Midwinter Musings

I have sent out 50+ Christmas or Yule cards this year. Up to today, I received back 5 written cards and 3 digital texts. That is about 50 minus 8 replies which equals 42 unanswered wishes. That is more unanswered wishes than last year, and the year before, which shows that handwritten cards are becoming obsolete. Still, that isn’t the point that I like to make.

Art Cards by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

What do midwinter best-wishing cards actually mean?

I finished my ‘Who are the Celts?’ course beginning of December, and there are still moments when I dwell in the Iron Age. Christmas cards were invented in the Victorian Age, so why should I relate them to ancient rituals? Well, it has to do with midwinter.

Wood burned Christmas Ornament by Sorriso Design on Etsy.
Wood burned Christmas Ornament by Sorriso Design on Etsy.

Midwinter was a dark time during the Iron Age and also during the Victorian times. Flu and winter bugs were (and still are) bothering us and we were confined to our homes. Livestock that wasn’t supposed to last through the winter was slaughtered and one would see food storage diminish during the dark months. There wasn’t any Christmas shopping the way we do now. Would there be enough to eat? There wouldn’t be any stores reopening the day after Christmas. Was the remaining livestock strong enough to ensure food for the coming summer, and would they be able to reproduce themselves? Was there enough food kept in storage for the dark months ahead, and was it well preserved? Midwinter was an anxious time and one could only pray to (the/a) God(s), ancestral and nature spirits to be granted health and see the return of the green.

A Wren Family by Paula Kuitenbrouwer on www.paulaartshop.com
A Wren Family by Paula Kuitenbrouwer on http://www.paulaartshop.com

In these dark times, people felt the need to make offerings to (a/the) God(s), to ancestral or nature spirits. But slowly we forgot about them. In Victorian times, the feeling of sending out a prayer or wish was still lingering in our ancient minds but now was penned down on beautiful marbled cards and delivered by post. However, these wishes weren’t addressed to (a/the) God(s) or spirits, but to family and friends.

I love sending out cards as it is such old tradition. If we all wish each other a Merry Christmas, a Joyful Yule or a Marvelous Midwinter, wouldn’t that help us, despite the fact that we have antibiotics, electric light, and refrigerators through winter? Would it help us to know that other people kept us in their thoughts and prayers? Wouldn’t an effort of sending each other Best Seasonal Wishes, to keep each other in our minds and hearts, help to stay healthy through the dark winter months? I think so. I think it is a good gesture and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

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Winter drawing with winter garden birds and evergreen, Paula Kuitenbrouwer

I need to followed up this with a disclaimer. I don’t blame people for not sending back cards. I am not frustrated or sad that sending cards seems to belong to the past. We are increasingly busy, distracted and some say that sending cards isn’t good for our carbon footprint, one would just send an email or text.

As long as we wish each other well during the dark times of the year, the old ritual of keeping each other in our minds or in the light of a warm glowing heart, isn’t lost.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Joyful Yule, & a Marvelous Midwinter.

Paula

Studio Pictures: MindfulDrawing.com

 

Paula’s prints are at Etsy.

Here is Jamie’s Poetry website, a website full resources.

Saunter through Patricia’s colourful garden here!

Marts, For Much Deliberation is one Trinidadian geographer’s attempt to compile as much geographical information as possible from existing internet resources. Very interesting!

Sybille’s, my Italian art friends, most colourful website is here.

Lilliya’s beautiful Etsy shop is here. You should see how she combines wood with silver. Elvish, magical, very skillful and beautiful.

Linda is a great and unstoppable illustrator and story-teller. Enjoy her weekly blogposts here.

Stay happy & healthy,

Paula

 

 

Peony Time

Pioenroos print met pioenroos

A real Peony, a printed Peony and notice the one on the Korean flower vase.

Tulpen en Pioenroos peony print.jpg

Peony and Tulip art prints of pencil drawings by Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Beach treasures

Beach treasures. Before you think Paula has painting pebbles, I didn’t. That awesome white stone with that intricate wine red pattern, that is dried seaweed. Nature is a great artist.

Desk with 3 prints I.jpg

On a desk with 3 art prints by Paula Kuitenbrouwer.

Dog Sketch

And my darling daughter drew this cute dog. I framed it straight away. My daughter’s shop is at Etsy too, click here to say hello by giving her perhaps a whole lot of hearts?

Love,

Paula

My Etsy & my Art Shop.

Save

Koi Carp, Koikarppi, Cyprinus carpio, Koi fiŝo, Niŝikigoi, 비단잉어, Carpa koi

Koi met Vis Vaas

 

Koi carp, or more specifically nishikigoi are a group of fish that are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens.

Koi carps are mesmerizing. People are willing to pay big money for a pretty carp fish. An ‘Agasi’, the blue koi,  is particularly pretty. I think I know why.
Some time ago I sat next to a large pond that was filled with koi with beautiful colours and patterns. I looked at them and looked at them. I sat and sat and got mesmerized. I asked myself why I was I so intensely enjoying sitting next to this pond and looking at the slow and gently moving  fish? I just didn’t want to go home, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Suddenly I understood.
The pond with koi had become my thinking. Each koi represented one thought, a thought that lighted up against the dark, deep pond. Thought swam in and out of my mind and koi carp swam in and out of my vision. The more the fish got used to me and I to them, the slower they appeared and disappeared. Simultaneously, my thinking process became a flow; it slowed down and became less demanding. I became aware of my thoughts coming and going, like the koi. Sitting by the pond and looking at the colourful, smooth swimming fish became a spontaneous meditation.
Has this meditation helped me to understand the obsession with koi and the willingness to spend a monthly salary on a beautiful Agasi? Yes, I do understand now, but that doesn’t mean I became obsessed because that is a choice. However, I decided to draw a koi-series to capture the meditation experience in coloured pencil drawings. Every time I look at my drawing I want to feel that meditation again. And I hope others feel it too while looking at my drawing.
This happened years ago and I’m still drawing ponds with koi.
I still must be mesmerized.

Paula

My Koi series is at Etsy in print. If you like to buy a koi print without an buyers account on Etsy, contact me via mindfuldrawing (add) gmail (dot) com.

Originals not for sale.

Two Koi with Lotus.

Two Kingfishers with Koi.

Two Koi with a Dragonfly.