Andrew Wyeth, Winter Farm Scene
A few years ago, I read a wonderful column by the New York Times garden critic, Ann Raver. I think she has a wonderful eye for the poetry of landscape and I’ve found many of her stories quite memorable. I think the subject of this article was two winter gardens she’d visited in the Northeast. She trotted out this revelatory quotation from Andrew Wyeth which I’d never heard till that moment:
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.
–Andrew Wyeth (1917-1977 ), quoted by Richard Meryman in The Art of Andrew Wyeth, 1973
Andrew Wyeth, Brandywine Valley, 1940
I remember how Raver went on to describe the branches as the bare bones and the trees as skeletons on the land. I couldn’t help but think of the mottled white and black bark of birch trees standing sentinels in heavy snow. But then the passage also alludes to the mysterious power of rejuvenation that lurks somewhere deep in the heart of the barren landscape. All this conjured a beautiful and evocative image.
Since my friends on the east coast are facing some savage winter weather, I began thinking of this quotation and thanks to the wonder of Google I found it in 12 seconds when I thought I never would at all. So those of you experiencing the “dead feeling of winter” just remember that “something waits beneath” to be born when Spring comes.