As the snow falls outside the window, cloaking the ground and hiding those things in the garden I should have tidied up ready for winter, my thoughts turn to the colour white. Artists know that white is the colour applied to a canvas before the coloured paints – it is the absence of colour. On the other hand, from an optical perspective white light is the complete – the mixing of all the colours of the rainbow. A rainbow or any light spectrum is the splitting of white light into its component parts.
Whiteness seems to have these two opposites – it is the colour of bleached bones, of whitened sepulchers but then again the colour of purity, the whiteness of a dove’s breast and the whiteness of a lamb.
The whiteness of winter also seems to have these these polar opposites – the cold stillness of the winter landscape, seemingly devoid of life, but holding within it that promise of the spring to come. When I look outside the window peeking under the snow are the tops of the crocus shoots and do I also see the first signs of the snowdrops?