Despite the greyness of winter, splashes of colour can be found if you know where to look, which has inspired the Isle of Man Post Office to release its first miniature sheet of the year, based on the theme of winter flora.
Island based artist, Catherine James, has created a colourful, buoyant view of the Island’s countryside, focusing on rose-hips, holly berries, fir cones, hellebores and frost-lined ivy leaves.
Coming from a large family, Catherine soon graduated towards the woods and fields surrounding her childhood home in the parish of Santon, where she found plenty of inspiration for her artwork.
Catherine mused on how bleak Manx winters can be. Manannan’s mist can sometimes make it difficult to see further than the bottom of the garden, but equally it can simply be cold and wet!
She recalled, “I remember waking up on many a winter’s morning to windows limned with frost patterns (before central heating) a magical transformation with the sight of hoar frost-edged leaves, rusty bracken, teasels and sea holly all set against a backdrop of winter lace trees with the glowing colours of rose-hips in the hedges.
Catherine also recalled the beauty of bright, red holly berries with their shining spiked leaves and ivy bowers bearing beautifully aligned fruits that display vibrant colours throughout the cold season.
The days may still be edged with a winter hue, but Catherine’s artwork is sure to lift the hearts of everyone as we await the arrival of spring, with its promise of warmth and sunshine.
Catherine concluded, “I felt very privileged to be asked to design the stamps for the miniature sheet. There is so much beautiful flora in the winter and it’s lovely to highlight this in the stamps. Yes, a Manx winter can be cold and dark, but it can be incredibly beautiful. Seeing my artwork in its final form as a miniature sheet is very rewarding indeed”.
© February 2014