Monday, December 15, 2008


I painted this image a few weeks ago before the weather got cold and tried to imagine my Cardoon artichoke covered in snow. The arctic hare is sitting in the "forest" of giant plants looking very much alone.

I wanted to express a feeling I remember from being alone in the dark woods of New Brunswick in the middle of winter. The snow absorbed sound making the forest strangly quiet and soft and I have never felt so alone with my thoughts as in this kind of setting. The hare may be a picture of me alone in the woods, or an embodiment of my thoughts. Or, if I am feeling more whimsical, the hare is my own soul, staring back at me, which feels almost possible in the surreal atmosphere of silent snowy woods.

I called the painting "Miles to Go Before I Sleep" after a favourite Robert Frost poem. It is oil on canvas and measures 9"x12". You can click on it to see it larger.


Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I took some photos in the garden on Sunday. Much of the snow had melted during the night leaving strangely eroded snowballs stuck to plants. It looked sort of like I had imagined in my painting. The weather is well below freezing and will stay this way for a few days, so I will enjoy how wonderful everything looks for a while longer.

A zinnia seed head looking like a hedgehog in a bubble bath.

Snowberries in the snow.

Opal plays in the snow and decides it tastes kind of funny.


  1. Just a wonderful painting Jean, you can feel the chill in the air.

    As for Opal, how cute is she?

    Zoë x

  2. I've felt that complete stillness and aloneness in the woods in upstate NY. I like the hare/soul looking back out at the viewer. I hope Opal's paws don't get too cold!

  3. Hi Zoe. I hope the weather in England is warmer than here right now. Minus 7 is much colder than we are used to!

    Thanks for the kind thought, Debbi.

    Hi wenches. Hope you and Diva Dog are enjoying the sunshine. The cats dash outside briefly and then back in to the warmth. They are only recently allowed out at all since the migrating birds seem to have left the city and the coast is relatively clear. I'm still struggling with this issue.

  4. Your painting and photos are gorgeous and evocative, Jean! But poor Opal! She looks exactly like I feel when I have to go out in the snow: "YIKES!!!"

  5. Oh Jean, this is a wonderful painting.
    I love the snow on top of the artichoke! cute!