"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The colors of a season

"Western Candles," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white cp
"Fall" was today's #WorldWatercolorMonth daily prompt, and the word immediately brings color to me.
To an Easterner and Midwesterner, it probably brings vision of the riot of multi-colored leaves of hardwoods changing as the days get shorter and cooler.
I love those, but as most Westerners, I'll bet the images that comes to mind are  either the lower elevation Cottonwoods, or the quaking high altitude Aspen, every shade of yellow and gold.
Both will "knock your eyes out" with gorgeous, luminous golds, especially against the contrasting, complementary intense blue Western skies.
So here's two paintings today.
Terrence Miller Clark, in the Aspens
Almost every Western artist has attempted painting the Aspen, including me--never to my satisfaction, and a photo of my Dad painting them in oils in Northern New Mexico long ago, hangs in front of me as I type this.
I wondered why we call it "fall," as a synonym for the more elegant word "autumn." Turns out that "autumn" was first used in English in the 1300s, but eventually "fall" came into use 300 years later as poets  used the phrase "the fall of the leaves."
It certainly applies. 
But today, on a whim, I tried again, using just sponges, with a minimum of brushwork. I think it's impossible to capture their real glory on paper, but this was something different, and I undoubtedly will try again.
And for the heck of it...a similar technique for those Eastern hardwoods.
"Hardwood Explosion," 5 x 7 watercolor, 140 lb Fabriano Artistico extra white cp

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