early 19th cent. (earlier (mid 17th cent.) as hibernation): from Latin hibernare, from hiberna ‘winter quarters’, from hibernus ‘wintry’.
1 (Of an animal or plant) spend the winter in a dormant state
Many of the animals and plants have lost their rest time this year, while I have been pulled inside, further motivated by the strong weather in these parts.
In the city we forget about seasons, barely break the momentum of our summer stride, neon lights sustaining our wilful avoidance of the planet’s rotation. Our energy levels and motivations dip, and we often forget to ask why, berating ourselves for a loss of performance, productivity, and drive. In the countryside, no such illusion persists. We are as subject to light and cold as the next creature. The vulnerability of ageing, injury, and loss, sit more clearly somehow. The cycle of life shows more vivid.
So on those days I haven’t been working on my studio space, and my extremities complain against the cold at each furtive attempt at plein air practice, I found myself prone to hibernate. Trying to structure my days with research and method, reading up on this land, on Carravaggio (Helen Langdon), and Ruskin (Elements of Drawing); drawing; returning to some rudimentary exercises; completing some ‘artists admin’ i.e. sharpening my pencils, cleaning my paint tubes, or stretching paper.
Just in time, before ‘the fear’ firmly gripped me again, I remembered the words of a good friend: ‘When you can’t paint outside because of bad weather, just go back to those little interior paintings of yours’.
The more I painted, the happier I felt, and with the growing enjoyment of working with oil again, the pleasure intensified. What a relief…
‘I have a predilection for painting that lends joyousness to a wall ‘ (Renoir)