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Share a Story Month: May 20th: "The Four Seasons"

May 20, 2022 2 Comments

the four seasons abstract artwork by textural artist gill hickman

Textural artist Gill Hickman shares the story behind her classic series "The Four Seasons"

“My story began around 1999 when the text below, was read out by my T'ai Chi teacher Carolyn. I’d been learning Tai Chi for a few years and I was loving the deep peace it offered me.

 “There are seasons in your life. Don’t try to escape a season. Don’t try to bear fruit when it is time to bud. Listen to the song of nature.

Every year is a cycle. There is a time for activity and a time for quiet. Moments of beginning and moments of ending. Be still and learn. See nature's story unfold.

There are seasons to a day. The dawn is spring, summer is midday, afternoon is autumn and winter is night.

Every breath is a cycle of life. Take in the sweet spring of your breath. Fill your lungs with the summer. Experience the autumn joy of letting go. Be empty and still in the winter of your breath. Now breathe again, for there is always a new beginning and a new ending"

 An excerpt from Tolbert McCarroll “Songs in the Key of Life”

Carolyn also shared a Qigong exercise called “the Four Seasons” in which the breath and the gentle movements represent the seasons.

artist gill hickman with her artwork the four seasons

Watch the video here.

The exercise is so simple and yet powerfully calming, I loved it then and I still do. And for many years I have been sharing my love of Qigong with others in weekly sessions currently every Wednesday evening on Zoom. Contact me for more details.

I loved the four seasons exercise so much that I was inspired to make an artwork about the seasons and the flow of energy within them.

Here it is:


the four seasons abstract artwork hand-made by textural artist gill hickman using papers and gold leaf

 I chose some beautiful hand-made papers to represent each season, embossed them with an etching press to add texture and finally embellished them with gold leaf to express the energy level of each season. To represent the summer energy, I added a full square of gold, so winter should have had no gold at all, but because things aren’t dead in winter, they are just resting, I added a thin strip of gold to show that things are happening, gently under the ground

 For spring I used a rectangle of gold as it looked as if the energy was growing. For autumn I decided to put the rectangle in the upper half of the square, to show the energy decreasing in autumn.

 When it came to mounting them, I was all set to put spring first, as spring is always seen as the first season, but it just didn’t look right that way.

 Then I remembered an artisan couple I’d met, who had spent the last few years travelling between Australia and the UK, working really hard all summer in each place and avoiding winter. They’d made a lot of money - but they were exhausted! They really needed some winter time to rest and recuperate.

This reminded me of a phrase in the Tolbert McCarroll text above “Don’t try to escape a season”

In learning that winter is a really important season. I decided to put winter right at the beginning, and it worked perfectly!! I like the way the gold flows smoothly from left to right.”

Click here to see this work and others on Gill’s collection page.

2 Responses


May 25, 2022

this made me think of how I felt during each season & made me think of my mother when she lived in the South of France, she hated the lack of seasons

Stella Tooth
Stella Tooth

May 21, 2022

This is such a revelation Gill ~ what beautiful thoughts about the seasons, the seasons in a day and the seasons of breathing, expertly illustrated in your work. Thank you for sharing.

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