Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Autumnal Treasures: Art and Nature

"I love to wander through the woodlands hoary,
In the soft light of an autumnal day,
When summer gathers up her robes of glory,
And like a dream of beauty glides away."

Sarah Helen Whitman - Still Day in Autumn
Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. Well, to be honest I guess all four seasons are my favorite time of the year. I like the changes in temperatures and scenes. I like the rhythm and the unique celebrations contained within each. I guess if I had to pick the two I am drawn to the most they would be Spring and Autumn. They both come just when I am weary of dreary and ready to beat the heat.

I love how Scripture says that God put lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from night and that they would be for signs and seasons and for days, and years.(Gen. 1:14) He knew we would get weary of dreary and have need to beat the heat so He gave mild times of beauty in between the times that we feel are sometimes too hot to handle or the times when we grow weary and things look bleak. Isn't it just like Him to put such a life lesson in nature? Isn't it wonderful when He sends us that cool calming breeze just when we need it, that bit of bright color to cheer out path, that blossom of beauty that is so fragrant and uplifting, or that newness of life where hope springs eternal? But isn't it just like Him to let us experience the coldness and harshness that life has to offer, the times of heat and drought that test us to the limit? These rugged times make us appreciate the sweet times all the more and in hindsight lets us see that it is in the bleaker seasons that we truly grow, mature, are strengthened, and enabled. So God in His goodness lets us taste a bit of all He has to offer and we never have to experience it alone for He alone will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) Remember, even in the midst of suffering, life itself is a very good and precious thing. As the seasons of our lives change, so do the needs of our hearts, and God is aware of each one. He meets them even before we ask-and upholds us with grace until they arrive. I encourage you to embrace what ever season of life you are in and to look for the beauty in it because it is there, it may be a bit blurry, obscure, or hard to find but seek it and you will be blessed by the beauty and bounty that surrounds you.
I found a little Autumnal beauty myself this past weekend as my husband and I slipped away for a little quality time together. Now my husband loves to fish and I do not. I did fish with him some or I sat quietly with camera or sketch pad in hand, each of us doing what we loved but sharing the experience together. Early one morning we decided to each pursue a few hours of our chosen pleasure separately. He headed off the the river and I grabbed the camera and went for a walk where I tried to capture the first signs of Autumn.
Although the calendar says it is Autumn, it is a bit warm and early here in our part of the South for real color changes to begin but the signs were there none the less, I just had to look for them. As I walked I picked up some bits of bark, an interesting twig, a large acorn, a round rock, a large black feather, and a few colorful fallen leaves. I headed back to the cabin and set up a little en plein air (in the open air) art studio on the front porch of the cabin overlooking the river. I opened up my new travel watercolor kit (I love new paints!), mini spiral bound watercolor pad, and arranged my Autumnal treasures so I could sketch them. I lost myself in the pleasure of painting while a friendly furry little visitor, a small gray squirrel, kept close watch on my progress. He seemed to be offering his professional advice as he skittered and chattered across the porch rail of my studio.
I offer you a peek at my autumnal treasures. Please be kind in your critique of my humble offering as I am a self-taught painter, although, I did get an opportunity to take a one week class recently with renown watercolor artist Shelia Parsons. I found out how much I don't know about watercolor and it was quite the challenge for me painting backwards from how you paint with oils or acrylics. I am trying to practice what I learned, so as mentioned before, here is a peek:
Art and nature are two of my loves and they both inspire and awe me with their intricate beauty. Words, quotes to be exact, are another love for me, so please notice that tribute is being paid to Art and Nature in the form of daily quotes on the sidebar located just under the new Sounds for the Soul section. I hope these will be inspiration for you as well.

I leave you with these beautiful words from Autumn Days by Will Carleton:

Yellow, mellow, ripened days,

Sheltered in a golden coating;

O'er the dreamy, listless haze,

White and dainty cloudlets floating;

Winking at the blushing trees,

And the somber, furrowed fallow;

Smiling at the airy ease,

Of the Southward flying swallow.

Sweet and smiling are thy ways,

Beauteous, golden Autumn days.

Photos: 1. Autumnal treasures covering the ground at Lobo Landing, 2. A bit of blurry and obscured beauty, wildflowers and grasses blooming on the riverbank, Lobo Landing, 3. One of our river views at Lobo Landing, 4. My painting mentor and art critic, little grey squirrel, Lobo Landing, 5. My en plein air watercolor painting of treasures found on walk at Lobo Landing, 6. A peek of Autumn's glory at my Grandmother's house.


Jennifer Froh said...

Oh my goodness!!! You're art is beautiful! Nothing to be shy over.. that's for sure! It's gorgeous!...Exquisite work indeed!!!

Lenna Andrews said...

Sandy, your watercolor painting of treasures, IS a treasure! I love the way you painted the leaf. Beautiful photographs too. Thank you!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Accckkkkk! And you paint, too? Maybe I'm starting to not like you so much. LOL!

The scene that you painted with words of your husband fishing while you sketched or took pictures was altogether charming.

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