The familiar fall smells of old leaves mingle with muted colours. Red maples, magnificent in full colour only short weeks ago, have dropped their brown leaves leaving bare limbs and branches. The nights are sharply colder accompanied by frost as nature prepares for another Canadian winter. We gaze up to the turbulent sky searching to predict the first snowfall in conversation with our neighbour. It’s a melancholy period for me, a time when I think of artist friends I haven't seen in years and painting trip adventures to locations, now out of reach. Thank goodness for family and friends and the Christmas season to carry us through.
And yet, as I survey the landscape, I feel the gift of a self-fulfilling promise: that after the blanket of snow has come and gone, spring will be in the air and a time of renewal. And so, bittersweet feelings find their way onto my canvas. My palette of colours doesn’t deviate. With time, I have learned to mix and layer the paint to bring out the soft undertones and muted colour that we find by examining the branches and undergrowth closely. That’s where I find a harbinger of things to come, all the while, raising my awareness that I too am part of this natural process.
I suppose the painting, Evidences of Life, 24x30, could have been entitled ‘Hopeful’. It took at least six trips back to the creek location to sketch and photograph the landscape, all the while waiting for the coming of snow and a winter sky, before I decided on a large (for me) canvas. Hope is not necessarily presumed, it effects me in the form of a sense of comfort with my time and place, grateful for the opportunity to enjoy our bountiful country in all seasons.
Is this painting successful? I think it is, and for me that is my first criteria.
The Art of Charles Spratt