Whether its according to the Gaelic festival of Imbolc or the celebration of Groundhog Day that has its roots in an old German tradition, there are some who consider today – 2nd February – to be the start of Spring. Most of the ‘official’ calendars of our northern hemisphere would have it otherwise, positioning the start of Spring in ‘late March’ and yet I would say that, from an instinctive point-of-view, this week has felt as though there is something – call it a fresh new energy, a rebirth – that is literally ‘springing’ forth from the earth.
To those of us who spend a great deal of time out in Nature, signs of this come in the form of a ‘knowing’ that there has been a subtle yet distinct shift in the amount of available daylight and from an overwhelming gut feeling that there is ‘something afoot’, a quickening, a burgeoning life force stirring in the landscape like the yawns and stretches of a jovial giant awakened from his long winter slumber. For me personally, this awareness is accompanied by a non-specific fizz of excitement in the pit of my stomach that is as distinct as any from more obvious cause and so I really love this time of year and its great unfolding, along with all the fresh creative energy it seems to sweep in with its tide.
Today’s walk could not have been more in keeping with the idea of Spring’s first day, being golden and intense – the greens the most vivid of greens, the blues intensely blue overlaid by stunning displays of cloud. Hedgerows and trees were teeming with birds whose dashing and darting suggested they were more than switched-on to the change in Nature’s tempo. We passed freshly turned-out badger sets and pale-yellow catkins, to go with the fact that, over recent days, I’ve encountered my year’s first snowdrops and my year’s first chicks (a pair of Egyptian geese that have started their brood daringly early…). It seems that Nature is quite decided that Spring is upon us.
To herald in the change, I’ve gathered together a collection of my most seasonally appropriate work for the Spring Exhibition at Gallery Fifty Five (opening next weekend): subjects that include profuse blossom, blowsy flowers, mayflower hedgerows, sheep with lambs against springtime’s long shadows, joyfully bounding hares and carpets of bluebells… the slideshow below gives you a preview. This exhibition (which includes a varied display of work from a total of eight artists) opens with a special viewing on Saturday 9th February (11am – 1pm) and continues until May; so if you can find your way to this lovely Hampshire gallery – nestled in a bustling high street that consists of traditional teashops, florists, antiques, interiors, bakers, fresh organic foodstuffs and purveyors of all good things Spring-related – then do, as a trip to beautiful Hartley Wintney is likely to get you well-and-truly in a springtime frame-of-mind!
The opening of the Spring Exhibition is TOMORROW – 9th February – between 11am and 1pm, all welcome for drinks and nibbles plus meet some of the artists – www.galleryfiftyfive.co.uk