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The Collage of Musings Calendar is an amazing collection of Maggi Mason’s collages highlighting her life around the world. Hear from Maggi what her inspirations are behind each of the collage in the 2019 calendar.

Get a copy of Maggi’s 2019 Collage of Musings Calendar today.

December 2019: Winter Solitude

Our house was built on top of a wooded hill on ten wild acres of cedars and maple trees. Below are two lakes and across the narrow valley a mountain rises snow covered in winter. Mount Baker rears into the sky beyond our valley and can be seen from our upstairs windows. Here it is quiet. We seldom hear cars or other noises beyond the calls of wild birds, geese, owls and also, if the wind blows this way, the distant melancholy wail of the trains as they travel up to Canada. When the snow falls, the garden is still and quiet, and covered in virgin snow. Coyotes pass through, as in my collage, as do deer and even very occasionally a mountain lion swinging its heavy tail from side to side. In this world of noise and busyness I have tried to reflect the feeling here in this art piece of peace, solitude and love of wild life.

November 2019: Night Owl

Surrounded by thick woods as we are we often catch sight of owls on our property. Either they perch on a favorite branch outside our den window, or sometimes on the roof rack of our car, on the apex of the shed roof, or just flying by from one tree to another. At night we hear their haunting cries from one direction or another. They cry more often when the moon is high and the air still. I have anxiously watched a mother owl teaching her youngster to track small birds at the feeder and focus their attention on the little Douglas squirrels. This collage, though, was inspired by the eerie sweep of an owl’s spread wings cutting through the moonlit woods in pursuit of some unknown prey. There is such majesty in this bird’s power and purpose.

October 2019: Scarecrow Choir

A moment of imaginary fun! What if all the scarecrows in the neighborhood met up after dark and formed a make-shift choir. Add a few lanterns, the full moon, and leafless tree branches, and you have a lively and friendly moment. What song would they be singing? Not a hymn surely, or the Hallelujah chorus, or an anthem, however patriotic. Perhaps they are singing a bawdy pub song, a sea shanty, or even “Delilah” or “Hey, Jude”. Whatever it is, they are all into it heart and soul. A welcome break from hours of forced silence in the middle of the cornfield with pesky crows all around. Imagination can be such fun if you can let yourself go.

September 2019: Oriental Cranes

The oriental crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth throughout Asian countries. The Japanese legend of the Grateful Crane tells the story of a crane rescued from a trap who returns to her rescuer’s home in human form. There she weaves a beautiful silk cloth for him out of her own feathers before flying off with a cloud of migrating cranes never to be seen again. So many terrible things are done to helpless animals by humans and how anyone can hurt such lovely creatures is beyond my comprehension. I often think if I can just show the world the beauty of wild life in my artwork perhaps somehow people will take note and protect our wild heritage.

August 2019: Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are a continual source of inspiration to me and I often choose to either paint or collage them. These beautiful little creatures exhibit such fortitude and endurance under huge odds. Distance, weather, human interference and danger from predators dog them at every turn, and yet in their thousands they brave all those odds to get to their journey’s end. I watch the few who arrive in my garden, maybe by mistake, and enjoy the brilliance of their colors and their still moments of rest on my Buddleia bushes and I wonder and hope for them as they catch the breeze and flutter off to continue their uncertain travels.

July 2019: Lavender

My husband and I spent three years living in Provence, in the Luberon valley in France. In the springtime the cherry trees were in radiant bloom, and then came the lavender fields in the height of summer, and the grapes and tomatoes drying on the vines in the hot sun. We watched the women sitting astride the raised beds in the spring planting fresh lavender starters in rows in the fields. They would shuffle along each perfect line as they planted. Later we would go down to the village and as we filled our jugs with the local wine from taps we could smell the fragrant lavender being processed into soaps and perfumes. Lavender would magically appear everywhere, in sachets, in vases, in cooking and in sweet smelling candles. The local rolling hills all around lay like carpet of purple and green.

