Time is seasonal changes, always transforming.
In this portrait, a tree is depicted reflecting various types of seasons. Each season has its own distinct characteristics; through the seasonal changes, one is able to see how time relates to the changes in seasons. A recurring convention within the texts is this change, and how it can affect people, their growth, and the world around them. This artwork, entitled Seasons, encapsulates Mitchell’s ability to portray this through acrylic paint. According to Nick Battey’s Journal of Experimental Botany, the “seasons have, therefore, been closely bound up with the measurement of time, but their precise definition is not straightforward” (Battey). Seasons do not completely define the totality of time or its impact, but they can signify moments within time. Therefore, seasons can reflect the measurement of time and how it affects those that live through time. Seasons aims to exhibit this dynamic. In the painting, the artist captures each season within one tree. The tree is tall, standing strong in the face of change. The warmer colors represent the Fall and Summer seasons. The cooler colors represent Winter and Spring seasons. The roots of the tree are scratched and worn, which represent the impact that time have had on it.
As trees age, they lose parts of themselves (branches, leaves). There are different factors that can cause trees to lose parts of themselves (environmental damage, etc.) Comparably, humanity loses parts of itself as it moves through the labyrinth of life. As objects within time progress, they will lose parts of what they began their journey with. For example, as the human body deteriorates, it loses its elasticity. Hair begins to shed and fall out. Moments become faded memories. As a result from trees changing from seasons, parts of the tree die (branches, leaves). similar to how humans experience growth, we gradually lose our negative traits. This concept is something that Mitchell emphasizes constantly within his work.
On the other hand, the leaves in Davis’s project symbolize the limitation of time since everyone at one point will reach their death. The leaves literally and figuratively represent the cycle of life and how time plays a factor in terms of constant changes throughout one’s life. Through this painting, it reinforces the idea that temporality has agency over humans. Temporality determines the quantity of one’s life and that time is the independent factor in a person’s lifetime. A person essentially has to maintain and move at the pace of time since time controls the pace at which a person undergoes changes. During the fall, leaves turn into vibrant shades of red and orange, as demonstrated through Davis’s painting. By transforming into such vivid colors, it ultimately embodies the climaxing point of an individual’s lifetime. As a result of being confined by time, Davis’s art piece suggests that every decision a person makes is crucial and one should avoid wasting time because once autumn ends, the leaves will perish, signifying that one’s life will come to an end sooner than he or she will know.
In conclusion, Mitchell’s convention teaches the reader that time is a vessel that travels through seasons and moments within life. Although each season is different in its own way, each one plays a significant role in the progression of life. In texts such as Cloud Atlas, A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and The Bone Clocks, this theory is confirmed through the individual growth of the characters. Characters such as Holly and Jacob express the importance that all living beings within the labyrinth of life are subject to change and grow. It is inevitable to resist the phases that we will undergo as people and as spirits traveling throughout eternity.