Every season has its own particular beauty and, while I enjoy each one in turn, I have always especially loved autumn. There is something about the ever-changing colours of the trees and the fresh crispness of the air that makes me want to take long, slow morning walks and ponder the ever-changing nature of life.
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
During summer people spend a lot more time outside. There is more activity, more frivolity, and while, like everyone else, I enjoy the increased joie du vivre that the sunshine brings, I find myself craving the more subdued days of autumn. The days grow shorter but evenings take on a cosier, more contained feel that suits my introverted, slightly hermit-like, nature.
The colour of the world is earthier and filled with red, yellow, terracotta, rusty browns and all the rich hues of warmth and comfort. Nature’s deep sleep and the bare silence of winter have not yet arrived; life is still in abundance, but it is an older, wiser life. While spring is full of the frantic activity of new life, autumn’s joy is quieter; a deeper contentment of the heart.
Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.
William Cullen Bryant
Autumn is often associated poetically with melancholy and as a time of reflection between the end of summer and the beginning of winter. Or, metaphorically, the time between the prime of life and death, when one accepts the inevitability of age and mortality. Yet, it can also be a time of new beginnings…
Last week I turned 40, traditionally a major milestone birthday when apparently “life begins”. I have never been much concerned about getting older but I rather enjoyed the significance of closing a door to my ‘youth’, as it were, and the opening of the door to mature adulthood (a relative concept if ever there was one!) and a new stage of living. To celebrate, my husband and I spent a few days in the pretty little Scottish city of Perth, a craft-filled and historic place with lots of lovely nooks and crannies to explore.
On the day of my birthday we spent time at the Perth Museum and Art Gallery where not only was there a Wild Perthshire photographic exhibition full of wondrous images of native creatures, but also a collection of Beatrix Potter’s botanical studies. Then it was time for cake at the Oxalys Café, a little artisan patisserie and café run by French chef Gerard Chouet. The talented chef presented my Caramelia (Orange Sponge, Chocolate Tonka Bean Mousse and Salted Caramel Bavarois) with an added chocolate sauce message…
Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.
It was a lovely time with much to celebrate and be thankful for, and lots of inspiration for the making of new creations. And so, I am now back in my studio with my pencils and paints ready to begin this new season in earnest…
A note about the artwork:
The squirrel is a creature that is especially busy in the Autumn months, gathering nuts and seeds and hiding them ready for the scarce Winter months. He was created as part of my Daily Drawing practice and, like the others, was drawn on 4.5″ x 6″ handmade Indian cotton rag paper – you can see some of the others in the series in this gallery. Due to the seasonal nature of their behaviour, I think the squirrel is a good symbol of the arrival of autumn, as well as the beginning of a new season in my own life.