ArtQuartet News – Winter 2023/2024

Winter Blog Heading

Winter by Sally Parker

Welcome to my Winter blog.

Happy Winter Solstice!

I know how busy you are at this time of the year, so this season’s blog should only take you a couple of minutes to read. This time, the ‘Healing Garden’ explores the philosophy, folklore and healing qualities of the silver birch tree. I hope that it will inspire and uplift you with my messages of hope and new beginnings.

Late Winter Update

Spring Exhibition 2024

Exciting news! The annual ‘Snowdrop in Art’ exhibition at Shaftesbury Art Centre’s Gallery has blossomed into a celebration of Spring! The Exhibition will run from 7th – 24th February (10-4pm daily). It will showcase artworks created by a range of artists with a variety of media – including a few of my paintings from my book and my brand-new card range.


ArtQuartet Events

As I reflect on the passing year, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all you wonderful people who have supported me. My solo exhibition and book signing at Cranborne Garden Centre in March was a special, memorable time, as well as a new venture at the Fairy Festival in Burley, New Forest.

Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden

For all who have purchased my book ‘Four Noble Ladies’ – I hope that my book continues to bring you joy and well-being.

If you are still looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, or are thinking of treating yourself in the New Year, my book is the perfect gift!

Hardcover of 'Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden' #fournobleladies #book
Hardcover ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’ ©Sally Parker

I thought you might like to hear a short reading from the introduction:

You can order your copy here

HEALING GARDEN

TREE OF THE SEASON – SILVER BIRCH

Silver Birch Painting
Silver Birch by Sally Parker

Who is folklore’s ‘Lady of the Woods’ or ‘Lady of the Forests’?

A tall, elegant, natural sculpture has stood for many years close to my garden studio. It is a silver birch tree with a mystical presence. Her natural powers may aid well-being, provide wisdom, as well as feed new creative ideas. How can that be, you may ask? Firstly, I can visualise this tree emerging as the first tree to return to the land after the Ice Age or giving life to a burnt-out woodland as a result of climate change. After all, she is a well-known symbol of renewal and purification.

Silver Birch Collage

The wind is blowing fiercely today, but as I look out of the studio window ‘Lady of the Woods’ is standing firm. Her resilience and wisdom are invaluable guidance for our own lives – to remain strong but flexible, and to adapt our course according to nature’s life force.

This ‘Watchful Tree’, with dark, knowing eyes in her bark and sometimes ‘Witches’ Brooms’ in her wand-like arms, is a symbol of protection. I always feel a sense of calmness whenever I am near her. ‘Lady of the Woods’ is known as a ‘tree of life’ as she possesses medicinal properties in her leaves, sap and bark. Birch water, or sap has been consumed for centuries due to its potential health benefits. Why does the sap not freeze during frosty weather? Birch trees create positive yin energy in their narrow vessels to pump the sap upwards, and eliminate any bubbles caused by freezing. The ever-changing moon and the brightest celestial star Venus also bestow their ‘feminine’ lunar magic upon the bark of the ‘Lady of the Forest’. The darkened bark transforms into a brilliant white light to repel any negative forces.

Mistletoe

At dawn, the oak appears in view over her shoulder. The two types of trees are never far apart. It could be said that they are a perfect pairing of Yin and Yang. A Great Spotted woodpecker with a red flash has landed amongst the tree spirits upon the ‘Lady of the Woods’. The bird is drumming that he is safe in this Lady’s arms. The sunlight peeps through the tree’s whispery canopy and touches the woodland floor. The tree’s roots are winding and stretching, carrying much-needed nutrients to the fungi growing nearby. The fairies are dancing like moonbeams in the mist above the toadstools and the spring-flowering woodland foliage. I think you would agree that the ‘Lady of the Woods’, ‘Lady of the Forest’, or simply ‘Silver Birch’ is a mystical, life-sustaining tree.


There’s a gentle tree with a satiny bark,
All silver-white, and upon it, dark,
Is many a crosswise line and mark –
She’s a tree there’s no mistaking!

The Birch is this light and lovely tree,
And as light and lovely still is she
When the Summer’s time has come to flee,
As she was at Spring’s awaking.

She has new Birch catkins, small and tight,
Though the old ones scatter and take their flight,
And the little leaves, all yellow and bright,
In the Autumn winds are shaking.

And with fluttering wings and hands that cling,
The fairies play and the fairies swing
On the fine twigs, that will toss and spring
With never a fear of breaking. 

Silver Birch, by Cicely Mary Barker

I wish you all a very happy New Year 2024!

Until next time,

Sally, ArtQuartet

Please send me your thoughts, feedback or suggestions on this blog. I read every message – and respond to nearly all. If you would like to support me, a new selection of winter prints is available here

Resources:

Audio editing – Matt Parker

Treesforlife.org