Moods of Autumn

I met Connecticut artist Jan Blencowe last week and we headed to Hammonassett Beach State Park to sketch together. The Connecticut coast is on the Long Island Sound, rather than directly on the Atlantic, so there is no surf. Instead, stretches of quiet beach and boulders dropped by glaciers some 17,000 years ago line the coast. Hammonassett also preserves 460 acres of salt marsh and that’s where we headed to try to capture the color and mood of Autumn.


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The day was bright, but windy and cool. After sketching the salt marsh for awhile, I retreated from the wind into an upland area of oaks and, sheltered behind a boulder, I did some quick and admittedly sloppy sketches of leaves directly in ink. Back at home, I added color, keeping the washes loose to mirror the quality of the sketches. At that point, the page looked rough and unfocused and, disappointed, I set it aside. Several days later, in a fit of frustration over something I couldn’t find, I decided to use the page to record things I had discarded in my recent move to Connecticut that I wish I’d kept. That gave the page the focus it needed. It also helped me see how small and insignificant those things really were. And like so many leaves in the wind, I let them go.


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6 Comments on “Moods of Autumn

  1. I love the marsh ” wash”, loose and dreamy.
    But, the things left behind and remembered, priceless. Your corduroy jacket! That sounds like a favorite!

    • Yeah, I really have missed that jacket! It was kind of threadbare in spots and I figured I could find a new one. But no luck. That, and the geraniums, I really should have kept. Thanks for your comments! Looking forward to seeing you!

  2. This and the page of leaves are just beautiful! Did you paint these in a Stillman and Birn Beta. It took the washes so well.

    • Thanks! The process of making the leaves page led to the insights about letting go, which was nice. Sometimes it works the other way, where you have the insight first and then express it on the page. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts!

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