Morning Reflections

Let’s keep doing that!

It was Easter morning when I started to write this.  The sun was shining brightly if only for a few hours after a rising pink moon the night before.  I am overwhelmed with awe.  There are so many things that happen this time of year that are so very hard to understand.  You know, things like how blue eggs become bluebirds and white ones become tree swallows;  how the strange little song of a nuthatchbaby blue bird painting

is recognized by all nuthatches; how a leafless dogwood tree suddenly bursts into blossom; how hummingbirds find my feeder after a long flight from Costa Rica; and how my milkweed will be in bloom just in time to meet the migrating monarchs.  Wow.  I am in awe at the mysteries of nature and feel so privileged to experience the small and the grand moments that the universe shares so generously if we simply open our eyes to them.

Today I am also in awe at the creative process that I am able to share.  What a mysterious and womdeful journey to face a blank sheet of paper one day and then days, weeks or even months later a brand new image that has never existed before has somehow flowed through me and out there to share with you.

And this puts me at the edge of wonder at the technology that allows you and me to share these experiences together.  If you are reading this, no matter if you are down the road or on the other side of the globe, if we are related by family or complete strangers, if we have been friends for one year or 70…..we can be connected and can interact………………..Let’s keeep doing that!

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A poetic inspiration

painting of early dawn
Dawn in the mountains

“In Gentleness and Kindness”

I was introduced to Mary Oliver several years ago and since then have grown to love her poetry and recognize it even before I read the by-line.  Her writing is full of awareness.  The day I painted this I had read her poem “Why I wake up early”    From that poem came the title for the painting.  It just seemed like such a good way to start a day.


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Morning Moments. the story behind the exhibit

Moonrise“Morning Moments: the Story behind the exhibit”

Well over a year ago I started preparing for another hometown exhibit, painting images of a variety of subjects in a number of my favorite styles, some detailed and planned; others, loose and spontaneous.

Then 2020 happened.  The show went on hold.  Life itself went on hold.  I continued painting but something different started happening.  I found myself drawn to small pockets of time on small pieces of paper, usually in the morning before the noise of the news cycle got in the way and with a fresh abandon, perhaps freed from exhibition expectations.  I started thinking of these painting times as “morning moments,” not necessarily because of the time of day but because I was fully awake, alert, and aware of gentle stirrings that seemed to bypass my brain.  The small simple paintings became heart-filled responses to an anxious sleepless night, a line of poetry, the song of a bird, or the whisper of the wind.  What was common to all was an absence of thinking and planning.

The results of those morning moments are collectively some of the purest and most honest paintings I have ever done — simple, spontaneous, and highly personal.  When the opportunity came about recently to revisit an exhibition time at Glass Growers Gallery, I knew that I wanted to share them.  My hope, my prayer, is that they will communicate between my heart and your heart and that they will stir something in you and bring you some of the peace they brought me as I painted them.

I am grateful to Debby Vahanian and Glass Growers Gallery for giving me this opportunity to share these paintings with you, to have this “heart to heart” conversation.  In my nearly 40 years of painting and exhibiting this may be the most unique exhibit I have ever had. Thank you for joining with me on this journey.

This exhibit is now over.


Marie Spaeder Haas

August 1 – September 8, 2020

Glass Growers Gallery, 10 E. 5th St., Erie PA

gallery hours:  11-3 Tuesday through Saturday; Monday by appointment (814-453-3758)


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The darkness of the morning news

painting of a dark landscape
Embracing the Darkness

“Embracing the Darkness”

I’ve been working small during these days turned to months of the pandemic.  I work fast too without analyzing or questioning the strokes that find their way to the paper.  Some times it takes days or longer for me to understand what my hand has revealed.  That was the case with this painting.  It came after a particularly dark and depressing morning news.  We have a lot of those lately.  I felt rather down with it all, with thoughts like “why art?”  “why bother?” creeping into my thinking.  This morning I looked at it again and the words of Wendell Berry came to mind….”In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, I walk the rocky hillside sowing clover.”  A friend reminded me that clover nourishes the soil.  Ah, yes, I said.  And art nourishes the soul.

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