What colours imbue my vision of September - one of my favourite months?
All around the rich greens of Summer remain, and on sun-kissed days the heat is still intense with the landscape sharply delineated and brightly hued beneath that clear light of early Autumn. Yet closer observation reveals the merest touch of bronze at the branch-tips, and a handful of yellow leaves here and there. A brilliant vermilion spindle tree suddenly emerges like a sentinel in the river meadow, distinguishing itself from its fellow hawthorns, themselves now jewelled with crimson fruits.
The bracken on the hills has already browned whilst along the lane comes a new richness of colour amongst the still-green fronds. Not yet the glory of vibrant oranges, yellows and crimsons; that full garb of Autumn. The colours in this month of the approaching equinox are tinged with a subtle earthiness, which shifts visibly day-by-day, as if by overnight magic, into the stronger seasonal hues, especially after the first frost.
The mists of early morning reveal a thousand dew-laden cobwebs on the gorse mounds, sparkling in the light of the rising sun, whilst all around the intricate grey silhouettes of many fine mature oaks that abound in the landscape here seem now to have a greater solidity and presence than their darker green late Summer canopy.
The robins sing their sad late September song and the brambles arch low and heavy with luscious dark fruit. The brave chestnut is the first to turn and then acorns plop on the barn roof in the heat of the afternoon sun. Here and there the lane is sprinkled with a carpet of bright green crab-apples. Now the evenings close in suddenly, and curtains that have been flung wide open all summer long are drawn across darkened glass by eight o’clock. The martens gather and bats flit around the eaves. It is time to gather in, to harvest and augment the woodpile; for colder days are coming.
How much more interesting the September landscape becomes to the eye of the painter, to the writer and the gardener. Before, all was green, a hundred shades of green true enough, but now there is the prospect of a wider palette; a richness to behold.
Autumn Framed: above Commins Coch
A new work: September 2020