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A printmaker's progress


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Solstice – The Return of the Light


Day 15-30-2

Stone Circle

Tomorrow marks the Winter Solstice. Beginning in the early morning hours, it marks the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Being an event of significance in the allignment of the stones at Stonehenge, I thought this would be a good time to feature images of my visit there this past August.

The day I visited the site was a gloomy, dark one with no moments of sunshine whatsoever, so I have no iconic photos of the sun shining through the stones to show you. The crowd surrounding the stones created its own photographic challenge. I was nonetheless left in awe of their magnificence and the extraordinary feat of engineering that created the henge. Built in the Neolithic Period, between 3000 and 2000 years ago, with gigantic stones brought all the way from Wales, this accomplishment boggles the mind. And with so few clues as to its purpose and the culture that built it, it remains an intriguing and mystical glimpse into our past.

The approach to the stones was a long one. Seeing the tops of the stones appear filled me with such excitement, only to be dimmed somewhat by the enormous crowd surrounding them, everyone intent on capturing selfies.

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First Sight

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All Those Bright Dots

It took a while to circle completely around the stones, with every few steps offering up a new view and composition to contemplate. While it was disappointing to not be able to enter into the circle, it did make it easier to take photos  and to absorb the splendour of the stones unimpeded by throngs of people. Below are a few close ups and stone vignettes.

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Through the Circle

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Beyond the Stones

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Birds of a Feather

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Capstones

A full view of the stones without people was nearly impossible but the next photos come close.

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Full Circle

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Standing Stones

Some more photos from that day can be found here.

Wishing everyone here a Happy Solstice, and may the lenghtening of days bring light, joy and love into your hearts and lives.

 

 

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Winter Solstice – Lighting the Way


Sandcut Sunset

Sandcut Sunset

              For the earth turns
While the dark night sings to the dawn

                          Too long December

Today is the winter solstice. It marks the day when the earth tilt begins to bring it closer to the sun, starting the lengthening of our daylight hours once again. As we move out of the darkness our spirits lift with the brighter days. For many this is a solemn moment in the year to be celebrated. It is no coincidence that Christmas falls around the winter solstice, for Jesus is worshipped for bringing light and hope to a troubled world. While I am not a religious person I do embrace spirituality, for I feel it is our path to an enlightened life. And I do believe that the light is there within us, wanting to be brought forth.

A few years ago I wrote a post around the winter solstice. It was a difficult piece to write, and when I reread it, it still brings tears to my eyes. Whenever the winter solstice comes around I am reminded of it, of how it resonated with so many, but also of the charge I laid on myself then to live life fully and true to myself. I think I am about waist deep in the sea now.


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Tuesday Tales – Into the Sun


Girasole

Girasole

                                          For the earth tilts
                   While the dark night sings to the dawn
                                               Too long December

Sunflower – the ultimate sun worshipper! This bouquet of sunflowers was given to me to brighten up  a gloomy day, and today I am returning the favor by brightening up my viewers’ day with this richly colored print. I photographed the sunflowers when they were expiring their last breaths. I had kept them well past their best, for they became glorious in their decay. I placed them in the sun to bask one final time while I captured their beauty for posterity.

dying sunflowers

dying sunflowers

Girasole is the Italian name for sunflower. I like this word for it means to turn towards the sun. As we approach our shortest day of the year, we too wait impatiently for the earth to turn and bring back the sun.

Girasole, a 5″x7″ photopolymer gravure etching on 10″x11″ paper, is offered until Friday midnight this week for $100 unframed.
Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further info.

I will also be having an online sale starting on Friday of this week to coincide with the Stinking Fish Studio Tour open house  this weekend at my studio. There will be lots of new and older works for purchase at special prices. I will post more details about this later in the week both here and on my Facebook page so stay tuned!

                                         


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Solstice – Back Into the Light


You can only come to the morning through the shadows.” J.R.R.Tolkien

As the longest night of the year stretched out before me several nights ago, I thought about how just six months ago, less than two weeks after the summer solstice, my father passed away. After a long, devastating decline from Alzeimer’s disease he was suddenly at death’s door. There had been numerous close calls over the years so I didn’t immediately get on a plane to go see him until his death looked imminent. As I waited to board my plane in Victoria that morning, I got the call that he had died in the night.

The wall of grief that hit me was surprising in its intensity. My father had been in an advanced vegetative state for a very long time and I thought I had said my goodbyes to him. I knew his eventual passing would be a bittersweet one, but the bitter far outweighed the sweet. I was happy that his spirit would no longer be trapped in his ailing body but I resented all those wasted years after he took ill and, as I sat on the plane heading eastward, I wondered about the years before. Had he lived a happy, fulfilled life? Had he felt loved? Had he said all the things he wanted to say, done the things he wanted to do? I didn’t have the answers to these questions for my father had been a guarded, taciturn man whom I never really understood. And when he died I found myself mourning for the father I never knew and the relationship we didn’t have.

 The artwork below, completed a week ago, is titled Ashes To Ashes and is dedicated to my father. The poem in it reads:

 And I’m left to mourn

You who left so long ago

Ashes to ashes

Ashes To Ashes

One thing I did know was that this controlling, fearful figure from my childhood had matured into a gentler man, one, I realized in my adulthood, who cared for me in his reserved way. And in his passing he gave me an unexpected gift.

 His death and the awful waste of the last years of his life made me examine my own. As I looked in my own mirror I determined not to waste the remainder of my life with inaction and indecision. I would take the steps I needed to take to bring peace and purpose back into my life.

 I took those steps and found myself by the end of the year living completely on my own for the very first time in my life. My marriage was ended, my last child at home had decided to strike out on her own, my in-laws left to start anew in their old town back east, even our dog decided it was time to head for new pastures. Seeing the light go out of his eyes made me grateful for having missed seeing my father die.

 So the year is ending with a loss and re-ordering of relationships. They are hard to bear but easier than the indecision that weighed down my spirit. The peace and purpose I’d hoped for still seem far away though they tickle my feet like waves along the shore. Perhaps I need to step further into the sea.