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.
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.
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.
Now that Autumn is making itself felt, it is nice to look back a few weeks through this gateway, to the height of Summer in this quiet corner of the countryside.
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!
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.
This is the first year that we have had this apple tree which we bought as a cordon, and were not expecting too much. In this extraordinary weather we have been having, we were hoping only that it would stay alive. To see it actually produce some fruit, even though it may not come to much, has been a wonderful bonus, and persuades us that it must be reasonably happy where it is.
In a field of freshly baled straw or hay, it seems unlikely that one could be overlooked, but this one seems to be making a bid for freedom, having somehow rolled unnoticed to the edge of the field, half hidden in the shadows against the fence, as though hoping it won’t be scooped up and stacked on a trailer along with its siblings. You sometimes see other bales which have escaped in earlier years, their freshness washed out to a colourless grey, melting back into the undergrowth, unseen and unloved. Will this be one of those or will it be rescued?
I’ve been keeping my eye on this field for some time, waiting for it to be baled up as I knew it would be. Luckily I spotted it from a distance as I was about to go in another direction, and I set off straight away, as I knew from experience that if I didn’t, the opportunity would be lost. On one of the hottest days we have had recently, I was able to stand in the shadow of a tree and collect enough information from this location which I know well, to be able to paint this as soon as I returned home.
It is not often one has the chance to paint palm trees in the Cotswolds, so finding these in front of a house in Cheltenham was unexpected and irresistible !