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The day becomes more solemn and
When noon is past – there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
These are the days we
will remember in the dark afternoons of December, inching our way
home to the beat of windshield wipers.
This is the best of
summer, light without humidity. Pears and figs ripen to sweetness
and the opaque blooms of dahlias morph into translucent jewels.
Morning dews and mists prelude glorious sunlit days - days favored
by golfers, travelers and artists. Roses, which in spring vied for
our notice with their profligate abundance, now lift their
award-winning specimens up to us on strong single stems. They have
saved their best for now.
So has our sun. All
white heat in summer, the overhead sun washes out color. Often
shrouded in winter, in spring, sol is fickle, dodging between clouds
and finding color isolated in flowers and shrubs. Now he comes at a
rakish angle to flood the harmony of warm colors which nature wears.
Autumn begins this month.
Autumn is the
generous, the reliable, season. Its noble light invites the artist
to explore the splendor of the world it illuminates. Claude Monet is
reputed to have put away his paintbox when clouds obscured the sun,
and Renoir did not paint winter landscapes. Any light makes
interesting any surface, glorifying the meanest bucket, barn, or
Yet even in autumn
light changes and changes fast. How often has it happened to you?
You are driving along the highway, and there it is – cattle in a
field, distant hills, suffused with warm oblique light, defining
shadows, multicolored grasses, dramatic clouds- ordinary things in
extraordinary light, but no place to pull off and a diesel on your
tail. Turner could remember such things in every detail, but you
have left your camera home.
Autumn is change.
Those distant blue hills that we see as icons of eternity are but
waves of the earth, no more permanent than the waves of the sea -
the one is sculpted by water; the other of water. Both of them toss
the structures riding them and bury their inhabitants. All changes.
Where once we raised horses and corn we now raise houses and cities.
Sideview – Plein air sketch made in late August from Shiloh
Time Spent in the Creek – Bill Puryear, Artist
The waves of pure
autumn light that wash over us are the artist’s medium in which he
seeks to capture a moment in time. We can never step twice in the
same river, but we can stop, bend down and capture a bottle full of
the whirling, sunlit water as it flows past us to we know not where.