Autumn Produce

One of the joys of Autumn/Fall are the colours unique to the season.

I enjoy seasonal painting whether it is Snowdrops or Daffodils in Spring, the rich colours of a Summer garden or the fruits and berries of Autumn. ( I also like Winter landscapes and snow). The point is, every season has something to look forward to, and it is the anticipation during the rest of the year which makes it so special. For example, would Pumpkins excite us as much if they were as abundant throughout the year as they are in October?

Blood Red

Growing silently and unmolested by any unwanted intruders in the vegetable garden, this is the largest, so far, of a row of North Holland Blood Red onions. I always like to paint any produce like this whether it is from the garden or brought home from the shops. I particularly liked the range of colors from dark red, through Burnt Sienna, white and greens on the stem. It also has very white roots.

Ice House

Ice houses were used to store ice in the days before the invention of refrigerators. They were perhaps a status-symbol to impress one’s guests by being able to offer them ice-creams in the summer. Be that as it may, Ice houses have been around for a long time and were often built as underground chambers close to the source of winter ice. Apparently during winter the ice was carved out from the river in rather larger cubes than those we would recognize today, taken to the Ice house and packed with straw as insulation. How it worked I don’t know, but it is said the ice remained frozen for many months.

This one is to be found in woodland on the Sherborne Estate in Gloucestershire, (National Trust property), and is easy to miss on your walk around the grounds if you are not expecting it.


Horse Chestnuts, or ‘Conkers’ are always a welcome sign of Autumn, and I can never resist painting them, especially when they are all bright and shiny, straight from their shells..

I make a grey from French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna for their tops and Burnt Sienna plays a vital roll in their chestnut colour, lightened with a yellow, darkened with violet. These are in my sketchbook 8×5 inches


The Rudbeckias are doing most of the work supplying colour in the garden at the moment. There are other things but none as brash or self-assertive as these tall brightly coloured flowers. There are some marigolds which can compete in colour but not so much in height. They do very well in their own little world.

I wanted to paint these before they succumb to the weather and lose their petals.

Grow house Tomatoes

Although these Tomatoes have their roots firmly in the grow house (a miniature glass-house for those not so horticulturally disposed), they have grown enthusiastically enough to be bursting out of it in all directions, and this vine has become rather top-heavy. The late Summer or early Autumn sun has them ripening by the day and their colour changing almost as one looks at them.

On the vine

Our Tomatoes have finally decided to ripen. They could do with a few more days of sunshine really as there are still a lot of green ones. At the moment we have rain and dark skies, so perhaps we will be making chutney soon!

Moleskine watercolour notebook 5×8 ” (13x21cm) portrait format

End of the platform.

This is a sketch I did recently while looking around the old railway station at Toddington. There are a whole lot of things going on there and loads to paint, which I hope to do more fully one day, now I know what’s there. Unfortunately I’ve discovered it just as I am in mid preparation for the new term. What I hope to do is to turn this into a larger painting and write more about the location, but it will be a few weeks before I get around to doing it! Just another thing to put on my ‘Places I must paint’ list.

Caring for Figs

Our fig tree has had access to more light this year which means it has grown and looks very pleased with itself. Unfortunately, it hasn’t had so much sun, so a lot of the fruit will not have the chance to ripen. The rich colours of the insides always come as a surprise, but always fun to add to the pages of a sketchbook.