Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Harmony in Autumn

It is once again the time of year for a change in the seasons, when we all start going on about mellow fruitfulness, and the second spring and all that. Well, yes that's true, and the title her is credited to Shelley. For me, autumn is a time for collecting in the leaves, garden bonfires, and hot chocolate with melted marshmallows while gazing to the starry night skies through my telescope.

Fiery reds are reminiscent of autumn, with leaves and fruits showing off their final, and most spectacular flourish. Red is such a warming colour, and as the nights turn cold, and dark, warmth and the cheerfulness of comforting earthiness is something we all seek.

Student work from the tutorials and workshops

Getting ready for this year's crop of autumnal offerings, starting with 'Conkertastic', my oversized conker in it's prickly shell. Going along wholeheartedly with my theory that if you are going to go for something in life, make it a big one. 

 And some seasonal favourites from yesteryear...

Tutsan berries have a fiery hue before turning deepest near black

Peony seed heads look amazing in the autumn garden 

"Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay." 

Robert Browning

As you can tell, I have also been very busy with the brushes, creating more of the online tutorials that have really taken off since their summer launch. As time marches on, and the leaves start to fall, I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by, and how our little online community has grown. With four lovely new projects, sketchbook exercises, the Technique Tool box videos, and the new live sessions all coming in for the website, it's no slowing down and hibernating for this busy squirrel.

Current Botanical so Beautiful tutorials

The latest tutorial, deep velvety dahlia was another flower study that was worked at twice actual size, so I could really focus on the texture and details. Lots of beautiful new quinacridone colours from Daniel Smith and M. Graham were used, and I had fun building up the complex centre with lovely golds and glowing bronzes.

See the technique video on how to paint the centre of a dahlia flower, often the trickiest part of the painting.

First wash of lilac-blue

Building up with magenta pinks

Working up the centre

Finally there with golden yellows and deepest bronzes
The finished dahlia painting

Elsewhere, I have some lovely new big projects planned for 2017. Autumn is not just a time for nature to begin the long, slow progress into winter, but is the perfect time to plan for spring, and the exciting plans for the new year. Of course, for me that means lots more painting, lots more tutorials and getting going with workshops again. If you're signed up for the archives, you can see all the latest news soon.

And, just getting back to that mellow fruitfulness. Conkers are so evocative of this time of year, and remind many of us of our childhood. Still finding enjoyment in searching for these shiny jewels of the forest is one of the joys of being an artist. Only last week I was given some very funny looks by a couple walking their dog as I was on the hunt.

"There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, 

which through the summer is not heard or seen, 

as if it could not be, as if it had not been!" 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Working in a looser style.

This little sketch was completed before I even started botanical painting 

Latest drawing for a shiny conker in its prickly casing

The conker case |I painted last year.

Finding a case without a conker is a bit of a second prize, but still a good find 

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