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I´m a heliophile! Sunlight streaming through the curtains on a warm summer´s day, sitting out on my terrace with a cool drink, flowers and floaty summer tops. The summer sun warms and nourishes me, lifting my spirit. I lived in Cyprus for many years, in fact both my children were born under the bright Mediterranean sun, and although in temperatures above 40 degrees we could do little but bask like lazy lizards on a rock, I remember the laughter and happy days by the sea. I love the sun and the abundance of colour, positivity and light it brings to life.

As I write, it´s Midsummer´s Eve and tomorrow brings the summer solstice when the sun reaches its zenith. Tomorrow is our longest day when the earth´s North Pole is closest to the sun. As an artist who is ever fascinated by the sky, many of my paintings feature a spectacular sunset or a breath-taking sunrise over the sea or ancient site as seen here in this seascape, Morning Light. The sun drenches the earth and showers the sea in magnificent purples, magenta, oranges, reds. The moon is invisible and the sky is ablaze.

The summer solstice represents the transition from activity, sowing seeds, tending, growth, to nourishment, rest, allowing life to settle down, unfold and run its course. The sun heralds this transition during long winter days turning again to long hours of daylight as we continually travel from darkness to light.

These timeless cycles of life are still celebrated at sunrise on Midsummer´s Day at Stonehenge, my beloved Knowlton, Amesbury, Glastonbury Tor and other ancient, sacred sites. At Stonehenge, the sun beams its light through the Heel stone and into the heart of the Henge as it has done on this morning ever since it was built around 3000 years ago.

Like so many throughout the centuries, I have celebrated the summer solstice at Stonehenge and experienced the power and magic of that moment. This year, Sunny woke me at 3.30 so I was out walking in my quiet garden at 4 am as the robins, blackbirds and thrushes sang the first notes of the dawn chorus by the gentle light of the waxing moon. The dark skies began to fade to soft greys, blues, purples, and pinks. It seems I can celebrate the summer solstice anywhere, thankful for the abundance of joy in my life today, allowing myself to rest now and enjoy what comes.

As you know, I laid out the red carpet for Sunny and he´s made himself comfortably at home. As he snuggles at my feet like a soft teddy, all paws, liquid brown eyes and the waggiest tail, I couldn´t be more content.

His siblings came for the most delightful, chaotic visit. All four puppies are completely different characters. Luna, his sister is lively, electric, into everything, the perfect playmate for her young owner. Sunny is laid back, almost lazy, inquisitive, playful but happy to let the others do the donkey work in finding that ball. Maia, the Roman goddess of springtime, well she´s happy being simply gorgeous. And then pretty Twiggy, initially named Star, always ready to pose for the camera like her famous namesake. Interesting how the puppies are named for the celestial representatives of the cycles of life. They´ve each chosen exactly the right owner.

Dark nights pass and the sun always rises, with or without our permission.

Exactly as it's meant to.

Marja Brown

Landscape Artist

Original prints and paintings as seen, including Morning Light, are available from my website, commissions welcomed with joy.

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