The Artist's Year -by Mary Ann Rogers

Issue 98

After a marathon pre-christmas run, only ending with the final gallery visitor at 6.30pm on Christmas eve, the 25th of December is the first proper day off for months!

Since covid, the new tradition is to meet friends for a bracing river swim, followed by coffee and croissants by the fire and gift opening. With family doing their own thing this year, Fifey and I went for a walk with a picnic on a new local route. The weather was foul, and with nowhere dry to sit, we ended up having the picnic back at home in front of the fire!

Seven years ago, a riding accident resulted in a badly smashed ankle, a metal plate, a lengthy recovery, and a more cautious attitude to dangerous sports. The memories and pain have faded, so this was the year to see if I could squeeze my feet back into ski boots and head to the slopes! The offer of a place to stay in the French Alps was too good to turn down, and now I’m hooked again and itching to get back after a fabulous week with great snow.

Some Baltic weather lately has made river swims startlingly chilly and short! Ice formed at the edges, then grew during each cold night to almost create a sheet right across. Once the thaw came, watching the ice melt, break away then clatter down river over the rapids was thrilling.

Returning to the drawing board to complete the handful of paintings which were abandoned at the end of November is a strange thing. Two paintings of swaledale sheep grazing on the wintry hillside are near completion, meanwhile, snowdrops begin to appear in sheltered spots, and I watched a stoat in ermine (white winter fur) scampering around, hunting, just outside the studio yesterday- an amazing sight.

Mary Ann Rogers Gallery • West Woodburn, Hexham NE48 2SE.

Open: Tues, Thurs, Fri 10-4 also Sun 2-5 • 07967550772

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