Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness"

My bathroom has the most beautiful view, especially this morning. It looks down on a misty pond enclosed, gemlike, within yellow maples, silvery weeping willows, red-brown oaks huge and dominant like cumulus clouds, and an unknown tree bare of leaves but full of dried-up berries and clamorous starlings. Beyond is an old cow pasture richly green, all the greener for a touch of white frost in its shadows, bordered by a wide creek footing the steep, scrubby hill of an old rock quarry. I can see that creek curving away in the bathroom mirror, overhung at its bend with an old oak, and cliche as it may sound, that mirror image always looks to me like a magic portal to another time and place. That sounds so sentimentally cliched I consider leaving it out, but it really does always look like that to me. The whole misty, frosty landscape is crossed with bars of shadow and sunlight. I don't have a working camera right now and, anyway, I don't have the skill to capture that rhythm of light and shadow, glowing color and misty reflection, but I hope my words have put a picture or two in your mind.

I also want to share a few pieces of art from the Tate museum that capture the light and colors of this favorite month of mine.

This 1935 Eliot Hodgkins oil painting is called "October."

Below is "Carrying Corn," by Ford Maddox Brown, 1893. To my American readers, corn here means grain in general, not the particular grain that we call corn. 

"Autumn in the Mountains," a tempera painting by Adrian Stokes, which was first exhibited in 1903, is like nowhere I've actually been. The blues and yellows are the blues and yellows of lowland Octobers distilled to perfect clarity and brilliance in thin pure air, exhilarating and cold.

And then we return to the softer colors and fragrant fruits of lower, cultivated ground. George Lance, "The Autumn Gift,"  1834.

I continue to make little bits of progress on my work in progress. I am working on remembering to set aside fifteen minutes now and then to work a little at a time, rather than hopelessly waiting for the uninterrupted hour. I'm still not in the habit of remembering to do that with creative work, though I have developed that mindset for housekeeping.


  1. Beautiful paintings! I love the colors in all of them, but especially like the first painting. It's inspiring to see what's possible with paint. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That first painting kind of blows me away. The way the colors sing together is astonishing. I would love to see it for real someday. Thanks for stopping by!