Abstract painting in soft yellow and green

Painting #20 of my 100 Square Project. “Eternal Sunshine”, 10×10″ mixed media on wood panel.

I live in Canada. I love Canada… there are a lot of wonderful things about living here that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But there is one thing that I can’t say I love. Winter.

I don’t mind the cold so much. Like many Canadians, I own two winter coats. One for days where the temp hovers around the 0 mark, and another that has special insulated lining and a hood made to keep me warm(ish) when it’s -20° outside. And a brisk winter day when the sun is shining on fresh snow and ice is magical. Everything sparkles. But the time when the sun is actually out is brief, and as we head toward Christmas, actual daylight hours get progressively shorter.

There is a stretch in December when the days seem practically non-existent. It’s dark when I get to work. It’s dark when I leave. It starts getting dark at 4 in the afternoon, and once I’m home the last thing I want to do is go out again. I force myself to go outside on my lunch breaks, because no matter how cold it is, I need to see the sun for at least a few minutes a day. If only to reassure myself it still exists.

A few years ago I bought myself a sunlamp. They are made for treating people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition where the lack of light makes you depressed. Yes, that is a real thing. My doctor recommended it, and I figured even if it didn’t help with my mood, I needed a good light in my studio anyway.  Turns out it does help. I use it year round, though in the summer I tend to work on larger pieces on my easel at the window. I have it on my work table, and it’s on whenever I’m working at the table. Sometimes I’ll even go in there to read, because I need a dose of light.

I’m planning on moving my studio into a larger room in my home at some point in the future. The bigger paintings I have been working on take up so much space in my small room that I can hardly move in there. Since we have the space, I might as well make use of it. My only issue is the room is in the basement, and the lighting is pretty crappy. Once we fix that, it’s a go. Right now I’m wondering if they make those sunlamps so they can be mounted on the ceiling. I could have a sunny studio all year round, even though it’s underground. Lighting has come a long way with the invention of LED lights. I’ll sort it out eventually. In the meantime, I will dream of eternal sunshine.