Dawn’s Winter Light

All text and images are copyright © 2021 of Catherine Hamilton

Dawn's Winter Light #1

Light is different early on a crisp, clear, frosty morning; the icy air is denser and refracts light contrarily, from the warmer air higher up, downwards to the colder air closer to the ground. It is through this bending light that the sun makes its majestic presence known, even before it physically rises above the horizon.

It is a superior mirage.

This light, dawn’s winter light, is different again when viewed through the trees during an early morning walk. It is here, as the diffracting waves of light pass through the solid and empty patterns of the stripped bare trunks and branches, that the light begins to dance.

The result is unique. This is light seen at no other time, impossible in any other place. Its iridescent and coruscating colours reveal themselves in bands of blended hue until, too swiftly, the rising sun moves higher and the colours become less saturated and start to

The physics of this moment escapes me but the poetry remains. The memory is vivid.

Here amongst the trees, fragmented light bounds across the intertwining branches and their fingers of twisted boughs; the trunks gleam, their bands of silver playing with the reflective colours, each moment changing as the morning light becomes more translucent. Deep reds, oranges and violets, shift and alter their strength as if by some choreography.

The light plays tricks with solid forms too, as it seeps through the latticed canopy of branches, it bounces on the frozen forest floor, lighting the woods in golden splendour or deep dark violets and deep hues of green. It is filtered by the regiment of trunks, which mould the light into shimmering pathways of colour through the coppices.

As the sun rises, angles change, temperature adjusts, and the light pirouettes. Bands of turquoise blue, magenta and deep orange, become pale yellows, greens and pale violets, and higher still these colours start to disperse.

The light’s dance in this winter dawn is a temporal expression, unknown to the spring and the season’s change, as the trees continue to travel their yearly cycle in tandem with the light from the sun’s progression through its arc.

The inspiration for this collection came from walking through canopy’s of forest during my many travels and during my early morning walks here in Red Hill. This memory, of gazing upon and wandering through the trees at dawn, is captured in these works.

Each painting is about the impact and patterns of light. Changing the viewpoint of the compositions replicates walking through the forest, causing eyes to be drawn up and down, along and through and across a seemingly infinite variety of shapes. The shifting colour patterns, size and visual focus of each work provokes different visionary perspectives and invites viewers to this particular moment in time and place in my memory, to walk through the trees and experience this dancing light for themselves.

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