Autumn Painting

Autumn is upon us! There’s a distinct cool nip to the morning air, and colorful leaves are crunching underfoot. It’s one of my favorite times of year.

We’re just moving into a new home, and as a result the last few months have been chaotic. With the studio equipment still packed in boxes, illustration hasn’t been very accessible. But my plein-air bag is ready for action as usual, and it has been calling me to get out and paint before all the colorful leaves blow away and it gets too cold to venture out. After a summer of endless green landscapes,  autumn is also a welcome opportunity to add new colors to the palette.

This one is from the town of Ward, CO, where my mom and I painted on an unusually cold September morning. I think it was about 40 degrees Fahrenheit when we started, with unwelcome clouds blocking the sun and a frigid little wind nipping at our necks and ankles. I was under-dressed, and probably would have added more details if I hadn’t been so impatient to pack up and go get myself a hot chocolate. Note to self: always bring a jacket!

Watercolor painting by Jessica Lanan of a mountain cabin in autumn

There was cheerful smoke coming out of the chimney and I was jealous of whoever was enjoying the cozy fire.

The aspen trees were also stunning at Golden Gate State Park last weekend. There was a huge grove of bright yellow trees that  demanded attention, but after some deliberation I decided that a view with dead branches would make a more interesting painting. Sometimes the “beautiful” scenes make boring paintings. There’s something to be said for choosing the unexpected!

This scene had a nice palette and a lot of interest in both the foreground and background. The trick was figuring out how much detail to include in order to keep the composition organized.

Watercolor plein air painting by Jessica Lanan of fall Leaves at Golden Gate State Park

I liked how the bushes looked violet in contrast with the yellow leaves.

My husband extraordinaire, Jonathan, snapped this picture while I was waiting for the paint to dry.

Photograph of the artist holding a finished watercolor in a mountain meadow

All done!

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1 Comment

  1. by Kath on October 12, 2016  5:19 pm Reply

    It always sounds better when you write about it than when I write about it. Good post about a cold day.

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