Crisp Air & Warm Sun on Our Backs

End of Autumn's Color.jpg

Time to change my palette, to lean towards the reds, yellows and oranges. Autumn is here and for a short time the bright warm colors of it will dominate my palette. That is how it's been with me since art school. These last few years I’ve added blacks and blues to produce the grays I am now aware of. The silver branches of dead trees that hang around for years, that I’ve painted over with bright colors as though they were still alive. They’re like family to me now who have passed on their color. They are not so bright, but their wisdom is still there coloring my life with both joy and wonder. I see the delicate branches that held fruits and nuts and green leaves. Now silvery grey with those molds and fungi that will clear the woods for new growth and Springs green leaves. 

For now, there is a blaze of glory as the trees weave a blanket of reds and yellows to cover the forest floor for the life under the snow that will come. Mice, moles, insects and grubs gather these leaves in their homes among the roots of the trees we artists so love. For us, Autumn is a charge to visit the far side of the color wheel, away from the cool blues and greens. Autumn is about color, Indian corn, pumpkins, apples, jars of golden honey, and bright orange hunting vests.

Plaid shirts covered in paint are now in fashion. They show others we are serious artists who withstand the weather to get our masterpieces done. Hot cider replaces the diet cokes from Burger King. Deep Woods Off is retired for the season, as the smell of burning leaves keep what few insects remain active at bay. Crisp air and warm sun on our backs inspire us to paint a bit quicker, autumn maybe three months long but the colors are drifting away on those winds bringing winter. Winter drives most inside to stare at the computer for our inspiration. Or some of us will move on from the landscape onto still-life painting and figurative work. Then it's time to change the colors on the palette again, retiring the greens and many of the reds till summer with it's garish flowers.

Did I mention I love those grays I'm seeing these days? 

A Farmhouse In Need of Paint

Uncle Hank's Farm. 18x24 Linen Panel.jpg

Reaching back in time to my childhood, old weathered farmhouses and outbuildings appear on my canvases and panels as I bring them to life again. A modern police station has replaced one fond memory, while a strip mall another. The child in me recalls the rusted farm equipment I played on visiting my aunts and uncles farms. Winter evenings kicking up fresh snow tracking animals from building to building. A fox, maybe looking for a sleeping hen, or a rabbit looking for a warm place to spend the night. The warm light calling to my frozen toes from my aunt's kitchen.

I could see my grand mother sitting at the kitchen table working on one of her thousand-piece puzzles. Grandma liked working on puzzles and my aunt let her keep one under the table cloth in her kitchen. At grandma's house there were several completed puzzles under her own table cloth.

On my canvas a farmhouse, in direr need of paint, begins to take shape as more childhood memories push their way forward in my head. I remember stacking firewood in the summer for warming feet in the winter. My dad appears on the porch with an old blanket, he and my uncle head for my uncle's Ford to tinker a bit on the transmission. Granddad will advise from the porch. I get orders to move fresh firewood to the porch for drying. The rabbit dashes to a new hiding place as I load my arms up with the wood. Each brush stroke brings a new memory, and memories hold my interest in the painting. Most paintings I do are ways of reliving fond moments in my life, keeping me upbeat.