Category Archives: abstraction of nature

Ode to Winter,inspiration

Or how I discovered the Snow Queen.

Ode to Winter: I have recently created two fine art monotypes, “Ice Wave”, and “Winters Grace”. They are both a homage to my struggles in learning how to live in a much colder climate than I ever wanted to live in. They are both visual abstract images of the ice borne from the north wind that I was forced to accept as part of my life for at least half of each year while living in Canada, twenty-five years ago.

Kathleen Thoma, Winter's Grace, monotype, 12x24 inches

Kathleen Thoma
Winter’s Grace
12×24 inches

When I was a child, I felt that winter was something I wanted to sleep through, like a hibernating bear, in order to not really have to experience it at all. Except for Christmas, I just hated it.

Until I found myself in very long winters, unable to escape even in my dreams. I finally learned to find some beauty in it, although I would say that I still hated it. This happened when I lived in Montreal, Canada for five years. The first year, I thought I would die; the second year, I knew I wouldn’t die, I would just barely survive it. (Drama Queen)

By the third year, I knew that if I was stuck there, I would HAVE to find at least ONE thing that I liked about winter because I was feeling as though I could lose my mind like the writer in Stephen King’s novel, “The Shinning”. (I was half-way there already according to my husband.

So I set off on searching for that one thing for myself. And it ended up being the simplest of things. Just walking. Yes, just walking about, bundled-up in layers of sweaters, coat, hat, scarf, ugly snow boots. The ice forest near our apartment, being next to the St. Lawrence river, was often coated in lacework patterns of ice on the branches in the trees. It was often so cold that it would be crystal clear with the sunshine making the snow and ice sparkle like diamonds. It would take my breath away sometimes. I began to see how the myth of the snow queen was a natural idea in a winter ice forest. The thick icicles dripping off the tree branches seemed like her hair and dress, while the tree itself seemed like her body. The shapes were sinuous, and flowing, transparent while melting in the sun.

Kathleen Thoma, Ice Wave, monotype, 11x14 inches

Kathleen Thoma,
Ice Wave,
11×14 inches

The next two years were spent with my walks in this ice forest, observing and absorbing the nature around me, and allowing myself to see its beauty, even though I never did go as far as to completely love it.

So, as far as being a creative person is concerned, you never know what might inspire an image. It can even be something that you hate; and yet end up becoming something beautiful. So here is my homage to the cold, icy north wind. I can now sort of enjoy the Snow Queen, because I am far, far away in Southern California. Maybe I should try living in Iceland next?

See gallery link below for more: