Besides changing from Daylight Savings Time, there are a number of signs in Lower Town that Autumn is here. Grass is cut only sporadically these days, the leaves are falling faster than I can keep track, and a lot of people have decorated their yards for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I’ve seen pumpkins and fake spider webs. Lots of mums in bloom and a few orange lights strung across porches. The apartment house on Madison where Linda lives didn’t have its usual fright face in the windows. I missed that.
But just down the street from me Rex and Anita have festooned the entryway into their yard at the hedgerow with an arch of cornstalks and a bright little pumpkin that almost goes unnoticed as it cowers by the base of the arrangement. I thought it would be an interesting composition to focus on the dried stalks to show how something so drab can actually have its own beauty from light reflections and the fun curves that come with the drying process of the corn plant. The pictures I took showed both the structure and the stalks up close. Today’s painting encompasses a part of the arch and the lonely pumpkin in shadow. He’s sporting a little dappled light from the sun peeking through the hedges.
I’m back in town after a quick trip to Chicago to have my CI processors adjusted. Part of the post-op rehab that is part of learning to hear well with your new implant. Things are moving along nicely there, and I’m well pleased.
Today was catch-up because of my two day absence from my studio. Looking through a gazillion emails and answering phone calls. I also did a good bit of work on my second commission that I’ve been planning out for over a month. Finally, I was able to get down to work on the daily painting in late afternoon.
The pumpkins across the street in one of my neighbors’ yards shine brightly at me in a nice tableau as I look out my studio window. Some of the arrangement she’s made is too much for me, but I love the pumpkins next to the squatty ceramic pot. I honed in on what I liked to make a tight composition of the pumpkins and the pot. The boxy shape is a bit of a wooden wagon that’s too cutsie for my tastes. The yellow flowers add a touch of brightness and provide an additional play of color. Rather makes me think of Halloween and autumn.
There’s a classic mansion on the corner of Sixth and Monroe here in Paducah that sits in stately splendor. It belonged to an elderly woman whose interests ran to Civil War era gowns and their preservation. She had quite a collection, I understand. Today, the pillared house stands rather silently in expectation since her passing last year. An elaborate garden with flowers, shrubbery, and statues makes up the entire front yard surrounded by a blue wraught iron fence.
The maple and dogwoods inside the yard are in full color right now. I noticed them earlier in the week and was struck by their overhanging color and deep shadow along the south side of the house, creating a canapy of leaves for the sidewalk underneath. I ventured out today to take the picture before the colors fade. Fall resides there at the house while it awaits other occupants.
I tend to look down as I walk through woods or along sidewalks. Not at my feet but at the flowers, leaves that have fallen, and for whatever treasures in the way of bugs or things of interest I might find. Last year while walking to the library I saw the tiniest of acorns scattered at my feet. Neat little caps with miniature buds of acorns. I picked one up and was entranced by their perfection and size, especially since the trees they came from were in the category of mighty oaks. I don’t know the specific species of oak but I kept the souvenir anyway.
Yesterday I made a stroll through Lower Town to get some exercise and see what was about. Two blocks away were brilliant orange berries, part of ornamental bushes at the side of someone’s yard. The perfect Fall color combination of scarlet orange and evergreen for the leaves. I pinched a sprig of leaves and one of berries to bring home for my daily painting. The acorn and its twin cap were still safely stored in my desk drawer from last year. Small things that made my day.
This is my 50th painting since I started the 100 paintings in 100 days series. I’m hoping to have the rest done before Christmas, with a show planned for December in my studio. I think a lot of the next half of the daily paintings will be something taken from what I see around me, like today’s painting.
Temperatures have dropped here in Western Kentucky and the leaves are just beginning to turn. Our sycamore tree out front is turning burnished gold with mottled green and brown rust spots on the leaves. They blow onto our sidewalk and porch, castoffs as big handkerchiefs. I gathered a few yesterday and went in search of something a bit more saturated in color, and found a few crimson leaves in my neighbor’s yard to go with them. No great detail in this, just the colors of fall splashed across the paper with basic shapes.
We’re hoping to get out of town for the day on Sunday on Dave’s day off. Maybe we’ll go get some sawdust pie at the local diner we found in a town to our northwest. Or maybe take a drive to Land Between the Lakes and do a hike before the weather turns too cold for the winter.
We’re coming close to the end of the growing season and our participation with the community supported agriculture we’ve done with the Amish families in Marion, KY. It’s still exciting after more than 20 weeks to see what arrives in our box every Tuesday afternoon. This week there were four large sweet potatoes, a bag of a variety of leaf lettuce, a small bunch of radishes both red and white, a red pepper, an onion, and six rosy turnips. I’m not terribly fond of cooked turnips unless they’re in with other things. Actually I prefer them cut in slices or strips and eaten raw. We used to do that when I was growing up, and I remember them as a special treat that had a tangy sweet bite similar to cabbage.
Since they’ve been sitting on our kitchen counter since yesterday afternoon I’ve had plenty of opportunity to look at them. Their brilliant fuschia is glorious, no matter what you think of their taste. So, in honor of that at least, they became my painting off the day today.
We had an exciting Memorial Day weekend here in Paducah with the LowerTown Arts & Music Festival. I even made the front page (below the fold) of the Paducah Sun with a picture of me painting and some quotes regarding my festival experience. A very nice article that you can read here. This year was orchestrated in a new format than previous years, showcasing local artists instead of bringing in artists from around the country, as is the norm for such events. We faced some challenges in pulling it off so that people werenâ€™t put off by the small number of tents and getting them to circulate through the various galleries in a 9-block area. But the crowds came out in force on Saturday, the weather cooperated with sun and a breeze, and it turned out to be the festival weâ€™d hoped for and then some.
Dave and I had two tents for the first time ever. We borrowed one from one of our LowerTown neighbors along with a set of really nice Propanels from another generous neighbor. And yet another neighbor helped me set up the tents and panels on Friday. Thatâ€™s what is so great about this place. We all help each other out in big and little ways. People are generous with their time and resources so that you feel supported both philosophically and physically.
Another big change this year was having artists demonstrate their work. I set up a small table in the front of my tent and started a painting, sketching out the image and then beginning the color washes. It was a wonderful way to show the process that goes into creating my watercolors and my technique. Iâ€™ve learned from my experience during the Quilt Show that I enjoy painting outside with people wandering by. Itâ€™s a bit more challenging to also try to greet people as they come into my tent and make sales. So the painting wasnâ€™t continuous but it still went well and served a purpose.
Not too many sales during the festival, just some small things like sets of note cards and batik star ornaments that Dave has been making. Sunday was literally a washout with torrential rain from morning onward. We struck our tents at 2 oâ€™clock after it was clear that there wasnâ€™t going to be any let up and everyone else along the street was packing up as well. Hereâ€™s hoping for better weather throughout the festival next year.
This is just the beginning of what should be a busy summer and fall season in LowerTown. Second Saturdays are in the process of revision, with new and exciting activities in the works throughout LowerTown. We still love it here, in answer to the repeated question about our relocation to Paducah, and are looking forward to a great summer! All the fantastic comments about our work have us jazzed and up-lifted, ready to create new paintings to add to our body of current work. Thatâ€™s another great contribution from our Paducah community.