The Art of Seeing: Impressions of Spring through Word and Image

 – Emily Dickinson and an Impressionist Painter

with Mary Attwood  

Thursday 28th March 2024

7-8pm (UK time) via Zoom

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here…”

 A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

 This session will be recorded.

As Spring returns in our seasonal cycle, Nature reveals herself differently in visual resplendence, as new growth emerges from the stillness of the ground, blossoming into colour and vibrancy. As light is renewed, Spring beckons us out into the world again, asking us to open our five outer senses, these great portals we possess – each one distinct in its own right – which act as bridges between our outer experience and the inner richness of our feelings, bodies, imagination and heart. The seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching of the world reminds us of an engagement with Nature, of phenomena, and of relata, the arousal of feeling sparked by a touch of something ‘other’ on the senses from which relationship may arise.

The art that emerged in the period known as Impressionism communicates this relata by taking the viewer into a felt response to our impressions of Nature.  Instantaneous moments of seeing, fleeting moments of time, can sometimes give rise to an emotional, spiritual longing as we are both drawn into Nature, feeling part of her, and simultaneously stand apart as witness to her continuous movement. Similar to the French Impressionist painters, the American poet, Emily Dickinson ( 1830- 1886), captures the images and emotional experiences of Nature by not seeking to copy or recreate it in a realist sense, but rather communicate the living experience of it through her open senses, and her deeper, reflective responses to the moments of its vision.

In this session, we will take just one painting of Spring by an Impressionist painter as we are guided by the poetic imagery of Emily Dickinson’s words. The Impressionists and Dickinson were contemporaneous, and the similitude between their works reveal the joy at the dance of Spring emerging in the world, and of the loss of it in the transience of time, brought to life through word and image.

These sessions take a threefold approach of theory, practice and reflection with just one work of art.  The work of art will not be revealed until the session, but do please bring open eyes, ears and a pen and paper! Or, if you prefer to just listen and look, you can do that too.  These sessions are open to everyone whether you are a seasoned art lover or not. 

BOOKING: Please book directly through Mary Attwood website by clicking here.


Mary Attwood is co-founder and director of The Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, an art historian, author, mentor and business creative. She is co-founder and director of Channel McGilchrist, was the founding Chairman of the Victoria branch of 90,000 member strong The Arts Society, is a qualified practitioner of yoga, meditation and mindfulness, has published two books with Watkins, and published an ancestral family book with the CFHT in 2023. She holds a BA hons degree in the History of Art from UCL and Birkbeck, where she focused on late medieval and renaissance Art and Architeture. She holds an MA with distinction in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred from CCCU where she researched renaissance art and art’s effects in general on the viewer/ beholder. Taking as broad an epistemological approach as possible, she studied the meaning/s of art, specifically quattrocento Florentine Renaissance art, in the contexts of ancient Greek philosophy, the neuroscientific approach of McGilchrist’s hemisphere theory, archetypal psychology and Renaissance artistic approaches.

Mary’s teaching and research seek to offer a renaissance of art and consciousness, through a broader understanding of art, not as an object to be analysed, but as a bridge between seemingly disparate ways of understanding the world and our place in it. While honouring the historical, broadening perceptions of art beyond rationalising analysis, categories and styles, opens doorways both in us and in the image. But beyond this, she believes that how we look at art can reveal ways of knowing and seeing that change not only what we see in art, but change us and the world, and can help meet the complexities of modern living by offering a renaissance of humane values.



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