October 23rd- autumn!

I’ve had a week fully embracing autumn. The change in the trees over the last few days has been rapid with many leaves beginning to fall and some of the best autumn colour reaching a peak. Beech trees are spectacular with a range of colours from green through yellow ochre, burnt sienna and chocolate brown. When it has rained their trunks and branches can look very dark, contrasting with the glowing leaves. Whilst autumn is spectacular in bright sunshine with crisp blue sky, I find on very dull sometimes misty days some autumn tree colours can really shine out of the gloom.

I have spent a couple of days at Yorkshire Arboretum this week. It has been joy to really explore the site and discover hidden corners. I have gathered pockets full of sweet chestnuts to roast on the fire this weekend and spent time right down on the earth with fungi. The most obvious of these are the fly agarics. I cannot stop looking at them and painting them. There are so many stages from magic little scarlet button forms almost hidden in the grass or leaf litter to large upright toadstools, so often battered or slug eaten. They are mostly found near birch whose bark can provide a fine backdrop.

There has been a small party of crossbills at the arboretum, quietly feeding in some of the collection conifers. I have had occasional sightings of hawfinch, though the hornbeam seeds this year are very scarce and I wouldn’t expect large flocks to gather. Redwings are very common now, once again a familiar bird in the area. But they are so shy and cautious and fly in an instant. I have had some good views this week when quietly sketching the fly agarics.

My sky project is continuing with well over thirty skies painted this October. It has been a very rewarding exercise which I will reveal to the full at a future date. In common with my lockdown project it has taught me the value of working close to home. Skies offer the artist a limitless subject and observing them is a constant inspiration. The only limit to painting skies is time. I could choose dozens of skyscapes each day.

Redwing sketches
Fly agarics at Yorkshire Arboretum
Sketching fly agarics in crayon and watercolour
October sky watercolour studies

1 thought on “October 23rd- autumn!”

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