November door

Sometimes the subject you want to paint may not be what you think it is. Walking through a nearby village recently, I was excited to see the November sunlight setting the trees and shrubs alight, which made me want to see if I could capture it.

I thought the splash of strong yellow looked good against the grey walls of a house, and accordingly painted everything in sight. I was quite pleased with the outcome, and yet something was niggling at me. Something wasn’t right. Then I realized. Too much information. I am always telling my students they don’t have to paint everything just because it’s there. I’ve known that forever, and yet how often we forget the simplest things.

I decided to zoom in. I didn’t need the whole of the house. I didn’t need the roof and the chimney, however well painted they were. All I needed was to focus on the area which first captured my interest, and besides, doors and windows are always a winner, aren’t they?

Autumn colour

Almost the last chance to to be able to rescue some leaves before they turn to mush in the rain. These were used in a still life project for the class yesterday, but deserve a sketch to themselves before being added to the compost bin. I used combinations of Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Winsor violet. Also a little Permanent Sap Green.

Then today I came across these in the middle of town while doing some shopping and couldn’t resist bringing them home to paint in the last-but-one page of my pocket sketchbook. I used quite a different palette of Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose and Permanent Magenta.

Pumpkin and Stoneware

Now we are hurtling through Autumn and the colours are changing by the day, and around here, the fallen leaves are quickly turning to mush. However I found one or two to pair with a pumpkin which survived Hallowe’en and put them with this piece of Stoneware. Yellow Ochre, New Gamboge, Burnt Sienna and a little Sap Green went into the leaves, with a bit of Winsor Violet in the darks.

I was also pleased to rescue a few hips from the broken branches of a hedgerow which had recently been ‘pruned’ by someone in a tractor.

Bus Shelter

Autumn stuns us with its colour every year and often turns the ordinary into the extraordinary as it does so. The Bus Shelter is a case in point. It stands by the corner just up the road from where I teach a class, and I drive past it every week without really taking much notice. Until recently that is, when the bright buttery foliage made me pull the car over and grab a pad of paper.

So often in our busy lives we say to ourselves “That’s great, I’ll stop and have a proper look at that next time I’m passing.” So often when we go back, the view is not the same. This is especially true in Autumn when, as is the case just now, we have a deluge of rain in a few hours accompanied by gusts of wind which strip so much beauty from the trees.

Ripe Tomatoes

Our Tomatoes are excelling themselves. The small ones are ‘Red Cherry’ and are very prolific this year, as are the larger ‘Roma’ plum tomatoes, which are actually much more pear-shaped. They are now so large and heavy, the mother plant is bent right over and the fruits are hitting the ground.

They tend to find their way into most of our meals at the moment, and those that are left over and fail to ripen on the plant will end up as chutney which will sustain us over the next twelve months and remind us of this astonishing Summer.

Garden Tomatoes

It’s been a busy time recently, preparing for the new classes which begin this week, rearranging dates for the car to go in for a minor operation, planning for the next three months, so sketching has been confined to the house and garden.We have another fine crop of tomatoes at the moment of varying sizes, and this year some different shapes too. The green one here is a plum tomato which seem to be growing bigger and bigger but not yet redder and redder, but I am sure that will happen in due course. The smallest ones are the sweetest!

Red Spring Onions

After a night of thunder and lightening, I was hoping it would be a better day, but the rain came down in torrents for a while, which it was bound to at some point. I was glad to find these red spring onions in the shop to bring home and paint, although why they are here as we head into Autumn, I am not sure.