Spring in the desert – what a beautiful season!
Spring in the desert…. what a beautiful season it is! I love all the seasons, each of them for different reasons of course, but I don’t love winter as much as I love summer. And for sure I love spring and fall the most.
When I first arrived in the desert, I had a hard time distinguishing the difference between seasons. Coming from the Midwest, there was never any question what season we were in. But in the desert, it’s not so obvious.
What color is spring?
Not even a little surprising, as an artist, I see the world in color. In my world, spring is green. And pink, yellow, red, orange and purple. Since the Sonoran Desert is incredibly green – for a desert – noticing when spring arrives might seem challenging.
Did you know there are trees that are all green? Green bark, green branches and of course, green leaves. Most cacti are green. So if the cues of spring are green, it’s hard to tell when winter green is changing to spring green. But they are there.
But the desert is so blah colored – what?
As someone who loves color, I look for it everywhere. So when I first came to the desert, all I saw was brown. The sand, the rocks, the roads, the houses, everything. But then I stopped and looked closer. And without too much effort, the colors revealed themselves.
I saw purples swirling around the mountains and their shadows. There were golds and oranges in the sand. The rocks had every single color in them – bright and deep blues, vivid greens, shimmering golds, and velvety reds. And that’s when I knew the desert was where I belonged!
But how do you know spring is here?
With color everywhere, including all those greens, how do I know when winter fades into spring? I know when the first fuzzy bud pushes out the top of a spiky cactus. I know when the tiny leaves bump up from the branches of the trees. I know when the birds are singing their excitement from the tops of the saguaros. I know when the first morning breeze has a touch of warmth to it. And I know when the sun pops over the mountains before the alarm goes off in the morning.
There are other signs too. Suddenly there will be bees in the air and lizards at the water bowl. Baby birds will leave their nests and bravely explore their new world. And there will be a million and five rabbits in the yard. And just like that…. spring is here.
Spring is fleeting and summer comes fast!
While the transition from winter to spring in the desert is gradual, spring to summer is almost instantaneous. Here at the beginning of May, the desert is spectacular. The mornings are beautifully cool, the afternoons get warmer and warmer each day and the evenings are beyond compare.
But by the end of May, most of the flowers will be spent, the mornings will warm up as soon as the sun rises and the afternoons will be blazing. Before monsoon moves in with humidity and rain relief, the desert will bake under a ginormous sun for long days and short nights. The cacti will go dormant, much like winter elsewhere, and will stand stoically waiting for the rains that will rejuvenate them.
Summer is almost here now.
But there is still beauty in the transition from spring to dry summer. Afternoons will be very warm but early morning and evening will still be great patio weather before the moister air brings in the bugs. So until then, you can find me on the patio in the morning and evening and in between, I’ll be hard at work in the studio creating all kinds of new things for you!
As I’m sure you can tell, my art is inspired by the desert around me. And while my work is very whimsical, I try to make it realistically whimsical. To do this, I not only grow as many plants as I can find room for, but always notice the plants around me as I go about my day. But it’s not just plants, it’s also all the birds, bugs and critters that co-exist with the plants.
It’s a wonderful thing to be able to call my plant and animal distraction ‘research for work’. Below you’ll find a few of my cards that were inspired by my world. My biggest hope when I’m painting is that when I finish that design, it will make you think of our beautiful desert and smile.