E Porritt Carrington
Lillies in the Snow
Lilly works in progress 18 x 18 on birch wood panel.
A storm came in gusting over the hills in the early hours, blanketing the city in white. It caused a slowing down that I’m grateful for as well as a clean new light reflecting through my windows.
Asheville as usual is trixy about seasons changing. "Mountain weather", they say.
Inspired by the warming earth these last couple of weeks, I was painting lillies and Spring’s herald in color. Lillies particularly these white ones are flowers of renewal and rebirth and often appear in mythical and religious imagery around Spring. Most familiar to me is the Goddess Mother Mary often depicted with lilies at her feet.
I have been immersed in Lillies these last weeks, had bought some fresh from Trader Joe’s for studio and home, and have been adoring them, as I am painting them and sniffing them.
In a Bee loud glade 48 x 36 inches on canvas.
It's a strong compulsion I have to paint what I see and feel is happening inside and outside Earth. I know I’m a little ahead of myself here. The snow today stopped me in my tracks. Sort of sent me back to the starting line like when I was a kid in athletics and ran too soon before the starting shot.
This small dichotomy in my very small world has me thinking of this place where seasons do intersect. That there is more here in that, something about how they meet and merge and take a step back and come together.
This dancing gives me some kind of relief to notice. It gives me a visual of how loss and gain interact a lot like that, and suffering and joy. We humans have a lot to hold at once and oh how much this brain wants things to be one thing or another to label, put in a box, and carry on, striving for a finish line. There is nothing linear about it though.
I am nearing an anniversary, probably the toughest one of the year for me. When all was about Spring and renewal and life, I lost a beloved to suicide. If there was ever a grief that you think would bring you an eternal winter, it's that. And it won’t be boxed, it won’t fit in some tidy way and be done. I have tried. It comes in and out like a tide still, 14 years later. And the dark memories rise up amongst the flowers and the beautiful memories come too.
Life can’t ever be but walked with and nor can death. I think I am sort of holding life in my pockets, not firmly but with such understanding of how I love it and how it can be lost and found. And even as I write that I want it still to be easier and for love to come clear and bright only. I want to say no to loss and no to pain. And my no, has no place in a life fully lived. And white lilies are of course are traditionally a flower for funerals and I had forgotten that when I got all up close to them this year to admire their pure beauty.
So I went out into the snow to watch these old lilies, detritus of my weeks of studying them to brush away the white powder snow and into the wind, say thank you and goodbye, and see beauty again lost, and gained.