Autumn’s Red Hues

October 18, 2013

“We love to see any redness in the vegetation of the temperate zone.  It is the color of colors.”
— Henry David Thoreau, October, or Autumnal Tints

Looking down the street where I live

Looking down the street where I live

“As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”
— Henry David Thoreau, October, or Autumnal Tints

We are certainly seeing the sunset colors of October in our Seattle foliage right now.  These are some of the things I see as I walk around my neighborhood:
Looking down Corliss Ave N

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Jeweled leaves on bushes

Jeweled leaves on bushes

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Canna leaf

Grape leaves with grapes

Carpet of red

Fall
by Edward Hirsch

Fall, falling, fallen. That’s the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer’s
Sprawling past and winter’s hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

Growing Grapes

July 24, 2013

Micro-vineyard on Bonnie's Skagit Valley farm

Micro-vineyard on Bonnie’s Skagit Valley farm

Bonnie’s husband, Mike, grows grapes in a tiny vineyard on the farm.  The sun shining through the leaves reminded me of stained glass windows.

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Keeping the tension on the fence wires

My watercolor sketch of grape leaves

My watercolor sketch of grape leaves

Tower of David, the walled Old City of Jerusalem

Tower of David, the walled Old City of Jerusalem

Rooftop view of the Old City of Jerusalem from atop the Austrian hospice

Rooftop view of the Old City of Jerusalem from above the Armenian Cafe

The Old City of Jerusalem is a labyrinth of narrow streets contained in a walled fortress, with access by one of seven gates:  the Golden (or Lion) gate, Herod’s Gate, the Damascus Gate, the New Gate, the Jaffa Gate, the Zion Gate, and the Dung Gate.  Inside the walls is the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall.  The city has four neighborhoods:  the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter.  Vendors, elbow to elbow in the narrow corridors of the souk, vie for buyers.  Christian pilgrims walk the Via Dolorosa and visit churches commemorating the life of Jesus.  Children go to school.  People live here, as evidenced by the water tanks, satellite dishes, and hanging laundry in the rooftop view above.  It is a busy and vibrant place.

Wall decoration at the Lion Gate

Wall decoration at the Lion Gate

Arab women sorting grape leaves in the market

Arab women sorting grape leaves in the market

Carrying an empty bread tray on his head

Carrying an empty bread tray on his head

Behind the scenes view from the roof of the Austrian hospice

Behind the scenes view from the roof of the Austrian hospice

Old shutters, hanging laundry

Old shutters, hanging laundry

In the souk, a vendor sweeping in front of her stall

In the souk, a vendor sweeping in front of her stall

Metal door sculpture along the Via Dolorosa

Metal door sculpture along the Via Dolorosa

Armed Israeli soldiers patrol the streets

Armed Israeli soldiers patrol the streets

Japanese tourists take photos of armed soldiers

Japanese tourists take photos of Israeli soldiers

Plein air painter in the Old City

Plein air painter in the Old City

Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter

In the Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem

In the Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem

Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem

Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem

Western Wall, focus of prayer for Jews from around the world

Western Wall, focus of prayer for Jews from around the world

Men's and women's sections of the Western Wall

Men’s and women’s sections of the Western Wall

Visiting the Western Wall at sunset

Visiting the Western Wall at sunset

The next day, bar mitzvah celebrations at the Western Wall

The next day, bar mitzvah celebrations at the Western Wall

And the bar mitzvah celebrations carried over into the streets of the Jewish Quarter

And the bar mitzvah celebrations carried over into the streets of the Jewish Quarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit of my watercolor sketches at the Elisabeth C Miller Library

An exhibit of my watercolor sketches is now on display at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.  The exhibit, which runs through September 28, is available for viewing during the library’s normal visiting hours.  Please check this link for hours and driving directions.

I spent a delightful couple of hours yesterday morning with a group of six women who drove down from Bow, Washington to see the show.  This is the first time I’ve actually met new friends through my blog, and they are each kindred spirits — some painters, a couple of librarians, some with ties to the Midwest, fellow travelers.   I am touched that they made the effort to see my work and it was a real pleasure to meet them.

Magnificent bouquet from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

I was also very honored to see a stunning bouquet from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market delivered to the Miller Library to celebrate my show.  The bouquet is so beautiful, and it is such a thoughtful gesture of support from my friends at the Market.  The bouquet was quite a showpiece of local, seasonal blooms — I was tickled to see a stem of blackberries tucked in among the flowers and greens!

Display cases show sample blog posts, some photographs, and tools of my trade — watercolor sets and journals.

The framed watercolors are arranged by season — spring, summer, fall and winter.

I invite you all to stop by the Miller Library to see my show.  And to spend some time visiting this wonderful horticultural resource in the city.  Tomorrow’s blog post will take you along the trails of the Union Bay Natural Area adjacent to the Miller Library.  And Friday’s post will introduce you to the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, also part of the Center for Urban Horticulture.  I’ll close here with some photographs from the demonstration gardens.

Datura

This purple trumpet flower is called “the devil’s trumpet,” or datura

Bed of sneezeweed

Sneezeweed, so much variety in one bed

Hostas

Lilies

I loved the range of colors here, too.

A hanging curtain of green

Looking through the curtain

Grape leaves like stained glass

Late Summer Colors

August 18, 2009

Leaves changing colors

Leaves changing colors

Dill plant

Dill plant

Grape leaves

Grape leaves

I’m beginning to see fall colors — reds, yellows, browns — against the greens of late summer.  Isn’t this changing palette amazing?