Clematis

Jun 2019: Clematis

In my Pacific North West garden I have two beautiful Clematis Alpina with the bright blue nodding flowers and yellow bell-like centers. Recently we decided to rebuild our back deck so reluctantly I had to sacrifice the one spreading blue Clematis which climbed along the railings. I felt sad as I cut it down and threw the discarded stems into the woods. I kept remembering with gratitude the times I spent sitting on the deck with a book under the shade of the Clematis and listening to the bees and Hummingbirds working around the flowers. Much later as I walked by I was so happy and surprised to see that one sprig of my lovely Clematis had self-rooted there in the woods from discarded stems. At the base of the deck a new plant was also springing up from the old root. Life is like that, new joys and experiences spring unexpectedly from old pain and sad memories.

May 2019: Glazing into the Water

I have always been fascinated by the notion that two people who are close can look at the same thing and yet see such different images, or have such different thoughts about what they see. In my picture “Gazing into the water” I am reminded of my sister and I, both creative people, but in a situation like this my thoughts would extend to other water inspired paintings yet untried, and how I might portray them. My sister, on the other hand, would probably be analyzing how she could use words best to describe the actual water she is gazing into at that moment. If only we could all accept and enjoy these types of differences between people the world would be a calmer and freer place.

Apr 2019: Sweet Peas (Lathyrus Odoratus)

Sweet peas, my favorite early summer flowers, fill my garden with their haunting scent. Their fragile colors harmonize from a deep purple to the lighter, softer shades.
Just before she passed away, Pat, my best friend in Wales, gave me an envelope full of her deep purple sweet pea seeds. Every year afterward, I planted them in her memory and saved the seeds. When I returned to America in 2005, I brought my precious seeds with me and grew them here in the Skagit Valley. They give me pleasure both to see and to smell and provide me with endless inspiration for floral paintings and collages.

Mar 2019: Afternoon of the Hares

A collage dedicated to the brown hares (Lepus Europaeus).

On of my favorite legends is that of St. Melangell of Pennant Melangell, Wales. She, a young woman who fled Ireland to escape an arranged marriage, ended up in a beautiful, isolated green valley, surrounded by wooded mountains and crossed by a running stream. There she erected a rough woodland shelter and spent her days rescuing hares. The hares were being hunted almost to extinction by local lords and their henchmen.

One lord, admiring her courage and beauty, built a stone shelter for her and her rescued hares, and then banned hare hunting in the valley to this day. The stone sanctuary, incorporated now into a church, is filled with carvings of hares, and in the original quiet space, light slants in through arched windows, and you immediately feel a mystical serenity.

Feb 2019: Flight of Fancy

In this picture I tried to show how one can move from a safe and known present, up the hill, to an unknown future. The climb is difficult often but there are resting places on the way to stop and enjoy the view. If you ae like me, no matter how hard the climb and how many moments of despair you feel, you keep thinking about what could be ahead. What fabulous scenes you might see spread out when you finally approach the top. What if the surprise at the top was something lovely you never imagined possible, and what if along the way you met some wonderful people who could change your life with their friendships?

Clematis

Jan 2019: Winter Sunset Bird

Robert Frost’s poem “Looking for a sunset bird in winter” describes his move through the winter snow in the evening, and thinking he saw a bird land in a tree. He walked around the tree but could not see or hear the bird any more, just one piercing star in the sky. Later in summer he saw the bird again in the tree “singing… sweet and swift”. In reading the poem I felt in my own heart the bitter cold, the soft swish of snowshoes moving past the tree all shed of its leaves except for one dead leaf still hanging, and the sudden glimpse of a bird which seemed merely as a flick of imagination. Then later in the warmth of the summer sun there was the singing bird in the same tree now heavy with leaves, and pregnant with life. So, in life, when things are rough we yearn for a hopeful sign, impatient for the inevitable surge of renewed life again as summer approaches.

Get a copy of Maggi’s 2019 Collage of Musings Calendartoday.
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