a well-lighted room, looking out over the cold and misty woods that surround my house. And when I look at the painting on my easel I remember the warm, sunny afternoons sitting in the piazza in Cortona, sketching and thinking about dinner.
Other times, when the dark and cold are too much, my mind turns to pandas. Really, if watching a video of panda toddlers going down a slide doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will. The pandas entered my life when the economy was turning to crap, and I see no reason to let them go now that it is improving a bit.
If drawing cartoons of pandas, and creating stories for them wasn’t enough to brighten my world, the responses of the people who have found them would certainly do the trick. (They like them, they really like them!)
There are far worse things in the world than a little dark and rain. If you watch even a little bit of the news, you know what they are. We all need something to get us through the long wet nights of the Northwest winters. I have paintings and pandas. What brings light back into your world?
Anne Belov is a painter, printmaker, and illustrator. Her wordless picture book Pandamorphosis is a celebration of magic and pandas. She has recently published her 6th collection of the Panda Chronicles cartoons: We R Endangered, as well as a Panda Chronicles coloring book. All are available at Moonraker Books in Langley. You can see her paintings at The Rob Schouten Gallery at the Greenbank Farm and at The Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle. There is still no MacArthur Fellowship awarded in Panda Satire. Read her weekly cartoons at YourBrainonPandas.com.
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